Dalia Faitelson - "Shout, shock and touch"
Dalia Faitelson, born in the Negev Desert of Israel, is the daughter of a Bulgarian mother and an Israeli father. Meanwhile she works and lives as vocalist, songwriter, composer and guitarist in Denmark. Faitelson studied at the "Ruben Academy of Music and Dance" and at "Berklee College Of Music" in Boston, where she graduated with high honors. Her latest album "Point of no return" shows her outstanding talents as a composer and as well as a writer of profound lyrics.
Carina: Randy Brecker, Chris Cheek and Adam Nussbaum are featured on your album "Point of no return". How big is the commercial impact of having these names in the lineup?
Dalia: It's really not that simple to say. Time will show. I see my career as a stairway. I'm walking slowly up the stairs hoping to reach to the next floor in a good tempo. Recording and touring for the last four years with the "American dream team" of course helped me climb a floor higher. Especially musically. The one important result was the "Danish Grammy" that I won in 2000 with the album "Diamond Of The Day".
Booking jobs did not make it easier since we became a larger band that costs too much. Album sales? - hmm ... - I can't say that I felt a big change in sales just because I had known players featured on it. It's just like my stairway, I sell more for every album I release. The doors to the secret elevator didn't yet appear. I was basically very surprised to find that most of the newspaper critics chose to write about the compositions and my presentation as a singer and not to concentrate on the "stars". I feel that I won their respect and that is important for my career. I feel stronger than ever.
Carina: Your music could be described as a kind of "world-jazz-underground sound". How did this develop over the years?
Dalia: I have an ethnic background "plus" a jazz music education. These two elements give me the freedom to search new grounds. Right after school I started to concentrate on my own material. I always get high from composing. It's the place, the corner where I can really express myself. With the years I'm getting more focused. I have the need to taste the extreme. My need to "shout, shock and touch" is getting stronger. I guess that I'm learning to open up. Starting to write lyrics helped me out a lot. It's a new way of expression that is more direct than instrumental music.
Carina: How do you integrate diverse styles of music - just by putting together a band with people from different nationalities? What does it mean for your work of composing - does it make it more difficult?
Dalia: Just putting together a band with people from different nationalities does not result in a good integration. It's like a puzzle where the pieces don't really fit to each other. It's synthetic and unnatural. To successfully integrate diverse styles of music you have to write material that fits the musicians character and musical background.
You have to have a lot of patience and learn to respect each others culture and habits both in music and in every day life. It does make my work much more difficult. It took us around five years to build our band sound, and finding a substitute for some of the players is very difficult.
Carina: Your mother is from Bulgaria, your father from Israel where you also grew up. You were in the US for some years and now live in Denmark for nearly eleven years. What about personal internal "cultural clashes" for these reasons?
Dalia: I see myself as a citizen with no border lines. I have no need to belong or attach myself to a country, nation or religion. Of course culture clashes can not be avoided. I do get frustrated often. A lot of misunderstanding in the world is caused by cultural clashes. It's ridiculous really. I have a middle eastern temper (a hot one) which doesn't always fit with the northern European one.
That can get me in to trouble some time. On the other hand I learned to control it better. Traditions are not a problem. I like to celebrate Christmas just as much as any Jewish holiday. It's a party and that is fun. I still believe that you gain more than you loose by traveling and settling down in different places. I try to adapt to the good of each culture as much as possible.
Dalia Faitelson and band
Carina: Where would you say lies your heart - in Europe or in Israel? How much importance does the situation in Israel have for your daily life?
Dalia: My heart lies in both places. My life is here with my husband and two children but most of my family and friends live in Israel. I'm worried for their safety every day. I don't believe in suicide bombing as a solution for anything. I find it heartless and vulgar.
In the other hand I ache so much for the Palestinian people. They have been suffering for so many years. It's unfair. They deserve freedom and prosperity. They deserve a better life. I wish that I could see the end of it but unfortunately I believe that it would take some time. We miss courageous leaders from both sides.
Carina: The CD-title "Point of no return" - also the lyrics for the song with the same name - show a thoughtful mind and they have a message. Wherefrom do you get the inspiration for your lyrics? Is there a mood you prefer to transport in your music?
Dalia: It all depends on the mood and state of mind that I'm in. Sometimes I feel the urge to write words. A kind of a hunger that needs to explode. In that case I choose mostly the brainstorm method. I find a subject that interests me and I just shoot ideas that come randomly to my brain without a second thought and write them on a piece of paper. For example the opening song on my last album called "Wreck, Cracked, Crazy" which talks about the night time, when you can't fall asleep.
I just let the associations come thinking about the night time. Darkness, bed, shadows, the sound of a ticking clock, blanket, thoughts, counting numbers ... - then I put together all the information and build a song, a "mood" out of it. It's an effective method.
Another method would be to make up a story which I know the beginning and the end but the middle part is missing. Pain, of my own and of others, is always an accentual inspiration for lyric writing. I like to blend drama with humor. For me lyrics have to be serious, daring, funny and really mean something. It makes it much more fun to sing.
Carina: Your songs, compositions seem to have a kind of choreography - does that have some roots in your studies at the Ruben Academy of Music and Dance?
Dalia: No, it does not have roots in my former studies. I always thought that multimedia is fascinating, so I do see it as a compliment. I would surely like to work with dancers, video clips and light show in the future.
Carina: Which is your favorite guitar? Do you own different instruments you use only on stage or in the studio?
Dalia: I own three guitars. An electric hand build guitar by Eric Miller (who built guitars for Robben Ford and Pat Metheny). A Takamine Western Guitar and a Gibson Classical Guitar: a Chet Atkins Model. That is good enough for me.
Carina: What does a musical "training-unit" at home look like? Do you play other instruments beside the guitar?
Dalia: My first instrument is really the piano (classical). My studio at home includes a Mac G-3 computer, a Korg Trinity V3 master-keyboard, B&W speakers, an EXS24 Emu Sampler, a CD-burner, a Pod Line 6, a Jack Mick microphone (JM47), Logic as my music program slave and of course a phone.
Carina: Your next album - what will it be like? Perhaps an entire album with vocal-tracks?
Dalia: Perhaps. There is a good chance that more vocal tracks will be featured. I was thinking to involve a bit of strings and to experiment with more groovy beats that will help me create a fresh sound and a new mood of my own.
Carina: Do you have a sort of philosophy for life?
Dalia: Make the best out of your life while you are here! I doubt strongly the possibility of a second chance. It's important for me to experience every stage of my life for what it is, to concentrate on NOW and not too much on the past and future to come. Since you are stuck with yourself for life, learn to live in peace with yourself (I find it very hard sometimes). To find a positive balance between body and soul is the key to happiness. Tolerance, generosity and appreciation for other`s work are important. Dare, dare, dare! - Don't wait for things to happen, make them happen!
Dalia Faitelson in the Internet: www.daliafaitelson.com
Sundance-Records in the Internet: www.sundance.dk
mehr bei Jazzdimensions:
Daila Faitelson - "Point of no return" - Review (erschienen: 22.4.2002)