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Portrait of an Israeli progressive rock band
Last updated: June 2010 (editor: Uri Breitman)
Zingale - Peace - Album Cover

Zingale band members

  • David Bachar ('Hofesh') - Vocals and harmonica

  • Yonatan (Johnny) Stern - Vocasl, 12-string

  • Efrayim Barak - Elec. Guitar, Vocals

  • Udi Tamir - Bass

  • Ady Weiss - Fender Rhodes & more keyboards

  • Tony Brower - Violin, Mandolin

  • David Shanan - Drums

  • Dudi Rosenthal - Sound, Effects & Percussion

On March 1976 the Israeli music magazine "Lahiton" issued this article:

Zingale goes West

If there is one Israeli progressive rock band, it must be Zingale. That is, at least, what the band's fanatic fans must think, when they go nuts each time the band goes on stage. Anybody who has also listened to their first album, which includes English rock songs, has noticed that the music is directed towards contemporary western rock, and it must be influenced by that genre. The band's international success is also proof for that (note: Zingale had zero international success at the time - this article didn't report the truth).

Zingale's 1st album is one of the most popular in the US (note: not true at all), and it's an introduction to the advanced recording technologies lately used in Israel. The band leader is bass player Udi Tamir, who has pushed for this artistic direction, but he didn't form the band himself.

Tamir: "over two years ago, David Bachar and Johnny Stern came by with the idea of forming a rock group that will show on stage more than just music. We wanted a full show including music and the individual truth of everyone in the band. They started calling more musicians, and that's how the band was formed".

Udi himself was a musician in the army, and joined a local group. David Bachar and Johhny Stern introduced Udi to pianist Addy Weiss, and the two of them started writing and arranging material for the first album. The violinist Tony Brower arrived from England, drummer David Shanan came from a well known Israeli trio.

The first two years were hard and frustrating. Udi and Addy sat down with their friends and wrote the music. They rehersed from day to night (from night to morning, really), but nothing big happened.

The first two shows were organized by the band memebers themselves, and after many attempts they also found a musical producer. Their debut album, "Peace", was recorded in Kolinor studios, conducted by sound-man Dudi Rozenthal, which is the band's "secret spokesman".

It seems that good English pop doesn't have a market in Israel. In spite of the positive reviews that the band has received, there has been no big demand for the band by Israeli audiences. A new approach has brought them into a 180 degress turn, and to a realization of Johnny and David's original idea: Israeli progressive rock music, which strives to be accessible but also original, and as the band members say "cool". The israeli material has only recently been completed.

Zingale is a rare phenomena in the Israeli pop desert. Only a few know about it, but those who are, understand its quality and uniqueness. This is a band that definitely needs encouragement so it can break out of its anonymosity and achieve its well-deserved success."

That concludes the 1976 article on Zingale.

The band's producer succeeded in getting a contract with the important European DECCA label, through personal connections with the company's CEO.

Zingale - Peace
The band's only Album ("Peace") was completed in 1975 but only released in 1977. The original Peace album included nine tracks, influenced by bands like "Van Der Graaf", "Gentle Giant", the Canterbury scene etc.

Zingale intended to imbark on a European tour to support the album by DECCA. Unfortunately, it didn't happen: Decca found the album too hard to digest, and said "no". They weren't impressed by the musical dialouge between Weiss's classically-trained keyboards and Brower's fast violin riffs.

Band member Tony Brower, nowadays living in NYC, says today:
"My memories from that period were mostly good. We smoked lots of pot, had lots of fun. There are some things I don't like about that recording; the English lyrics were embarassing; the cover art was one of the ugliest ever put on record; the record companies still owe me money from royalties and sales, but the music and the playing were mostly good. This venture could go only so far, in a small country like Israel".
The English album had a limited pressing in 1977's Israel, through the Israeli record company "Hataklit". Over the years, it became a collectors' item among progressive rock fans. The band members said that their personal memories from the Yom Kippur war (1974) influenced their lyrics.

Disappointed from the cancelation of the international career, Zingale decided to focus on Hebrew material in order to establish themselves in the local scene. Zingale recorded three Hebrew tracks and got some Israeli FM radio airplay, but that wasn't enough. The band was falling apart for all the wrong reasons.

Tony Brower notes: "There wasn't enough audience in Israel to keep the band alive. The number of Israeli prog fans was just too small to sustain us". The Zingale band had dissolved.

Stern and Tamir went on to pursue Judaism and became ultra-orthodox. Tamir is working in a ultra-orthodox radio station and composing rock music. Efrayim Barak built (and later sold) his own recording studio in a small village called Amuka in the Galilee, and together with his wife, runs a guesthouse. Barak and Tamir worked for a few years and released the 2008 Zingale album "The Bright Side".

Brower moved to NYC where he has been living for more than 20 years, and records music as a hobby. David Shanan turned into a bee-keeper. David Bachar committed suicide, following heavy drug addiction and post-war trauma.

The Zingale Remastered CD's

The Israeli Indepedant music label The Third Ear issued in 1993 a re-master of the original PEACE album and included the Hebrew pieces as bonus tracks. For the first time, the compositions were presented in the right order.

Zingale was "immortalized" in the 1990's, when a local TV documentary series of Israeli rock and roll, edited by Yoav Kutner and named "Sof Onat Hatapuzim" ("End of the orange season"), interviewed some of the band members on one episode.

The "peace" album has been out of print for some time, so it was reissued again on January 2002, this time with a new package - "Miniature Vinyl" (Mini-LP) design, very similar to the original release. In later prints, the label name was changed to Earsay Records.

The sound quality of the CD is not hi-fi, but the music is lively and melodic, naive and authentic. These artists honestly believed they were changing the world through music, and made a real effort to stand out from the rest of crowd.

We know that by now, the original Zingale vinyl LP's are considered a high-priced collector's item.
The Zingale band members have not earned a single penny from the original album royalties. So it seems that today, eBay traders and clever LP collectors are making more money from the Zingale "Peace" album, than the actual musicians who recorded it.

New Zingale release: The Bright Side (2008)

The Bright Side
Two of Zingale's founding members, Ephraim Barak & Udi Tamir, have released an album in October 2008. They used the Zingale band name, although most of the lineup is gone. This is the first Zingale album since their 1977 debut, "Peace", but it's not really the same band.

Download "Sooner or Later" mp3 sample from the new Zingale album

Download the full mp3 album at CDBABY

Barak & Tamir have written the new musical material, arranged it, recorded it and released it online. They couldn't find a proper label to release the album, but they've distributed it by themselves. This independant release includes 14 tracks, half of them instrumental. The other Zingale band members are not involved in the new project.

For questions regarding the new Zingale album ("The Bright Side"), released in 2008, contact the Zingale band members via their mail address: progressive.zingale@gmail.com.

I'd like to thank Mr. Amit Amely for his help with the Zingale band documentation project.

More on Zingale

We offer brief (40 sec.) mp3 samples from the CD version, authorized by the band members: [sample 1] | [sample 2] | [sample 3] | [sample 4] | [sample 5]

Email: uribreitman@gmail.com

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