At a music gig in India last year Israeli musician Anat Melamed accidentally sang, “if somebody loves me” instead of “if nobody loves me” from one of her albums, causing her to comment on Social Media – “... ok India enough with all this positivity, Israel I’m coming!”
Shy, actually painfully shy, as she says it so many times, Anat is a sensitive musician for whom music has been a balm. She does not usually lay out her songs to her listeners, because she would like them to “feel it first, see the meanings their mind lays before them.”
But her “Lila’s Dream” has a special story, “it’s the one of depression and anxiety that have been my companions from an early age. It’s the story of the dark little rooms in our mind in which they dwell in, trying to keep us in, obscuring our vision (even physically). It’s the story of my emancipation from this eternal half-dream state with the help of treatment by antidepressants, of suddenly discovering that life is much more than I ever imagined,” says Anat.
Pic by Shivya Koch
She shares that she is ready to shed these crutches which have propped her up for years. “I’m thinking maybe it’s time to part ways (with professional help and guidance!) and try new methods of coping and healing as I’m not sure it is as right for me as before. But I’m forever grateful for this tool and will never regret the choice I made almost 10 years ago to save myself.”
Lila’s Dream was created along with Yuval Brusilovsky, her best friend, her brother painter-drummer Nadav Luzia, painter-drummer, Matan Egozi the mixing specialist and she thanks Maor Shvartzberg, for making the recording studio the most fun and sheltering place to be in, something that is clearly important for her. She also thanks Elena Ferrante, who some say is a pseudonym for Anita Raja, a translator who lives in Rome, for writing the most “incredibly moving and relatable series of books that poked a hole in my heart.”
Anat is a pianist, singer and creator from Israel, with an extensive world of musical concepts. Her music is the output of a delicate yet assertive soul.
As a songwriter she is influenced by artists such as Tori Amos, Bjork, and Sufjan Stevens. As her mother is from England and her father spent a few years growing up in the US, her songs are in English.
“Language and word play is usually what gets me going. Whether it’s a phrase I heard, read or just came into my mind - that will usually get the ball rolling for a new song. Even learning a single new word can do the trick,” says the singer songwriter.
During her studies she began creating her first album, Golden Cage, which was released in 2017. In recent years, she has also appeared and recorded as an accordionist on the local indie scene. Anat is currently working on her second album. For the past two years Anat has been dividing her time between Israel and India appearing on stages from Goa to the Himalayas.
Her first trip to India was in the summer of 2017. “It was a random choice for a long needed vacation. I fell in love with this country and I’ve been coming back ever since. India and Israel are so different yet somehow there is a very strong connection and sense of familiarity. Something in the casualness of being and and everything-will-be-O.K attitude to life even when facing adversities,” says Anat.
As a musician she has classical training of over 20 years and she says that she loves Indian classical music. “I find it so different from everything I grew up on. It’s challenging, enchanting and I try to explore it as much as I can. The openness of people has been very freeing and has helped me feel more and more comfortable on stage. I’m also extremely in awe of seeing young Indian artists combining their roots and culture with their more global inclinations. I discovered here some of my favourite and most inspiring artists.”
In India Anat performs her original songs mostly as a solo act or with her band from Israel when it’s possible. “I haven’t played before with Indian artists but I hope that changes soon. India is a wonderful place for everyone to have new experiences and the Indian audience especially is a very thoughtful and attentive one and I love talking to people after the show,” she says.
Anat says playing in places far flung and diverse places in India such as Goa and the Himalayas have added to her exposure. “In the mountains you get a more serene crowd which I feel kind of goes with the right mood for my music. I also get more time for creativity as the rhythm slows down from the Goa-rush. In Goa it’s more a lively and hectic scene - running from show to show, jamming and making many new connections. It’s the place to meet new people, collaborators and expand your audience.”
Her current tour of India, where she performs in Delhi and Mumbai is her first outside Israel. She says she is excited to perform in Delhi’s Piano Man. Her favourite place as a listener is the concert hall in the Tel-Aviv museum. “I’ve been playing classical music since the age of 6 and that hall was a very significant part of my education. I always feel calm and comfort there,” says Anat.
(This interview was published first in the Deccan Herald, January 26)