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Return to Yesteryear? It's Poogy!

March 22, 2007 By:
Marsha Bryan Edelman, JE Feature
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Poogy: The more things change ...

 It is the job of social historians to identify important developments, and even pivotal moments, that signal turning points in popular culture.

There is consensus that for listeners of "a certain generation," it was the appearance of the Beatles on "The Ed Sullivan Show" that launched the "British invasion" and changed the face of American music. For Israelis -- and American fans of Israeli music -- that key moment was the emergence of a band called Kaveret.

Listeners of all ages can relive those heady days of the 1970s -- and the impressive music that followed in the succeeding decades -- when Danny, Gidi and Friends appear on Saturday, March 24, at 9 p.m at Theater of the Living Arts, 334 South St. in Philadelphia.

Danny is Danny Sanderson, founder of the group, together with lead singer Gidi Gov. The two met as members of Lehakat HaNachal, one of the earliest and best known of the army entertainment groups that once dominated Israeli music.

In the revolving door of the army entertainment troupes (soldiers served in entertainment units as part of their regular military service, so members were constantly coming and going as new recruits arrived and veterans completed their tours of duty), the "Class of 1969" produced an impressive group of graduates: female vocalists Miri Aloni and Yardena Arazi went on to successful solo careers; Danny and Gidi joined with troupe members Alon Olearchik, Efraim Shamir and Meir Fenigstein to form Kaveret (known outside Israel as Poogy).

The swift success of Kaveret/ Poogy, formed in late 1972, was unparalleled in the history of Israeli music. Combining influences from the Allman Brothers Band that Sanderson had idolized during his teen years spent in New York (his father represented El Al airlines) with the popular style and production values they learned in the army, the band released three hit albums in 1973, 1974 and 1975, and played their stage show of songs and skits to sold-out audiences across Israel.

The band broke up in 1976, but repeatedly reunited for successful performances in 1978, 1984 -- the pop-concert record they established for drawing 500,000 fans to their Tel Aviv appearance that year still stands -- 1990, and 1998. The group last appeared in the United States during a 1999 tour that included an appearance at Philadelphia's Israel Independence Day celebrations.

In the "off years" when they weren't appearing together, the members of Kaveret established successful careers in various combinations. Sanderson and Gov released two albums with their new group, Gazoz (with Mazi Cohen), and another with their duo Doda. Gov released a number of solo albums, and expanded his career to include performances in musical theater, film and television.

Separate, but Equal
Sanderson, who had written most of the music for Kaveret, continued composing, releasing several solo albums, as well as books of his song lyrics.

Danny and Gidi are reuniting with former band members Alon Olearchik and Efraim Shamir for their Philadelphia appearance, part of a two-week tour that has included stops in Los Angeles, Miami, Toronto, Boston and Washington, D.C., and will conclude in New York City. They are joined, as well, by guest artists Keren Malka, Shay Wetzer, Roy Zuares and Yilil Pazel.

The longevity of Kaveret is propelled by the remarkable fact that, in addition to their longtime fans of "a certain generation," the group keeps attracting new audiences, including listeners who weren't even born when the band debuted. Their original albums have been reissued on CD, and remain best-sellers.

The forthcoming appearance of Danny, Gidi and Friends at TLA offers an opportunity for yet another generation to join the fan club.

For ticket information, call 215-922-1011.

Marsha Bryan Edelman, Ed.D., is a professor of music at Gratz College.

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