Bar, Shlomo

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BAR, SHLOMO (1944– ), singer, composer, drummer, and flutist. Bar was born in Morocco and came to Israel at the age of six. In 1977, against a background of social and cultural unrest in Israel, Bar founded a small ensemble which he called Ha-Breirah ha-T'ivit ("The Natural Selection"), whose very name hinted at the prevailing tensions. His first group included musicians of different origins: an American guitarist, an Indian Jewish violinist, and an Israeli-born Jew of Bokharian origin as contrabassist. They created an amalgamated, completely new style, dominated by his powerful personality. Bar supported the artistic ideals of the East in a broad sense, which stood in clear opposition to those of the West. In contrast to the complexity and sophistication of the architectonics of sound – the crowning achievement of Western musical art – Bar placed spontaneity at the center of his work, in improvisations characteristic of Eastern music. He created a style in which he integrated widely divergent musical traditions while endowing his work with a pervasive "Oriental" spirit. It thus represents a balance of stylistic plurality and stylistic fusion. From around the mid-1990s, the group evolved and changed, so that the music, like the group, came to represent a much greater range of cultures. The group made several tours, including trips to the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and participated in various international music festivals. Thus, Bar and some other musicians turned "Orientalization" into a conscious ideology, which reflected, in the field of music, the culturally as well as politically motivated aspiration to achieve "separate but equal" status for Oriental culture in Israel.

[Amnon Shiloah (2nd ed.)]