Between the sunset and the date palms - May 2012
Steve - Tel Aviv show
Steve in Jaffa
From cold, rainy England to sunny Israel... our hosts Lior and Maya gave us a warm welcome at Tel Aviv airport.
We found Tel Aviv a bustling modern city with a beautiful beach, and our Tex-Mex meal on the first evening accompanied by retro music was fun and funky.
The following day Maya showed Brian Coles, Jo and me around the town of Jaffa. At least 9000 years old, it's an amazing setting for several primal stories, including Old Testament Jonah and the rock where Perseus rescues Andromeda from death by Kracken in Greek myth. You can feel the legends echoing back to you as you weave your way through narrow alleys, and the palms seemed to whisper ancient songs. The walls reverberate to the haunting sound of prayer calls. Synagogues, mosques and churches cluster together. Behind the picturesque part is a maze of old streets lined with exotic market stalls and crumbling buildings...
Later on we joined the band for an al fresco meal with a fantastic sunset view, before hitting the venue, an ex-aircraft hanger, for soundcheck. We discovered that jazz legend Courtney Pine was also playing there that evening.
The gig went well and the audience was incredibly warm and responsive. I felt moved to dedicate the show to peace. I said that we were all refugees once and peace doesn't have to be a distant dream. I feel concerned that all of us should act like brothers and sisters, irrespective of creed, colour or belief.
The following morning Jo and I made one more foray into Jaffa. We noticed a theatre called 'The Arab Hebrew Theatre of Jaffa'. This theatre group (http://www.arab-hebrew-theatre.org.il/eng/about/about.htm) encourages connection between people with different lifestyles and religions. A ray of hope...
Security wasn't entirely easy at the airport as we left, but Maya and Lior helped us, and we managed to get on the plane in time!
Many thanks as always to Brian, band and crew, and also to Maya and Lior for all their support throughout. The trip was an uplifting experience.
Steve, Lee and Gary
Photo © Ben Fenner
Steve with ancient Jaffa behind
Rob, Lee, Roger, Gary, Steve and Maya
Stalls in Jaffa
View of Tel Aviv