Israeli recorder Tali Rubinstein

Image by Noam Galai

By Tali Rubinstein B.M. ’14

Hello, good people! Thanks for joining me again on my weekly diary.

For those who are just joining—I am writing about the documentary series about my life as a musician in NYC, which is actually me giving an interpretation of the interpretation of my own life. Feeling confused? So am I.

Let’s dive right into episode 3.5. As you can surely recognize, this is not a regular episode. This episode came together from some extra footage we got (one out of many additional video shoots, most of which didn’t make it into the series)—a behind the scenes of one of my concerts, in which I perform my original music with my band. The shooting was very spontaneous— we didn’t even mic me properly, and I wasn’t really in the mood to perform in front of the camera, or to engage with my interviewer (filmmaker Dror Pikielny). I was kind of talking to myself, guided by his questions, yet completely inside of my own thoughts, in a shared-introverted moment, so to speak. I think it was one of the rawest moments of the series—barely edited, and almost solely containing the pure stream of consciousness that flowed in those few minutes. In other words, there are no filters, both in content and in format.

“Decisions are made hard when their factors are incomparable. In the choice between musical fulfillment and being close to family, it is not possible to weigh one against the other.”

The topic is generic, in a way— being nervous before a show, but the type of stress is very specific. It is the nonsocial, mindful FOMO: the FOMOOYOE (The Fear Of Missing Out On Your Own Experience)—less catchy, but equally useful. The FOMOOYOE is a feeling I confront a lot. I guess it is what happens when you put someone with performance anxiety on stage—after many (25…) years the stage fright will morph into a different shape. Since you already know all the tricks to feel comfortable and confident on stage, and you’re professional enough to cover any mishaps, ironically, all these tools you worked so vigorously to invent, turn the solution into a potential problem: All the focus and energy goes into the mere performance, instead of you simply being in the moment. What is that moment, that precious “here and now,” anyway? I’m not convinced that there is such a thing. I think we might be experiencing that current moment retroactively—a split second after, and perceiving it as if we were entirely “present” at the moment it occurred. How is it possible to create and perceive a moment at the same exact time? To produce the musical output and to receive the band’s collective input at once? It is just as if you are reading this word now (by the time you finish all three letters of “now”, the “n” is already in the past).*

*Editor’s note: I gotta start writing these blogs before 3am, and stop watching TED Talks.

Watch Episode 3.5: The Cell

Episode 4 goes back to the format of a “day in a life” + recorder jam session. This time, we talk about living far away from family. I feel like by now I’ve abused the term “missing out” to the point that I have to come up with a different term that would do justice to this subject—on this matter, the sacrifice is much more significant than a momentarily frustration. You grow older, and stretch further from your own family, from your roots. Your reality changes, and your family’s too, respectively. Today I was talking to a friend who is deliberating whether he should move to NYC. His main concern is one that many of us face—career versus family. While I attempted to convince him that closeness to family is not only measured by physical distance, and that parents are the happiest when their children are happy and fulfilled, his doubts really stuck with me and got me thinking once again about this dilemma. He said, quite brilliantly, that decisions are made hard when their factors are incomparable. In the choice between musical fulfillment and being close to family, it is not possible to weigh one against the other. But life rarely makes a great deal of sense, and the reality is, we make a choice, and it will always be the wrong one.

But look at the bright side—it will ALSO always be the right one! So, rest assure, on average, you made an okay decision.

So… back to the jam session! This time we went to Ashford and Simpson’s Sugar Bar, one of the best R&B open mics in town. For some reason, it took me forever to decide to play one of Stevie’s songs, even though he is by far my favorite American song writer AND the only Stevie I actually know or heard of (hence I feel totally comfortable omitting his last name when I refer to him, as well as on my phone contact, which I saved  so that when I get his actual number, I already have a slot for it. Yes, it is a stalker move, but I believe, if you’re gonna be a stalker fan, at least choose the best musician ever to creepily follow!).

More about creepy people (who are not me!) in the next episode of Tali Jams New York 🙂

Watch Episode 4: Sugar Bar

Tali Rubinstein

Image by Noam Galai

Tali Rubinstein, signed to the prestigious label Casa Limón is gaining international recognition by performing worldwide and breaking boundaries with a seemingly simple instrument—the recorder.

She has toured with legendary guitarist Paco de Lucía’ s original band; performed at prestigious venues such as Carnegie Hall, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and the Kennedy Center; and collaborated with top musicians such as Anat Cohen, Mariza, and Alejandro Sanz, among others. She is currently working on her debut album Mémoire, a collection of original songs she has composed and co-arranged.