June 7, 2003
KulturPur Festival
with Esther Ofarim
"Ein Abend"

Esther Ofarim - source picture taken by www.siwikultur.de

Esther Ofarim gave a concert in the annual KulturPur Festival at Hilchenbach-Luetzel, 
near Siegen (Germany)
in the "Giller" (Ginsberger Heide) on June 7, 20:30 h. 

My concert review:

On June 7, 2003 at 20:30 we were waiting for the lady herself: Esther Ofarim, who was coming
to sing for us in the KulturPur-Festival near Siegen / Germany. 
Right in the beginning she surprised us by singing a new song, 
which she has never sung before: "Somewhere over the rainbow" 
and while she was singing it with her untypical moving gestures in her black dress 
and sparkling long earrings, it seemed as if she took us with her on her way over the rainbow.

[This song she also has sung in Hebrew (Me'Ever La'Keshet) before, but only one time in English at the Ruhrfestspiele 2003. Let's hope that Esther will sing it soon again!]

The second song was "pavane", which she also has sung at
easter in the Hamburger Kammerspiele, 
but not very often in the last years.
Then she gave us her everlasting "layla layla" and got a huge applause for it.
She hasn't introduced any song until "Shirat hanoded", 
which she said to be "Ein Wanderlied" (a song of wandering). 

We were very enthusiastic and clapped our hands to the rhythm of her voice and music by Yoni Rechter's piano and Michail Pawaletz's violin.

After that Esther made a present to the kind of people who liked to hear the old songs of The Ofarims by singing "Dirty old town". As usual she sang it in her own style, 
but she had big success with it.

"Besade patuach", a beautiful ballad, she sang together with Yoni Rechter, 
who has written this song.

Then the first song followed which the musicians together played with the Israeli saxophonist Eli Degibri in a rather jazzy style and Esther did a wonderful job interpreting  this song with her brilliant voice: "September Song" by Kurt Weill.

The Beatles were responsible for us being so happy about Esther could sing this song with her amazing gestures and voice. Like an actress she moved on the stage and used all of her million fascets of her voice to show us her allround-talent by singing "she's leaving home".
Together with Yoni's backing vocals, Michail's violin and Eli's flute it sounded as if it was meant to be a musical only written for Esther Ofarim.

"Ma omrot eynaich" she has sung a billion times in her life, but it still sounds different in every concert and reflects her neverending fascets of her brilliant voice.
Yoni took little place in this song by singing the parts in the chorus, which Abi has sung in the 60s.

Without saying something Esther went out and Yoni introduced two instrumental interludes:
"Night" with Yoni on piano & Eli Degibri on saxophon, which was a slow jazz-composition and "Midnight", a rhythmical oriental song with some jazzy influences,  played by all three musicians.
Then Yoni sang one of his own songs, which he introduced by saying "I must be very brave to sing before Esther comes back"! 


Esther Ofarim KulturPur 2003 - foto © by Conny Drees / www.esther-ofarim.de
Flowers for Esther Ofarim


Esther returned with "Ten li yad", another lyrical song written by Yoni Rechter, which he also 
filled with his backing vocals. 
This song she introduced with saying "Gib mir Deine Hand" (give me your hand).
She sang it in a very dreamy style, so we could feel the oscillations of her voice and in a positive way it made our flesh creep by listening to this wonderful song.

With "Cancion
de cuna para dormir a un negrito", a cuban lullaby, she continued with her ballad-style.

But this has not meant to be the end of the rhythmic songs. A furious arrangement of piano and violin followed by Esther's powerful voice in Kurt Weill's song "Moon of Alabama".
Esther loosened up and belted out this song, accompanied by some bold gestures, while maintaining her own inimitable vocal style.

We never could hear a more sensitive interpretation of "Bird on a wire" as in this evening.
As usual Esther performed this beautiful parable 
by Leonard Cohen in her very own angel-alike style. 
But in this concert she let's us hold our breathe and let's us feel as if we were a bird on the wire.

After she got an amazing applause for the last song, she continued with her oldtime optimistic and upbeat song: "Me emek vegive'a (stu adarim)".

With Nöel Coward's "Mad about the boy", which she sang beautiful and bold as usual, 
she ended up her normal program. 
Esther and the musicians went out without saying goodbye.

We applaused very enthusiastically and some Italian people shout in their language "encore, encore..", so Esther came back and sang Shir aviv, the Hebrew version and later on the German "Gruss" with the same melody by Mendelssohn.

After this first encore she and the musicians went out again, so that we had to call them back.
As the second encore Esther sang "God bless the child" by Billie Holiday, which Esther still performed with her wonderful voice even although it was late in the evening and she has already sung many songs 'till then.

When Esther began to sing the first line of her third encore "Guten Abend, gute Nacht", the audience laughed and moaned disapprovingly, so that Esther interrupted her song and said 
"das ist ja nicht Ernst!" (="this you must not take seriously").
We laughed again and let her continue singing this beautiful 
lullabye in German, English and Hebrew to let us go
and dream of this wonderful evening with Esther Ofarim.

Song list:

1. Somewhere over the rainbow
2. Pavane
3. Layla layla
4. Shirat hanoded (hey tziununai haderech)
5. Dirty old town
6. Besade patuach
7. September song
8. She's leaving home
9. Ma omrot eynaich

Pause: a.) Night (Yoni Rechter: piano & 
Eli Degibri: saxophon)
b.) Midnight Dream (Yoni Rechter: piano & Eli Degibri: saxophon & Michail Paweletz: violin)
c.) Hebrew Song by Yoni Rechter: piano, voice

10. Ten li yad
11. Cancion de cuna para dormir a un negrito
12. Moon of Alabama
13. Bird on the wire
14. Me emek vegive'a (stu adarim)
15. Mad about the boy

16. Shir aviv / Gruss
17. God bless the child
18. Guten Abend, gute Nacht (in German, English and Hebrew)

Comments of the press:

read the concert review of the Westfaelische Rundschau
read an original article of the Siegener Zeitung
read the original article of Westfalenpost

"Für Verzauberung sorgte, wenn auch nur 75 Minuten lang, die 62-jährige Esther Ofarim am Samstagabend. Am Anfang viel Nervosität, bei Kurt Weills "September Song" aber weichte sie auf, eroberte ihr Publikum gegen Ende einer großen Karriere ganz neu."

Zu den ganz großen Namen bei Kultur Pur 13, das gestern mit dem ausverkauften Hubert-von-Goisern-Konzert zu Ende ging, zählte Esther Ofarim: Mit Spannung erwartet, gab die aus Israel stammende Wahl-Hamburgerin am Samstag einen Liederabend der gehobenen Güte - fast eine Gala, die nur die enttäuschte, die insgeheim doch auf eines der Lieder aus den 1960ern gewartet haben."
Westfaelische Rundschau