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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Israel: The Holy City of Tsfat

Israel - Tsfat by BinauralAirwaves
View from Tsfat:

My first full day in Israel was spent touring the northern region between the Sea of Galilee and the Lebanese border. One of the first stops was in Tsfat (spelling is open for interpretation). Tsfat, which translates to "lookout", is a prominent place for Kabballah study. "Kabballah" literally means "receiving" in Hebrew and it represents the school of thought that deals with the mystical aspects of Judaism. This is the thing that Madonna is fascinated with. Rumor has it that Madonna wanted to buy a place in Tsfat, so as to get her Kabballah study on, but was denied due to fear of excessive commotion due to her prescience there.

The Old City of Tsfat, Israel:

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At anyrate, Tsfat is a pretty small town (~32,000 people) built on steep terrain and inhabited by many religious people.

Track 1:
Walking up stairs past school yard
I made the first recording while walking up very steep stairs and through a largish landing that doubles as a school yard and there were many little kids out running around on recess.

From whence the Hoopdie cometh Na Na Na:

Track 2:
Hoopdie blasting Akon's "Right Now (Na Na Na)"

At the top of the stairs there is a narrow road and a beautiful view down over the town and across the valley. Of course, this picturesque moment was quickly shattered as Akon's "Right Now (Na Na Na)" enters the picture bumping from some dude's hoopdie. I guess it's impossible to escape Top 40 hit's...

Track 3:
Chatter around tourist stalls + Hava Nagila in background

From the top of the city we walked down through the narrow and windy streets of the old city until we were squarely caught in the maw of a tourist trap. Though, it was actually a pretty cool little tourist stop--not too garish or over the top. You can hear the din of Hava Nagila in the background and so on.

One of the many narrow alleys of the Old City:

Track 4:
The sound of fresh orange juice

Then the answer to the parched tourist appeared: free squeezed orange juice. You can hear the oranges being squeezed in a hand press.

Track 5:
Street musician playing the Panton (steel-drum-like instrument)

The musical highlight of Tsfat was this street musician playing this cool circular metallic instrument that is very similar to a steel drum in many ways except played with the bare hands instead of mallets and convex instead of concave on top. If anyone has pictures of this or a reference to the type of instrument online, I'd be most appreciative if you would send it. The guy said it is called the "Panton" or "Pantong" or something like that. Wish I could have stuck around a bit longer...

Binaural Recording Info:
Microphone Setup: In-Ear Microphones
Master Recording Format: 44.1kHz/24bit

There are tons more recordings coming from my time in Israel. Stay tuned...

Aaron

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