Track Review: HaYelala: The Crater Song

‘Cross-cultural influences make for increasingly captivating musicality.’

Intro to Hayelala:
Formed of no less than six musicians, and coming from a range of Israeli centred backgrounds, Hayelala (The Howl) are certainly not your ‘average band.’ But then again, neither is their music. Launching with their self titled EP
in 2013, and returning with ‘Songs from the Little Creek
of Klil’ in 2015, 2018 sees a set of single releases emerge in the build up to Hayelala’s forthcoming album. Recently performed live at Alt Studio to a select audience, ‘The Crater Song’ seamlessly fuses influences from classical, jazz and middle-eastern music with folklore and story-telling making for an increasingly captivating listen.

Featured Track: The Crater Song
Beginning humbly with delicately picked guitar, there is an immediate sense of relaxed momentum. It’s instantly enticing and setting up the main melodic themes in an entirely solo manner, it feels incredibly intimate. Likewise on Nitai Kalay’s vocal entry which follows, you believe you are the only one he is speaking to. I’ve no doubt that this is exactly how that select audience felt as well but in unapologetically showcasing their folk influences, the resulting sound moves beyond being a track and more of a musical reflection on a way of life.

With the story-telling taking centre stage, the opening texture starts to build through the use of bowed cello (Mayu Shviro) and double bass (Soof Nikritin). Bringing a complimentary sense of depth to the sound, it reinforces the fact that this isn’t a track to listen to, but be absorbed by. Enhancing this further, contrasting mid to high-pitched string lines create beautiful counter melodies while the use of traditional percussion (Nur Bar Goren) adds unexpected pace.

Having generated a sense of anticipation and drama, you believe that the track is soon to climax, or at least reach a sense of power. But it doesn’t. Instead, the sound tricks us wonderfully for a few seconds before a gentle resurgence makes its way to the fore. This time however, the depth becomes much greater and filled with the most gorgeous of harmonic progressions, the track develops an increasingly emotive edge equalled only by the emotion within Nitai’s vocals.

Hinting at the musical climax once more, the sense of continuing momentum is replaced by the combination of recurring lyrics, forcefully strummed guitar and accented drums. Creating the most perfect of musical juxtapositions, it’s a moment which connects the calming essence within the track to this point with the transformation which is about to occur. And what a transformation it is. Bringing stirring vocal harmonies and giving middle-eastern melodies and westernised twist, it’s a climax that’s most definitely been worth the wait.

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Listen to and watch Hayelala on: Spotify and YouTube

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