"I formed my first band when I was 7 years old and I totally rocked it in front of the neighbourhood kids."
Jerusalem-born Liron Meyuhas is a true natural talent when it comes to music. She not only has a perfect mastery of a virtually endless list of percussion instruments, but she is also a singer and songwriter in numerous musical projects that are spread out around the globe. A true world musician, so to say. Global Music Network spoke with her about her musical career, how she first came into contact with Arabic music, and why she calls herself “La Gitana”.
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Hello, Liron. Please introduce yourself.
My name is Liron Meyuhas, I am a 31-year-old percussionist & singer from Jerusalem, Israel. I recently got my Bachelor’s degree in Musical Education in Tel Aviv, and nowadays am focusing on promoting "La Gitana Project", the music ensemble I lead. For the past 2 years, we have been performing together at different festivals and events around Israel and Europe.
My personal and musical life are based in Jaffa, at the southern part of the city of Tel Aviv, right by the sea. When I am not practising or performing, I tend to take my surfboard and head to the beach.
How long have you been playing music, and what are all the instruments that you play?
I started playing at the age of 6 and formed my first band when I was 7 years old – I totally rocked it in front of the neighbourhood kids, at least in my mind... I remember writing songs and poems ever since I was a child. As a teenager, I remember juggling between musical instrument teachers, mostly guitar and keyboard.
When I turned 18, while travelling in Sinai (Egypt), I felt that I had found my destination - percussion: while jamming through the night with the local Bedouin people, I grabbed the "darbuka" drum in my hands, and it felt so good! That's when my love for Arabic / Khaleeji music started to grow. Since then, I undertook a great journey, travelling & studying music through percussion with local teachers in various parts of the world. I have studied in Guinea Conakry in West Africa, Morocco, Italy, Spain, Turkey & Israel. When I felt that I needed to settle down for a while, I did so in Tuscany, Italy, where I studied jazz at Sienna's national academy.
How did you get started playing the Hang?
I discovered the Hang 12 years ago in Tel Aviv, when I heard a person playing it on the street. I immediately fell in love with the instrument, and not long after found myself in Bern, Switzerland – at the makers' workshop. Every instrument excites me in a different way – when playing the Hang, I feel how my spirit soars. I love combining Hang melodies and percussion, creating an entire band on my own using a looping machine.
You carry the addition "La Gitana" in your name. What's that all about?
"La Gitana" means "The Gypsy" in Italian/Spanish. It took me a lot of thinking to reach it, when trying to find the right words to express my journey and multiple influences, and when this one came up, I knew it was the right one.
Do you have a specific link to the Roma and Gypsy culture?
Absolutely. I used to play in a Balkan music band in Florence, and fell in love with that kind of groove. The music that I play today isn't Balkan, but I can still feel the influence of that period in my arrangements and melodies.
Your album "A Silent Wind", released in 2015, is a single 33-minute song. How did you come up with this idea, and what inspired this composition?
My idea was to be surrounded by all of my toys and musical instruments and to play without over analysing – through pure improvisation. The base of my improvisation session was 2 notes that I had recorded from a cello player in one of my groups in Italy – OUÏE – the rest was my inspiration.
What are your next projects and where can we hear you and your music?
Nowadays I am working on my band's debut album. That's about to be recorded this spring. Another project I have been fortunate to get involved in is called "Malaika Trio", a female Afro-Beat band. We have been playing all around Israel for the past couple of years, and intend to start touring around Europe this upcoming year. In case, you find yourself in India this January, you can also hear me performing at the Saarang Festival and the Handpan Festival in Goa. Tour dates for summer 2017 in Europe will be released soon. You are all invited to follow me on my Facebook page and personal website. Stay tuned!



Interview: Robert Lippuner Global Music Network
Translation: Jamie Davies


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