Recorder and singer Tali Rubinstein

Image by Noam Galai

By Tali Rubinstein B.M. ’14

I guess I’ve been having too much fun with this blog, because after writing the last one, I got sick and was mostly in bed, or complaining about not being in bed. I practiced the well-known routine of chicken soup, tea with lemon and ginger, and Amazon Prime movies with 4 stars ratings and above, which only disappointed me half of the times. For the other half, I felt much worse after, and promised myself to never again watch another Amazon movie when I’m sick (I’m quite certain that some actively raised my fever).

Failing film-recuperation, I figured I might as well write my next blog while I’m in bed, but unfortunately the muse didn’t strike me. You would think that being sick and all, I would be inspired to write some serious profound observations, but all I could come up with was a few topics from episode 6: “Shingles. Israel. Floriana. Billiard. Mona’s”. And then: nothing.

Now I’m back in normal body temperature world. With your permission, I will go by order and break down each topic, and you’ll see, this is going to be a GREAT blog!

Shingles: People get them when they are old. But apparently, people get them when they are young as well. Or when they are in a non-age (being in your 30s in NYC, it doesn’t count as any age). I got shingles in episode 6, and LET ME TELL YA! No, actually, it wasn’t that bad, once I figured I don’t have leprosy. For the record, I think I look better without it, although, that is subjective.

Israel: This is a complicated one…

Having moved from Israel to the States and witnessing the political and moral decadence is harsh. I am not sure whether I’ve changed in recent years, or whether the norm has changed. I used to be pretty mainstream in my left-wing opinions, and now—an outcast. I never thought I had radical opinions, and didn’t have a wish to be any kind of an extremist. I would assume I have normative opinions, but now the norm seems to have radically shifted to what feels to me unsafe, ruthless, corrupt, and grotesque. I thought I was lucky to have a resort, an alternative, in the form of the USA, but post-Trump election, that hope was half-shattered, and I’ve developed a slight PTSD (Post Trump Stress Disorder). I attempt to avoid political discussions. I do deeply care about all that’s going on, but I feel powerless, and rivalry makes me too uneasy to argue my opinions well. Maybe it’s a way to shake off responsibility, maybe it’s laziness. Regardless of my self-perception, I’ve realized over the years I’ve been abroad that I’m a non-intentional Israeli representative here in the U.S. Because that’s how some people see me, because Israel is very much in the spotlight and people naturally associate me with it, for a good reason—I am from Israel and I hold an Israeli passport. I belong to the people whose cultural deterioration I fear. Why do I try to deny my responsibility? I’ll leave that for you to watch, and for me to question.

Floriana: This is my good friend and my half-manager. She’s an amazing human-being! One of the smartest, friendliest, and coolest people I’ve ever met. I met her through my connection with her brother, Apollonio Maiello, who I have a duo project with (we actually haven’t played together since June 2018, but it’s still under the 5-year rule…). Floriana was featured in this episode, shedding some of her glorious light as an observer of me over the years, and of the need for musicians to play in jam sessions—quite a curious phenomenon, especially in its NYC magnitude. It’s much more than just a fun hobby.

Billiard: I’ve recently learned that in English you say billiards, plural, and not the in singular form, like the way Israelis call it when they use the English term to talk about pool (we do that a lot—weave almost-English words into Hebrew words, with a heavy Israeli accent).

So my point is: don’t mess with me in billiard(s). I’m VERY competitive, and it can get ugly… For some reason, guys are always impressed when a woman can play decent pool. Heck, I’m even impressed by that! I hate it—the worst kind of chauvinism is one you’ve internalized—that kind is the most disturbing. Still, for my future male opponents, I must disclose that I usually gain some momentum from the surprise element, and rarely do I lose to a guy.

Mona’s: Let’s just talk for a second about the best jam session in town!!! I absolutely love this place. I found out about this trad-jazz haven in my first year living in NYC—my roommate at the time took me there with a bunch of friends after a show we all went to together. It was so dreamy—entering a bar full of people wearing 20s attire and playing the washboard, the wash-tub bass (!!! it’s a thing), and the most beautiful and heart-melting playing of band leader Dennis Lichtman. I strongly feel that this style of music is one in which the clarinet shines the most. It sounds so good with its bends and its wicked, playful, sweet sound! Above all, the people make this jam session truly magical. I am thinking, good personalities make good music. This place is as welcoming and inclusive as it gets, and its music level is at the highest. It’s astounding to see how opening up the circle to all does not compromise the quality—if anything, it’s probably the contrary (or maybe, the quality of the music demands a high level of cool-dudeness). I cannot say enough about Mona’s Tuesday Night Hot Jazz! You will just have to go check it out, every Tuesday (for the past 11 years!), midnight on (and on…). This is a good opportunity to thank Mona’s Aidan Grant for helping out with this episode!

I have nothing left to say. I shall keep silent until the next blog—which will be the last one!!!

See you next time… until then—keep warm! Fight germs! Win billiard! Love your neighbor!

Watch Episode 6, “Mona’s 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.