"I dream in Spanish, but I'm connected to Israel and I love it," Shlomo Yidov tells me. The Israeli musician responsible for some of Israeli music’s classic hits, such as White Days (Yamim Levanim), Deep Blue Evening (Erev Cachol Amok, or Como la Luna), Yidov has now come out with his latest album, New Love (Ahava Chadasha), a compilation of Spanish songs upon which he grew up in Argentina and three more songs written by him.
Yidov made Aliyah from Argentina to Israel at the age of 13. "It was hard for me to fit in. so my parents sent me to the youth village of the Youth Aliyah organizations, after David Raziel in Herzliya. Some of my friends from Argentina were there, so that made things easier for me."
On your Facebook page you published a painting of yours from the youth village in which you painted the views of your childhood.
I painted that painting on the first year of my Aliyah. I was 13.
I was studying at the David Raziel Youth Village, and I was still filled with memories and missing my childhood views that were left behind, especially the landscape in that painting.
What does the painting describe?
During my summer break we used to spend two months at my grandfather's; he had a farm (one of those purchased by Baron Rothschild) in Argentina. It was heaven to me. The views, the different people I got to meet, and the music I was exposed to – part of that experience found its place in my new album coming out this month.
Shlomo, you are an important cultural image in Israel. You have dreamt in Spanish on your first albums, and now you go back to a whole album entirely in Spanish. What has happened?
This is a new album based on the classics I grew up on as a child. I added three songs that I have composed. It is actually the music I grew up on, my musical roots. I am connected to that music. It’s the first time I make an album in Spanish.
How did it feel to go back to this music?
Returning to these songs gave me great pleasure, to pronounce the delicious syllables and words of Spanish. It tasted good in my mouth. I don’t look at this project as nostalgic, but rather as beautiful. I have reached this music because of its beauty, I wanted to do it my own way, with a new adaptation, a different sound, that is mine.
Sholomo, you are very connected to the mythological singer of Argentina, Mercedes Sosa, how did that happen?
The connection to Mercedes Sosa happened randomly. I performed in the Zavta Club on a night in honor of the abducted people from the time of the dictator Augusto Pinochet. I sang "White Days" and at the end of the song I saw her going down the stairs towards me. She hugged me and told me in Spanish: "Es una joya, it's a diamond." And she asked me to translate the song for her.
After that I went to visit her, and we built a deep connection. I translated some of my songs for her and she sang them, "White Days” included.
Shlomo, do you feel connected to the Israeli society or to Argentina?
I am an Israeli, who has been living here for almost 50 years now. But my home town and mother tongue is Argentina. That is where I was born. I am happy here and I hope for the best, for everything here to get better and better.