El Khat

A quartet from Tel Aviv with four members, each one having different backgrounds, including those from Iraq, Poland and Morocco. The band’s name is a reference to the addictive leaf, which has been consumed in Yemen and the Arabic Peninsula for more than 600 years. It can be taken in many different ways. Yemen is in dire times right now. It is in the grips war and famine and has little hope of stability. Yet, the Khat leaf promotes community and relaxation. Bandleader Eyal spent many nights with his compatriots in Yemen, as well as chewing the leaf every Thursday night. Eyal, despite the camaraderie, has had to deal with the realities of being a Jewish Yemeni living in Israel for many years. In recent years, Eyal felt lost in a state that promotes Israeli Jewish nationalism and ignores the Jewish history in neighboring Arab countries. Eyal was ending his five-year stint as the lead cellist in The Jerusalem Andalusian Orchestra. It was then that he began to question the facts presented to he. Eyal was initially accepted into the Jerusalem Andalusian Orchestra in 2012. He had learned the basics while busking, and then circumstances changed to allow him to bypass the audition. Instead, he learned the repertoire of classical North African and European music on the spot. It was a rare feat, but it resulted in multiple tours and a close relationship with his craft. Eyal’s life was over at the end of 2017. Eyal ended all his routines, including his tenure as a member of the Andalusican Orchestra’s flamenco-inspired group El Gran Mar. Eyal wanted to explore his roots, people and culture. He was first exposed to it as a young boy while visiting his grandparents in Yemen. They moved from Yemen to a central Israeli Yemenite village in the 1950s. Eyal received the LP ‘Qat Coffee’ in the midst these significant life changes.

Leave a Comment