Monday, March 14, 2005

Keren Ann, timeless
Originally uploaded by Arye.


There are moments when you can hear your own thoughts. When the swooshing sounds of your memories zing through your head like comet tails. There is a peacefulness in the room so resonant that it almost has a tangible presence of a loved one sitting next to you. You reach over and give peacefulness a kiss on the cheek.

There are times when you forget that you live in New York City where people catch subways and hail taxis (both activities that sound like they require a lot more effort than they really do). When you can forget your worries and stress without the assistant of a narcotic or intoxication. You can sit there and focus on the goosebumps running up and down your arm, the Braille-like condition of the skin that could probably be read saying, I am happy. I am comforted. This feels good.

This past Thursday night, I was privileged to attend a Keren Ann performance at Joe's Pub in downtown Manhattan. Keren Ann Zeidel is an Israeli-born French folk singer that recalls the softness of Nick Drake, the sexiness of Francoise Hardy and Brigette Bardot, and the gentleness of a cup of chamomile tea. Accompanied by a French horn, two violins, and a piano, Keren Ann strummed the guitar producing the same calmness of a hypnotist waving a watch before your eyes. After each song, the audience hesitated in clapping because the suddenness of their applause would break the invaluable calm.

With two albums, Not Going Anywhere and Nolita, Keren has established herself as a critical favorite. The type of singer/songwriter that inspires all art, writing and poetry, interpretive dancing. Keren exists out of the present. Her sound is timeless, emanating from an unanchored limbo where there is no MTV, iTunes, or Good Charlotte. Granted she is recording now but it also feels very thirty years ago. Songs like "One Day Without" and "Sit In The Sun" burn like a cigarette sitting in an ashtray until they finally extinguish leaving a lingering trail of smoke.

Throughout her set, she smiled the whole time as if her songs were gifts that she was opening for the first time, only to be then handed over to the audience. We accepted them with pleasure because Keren Ann, ultimately, is a gift herself. The type of musician that transports you into serenity. An artist that can never be underestimated because you can never appreciate her enough. Sitting in Joe's Pub, in the candlelite atmosphere, we could hear our thoughts and at the time, they sounded very much like Keren Ann.


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