Jerusalem-born Avital Raz has recently gained notoriety for her taboo-busting song lyrics. Her latest release 'The Fallen Angel's Unravelling Descent', a collaboration with Keith Angel (producer) was given four stars by RnR magazine and high Praise in Folk Radio UK among other publications. " There is no-one quite like Avital Raz in the world of music right now, and she should be applauded for the intelligence and singularity of her artistic vision. The Fallen Angel’s Unravelling Descent is a genuinely original musical statement, full of wise, exotic and gleefully mordant songs that manage to be simultaneously challenging and melodic." About her previous release 'The Believer', recorded in Scotland with cellist/ producer Pete Harvey, full of racy tales of sex and politics, The Herald had to say "Likely to be the most compelling thing you hear all year". Perhaps The Levellers had this in mind when they personally asked Avital to perform solo on The Big Top stage at Beautiful Days Festival.
Raz started out as a child singer of classical music. She studied at The School of Visual Theatre in Jerusalem and After completing degrees in vocal performance and composition, she shifted her focus to India where she studied the ancient art of Dhrupad singing with Prof. Ritwik Sanyal of Benares Hindu University.
This improvisational style led to a surge in creativity and Avital's first album: Sad Songs About The End Of Love – 11 of James Joyce's poems from Chamber Music composed mostly in Raag style and recorded in India and Israel with local musicians.
Unfortunately in 2004 Joyce's work was still under copyright and the Joyce estate, finding the Indian connection too strange, denied Avital permission to release it. This blow prompted Avital to write her own lyrics and she subsequently released two EPs: Strange Love Songs and Skin & Feathers (‘utterly compelling songs that demand attention' – Terrascope magazine). She released the James Joyce album last year and Louder Than War wrote: "Sad Songs About The End of Love’ unlocks the exploratory nature of sound itself, through sensory psychedelica blended with Indian raag."
Avital now lives in Sheffield where she teaches singing and Indian Classical music as well as performing her own material. Till recently, She was a member of legendary world music band Rafiki Jazz and recorded two albums with them. In the last year, She developed a solo performance piece derived from a song entitled My Jerusalem- combining live music with storytelling and projected images. A politically-charged tale of a drunken one-night stand, infused with stories of growing up in the turmoil of 1980s Israel.
MY JERUSALEM was developed during 2019 as a WorksAhead commission with hÅb/Word of Warning/STUN + Contact in Manchester with Arts Council England's support, mentored by Peader Kirk and will be touring during 2020.