Jerusalem is a very complicated city, beautiful and exhausting, traversed by people from every confession looking for their own little piece of sacred. At the Holy Sepulchre, at the Wailing Wall, on the mosques’ esplanades. Disparate groups of people who never meet. All of this is a part of the thrilling but tense climate. As for us, we went there to shoot a Take Away Show with Israeli-French duo Winter Family.
Ruth Rosenthal (vocals) and Xavier Klaine (harmonium, organ, piano) play a music fed by the city’s strength and power. Fed by the numerous stories you gather when you wander in the streets and listen to the thousand sounds floating in the air, the breath of the city’s ardor. It’ll be difficult to forget the moments when, while on the old city’s rooftops, we heard some strange music mingled with incantations in Arabic, Hebrew, and Latin; it was noise from a radio, its rhythm provided by sirens and other plane noises. A huge sound collage that inspired contemplation in us. Yet this quest for simplicity echoes in Winter Family’s music, whose minimalism reveals an absolute faith in the musical gesture. You can’t miss it when you watch these three videos: Ruth’s hands caressing the city, her voice telling all the stories, while Xavier, rooted, changes all the surrounding whispers into a hypnotizing drone with only one argument: the bellows of his harmonium.
I understand it now, slowly but surely: an unspeakable faith and fear in the stomach. To quote ali_fib, theirs is a music that contains a certain melancholy for Jerusalem. We couldn’t have dreamed of three better places for these three Take Away Shows, in a city three times sacred. The first, "Omaha", next to the Tomb of David, then "Abraham" on the old city’s fortifications, in front of Jerusalem. And the last one, after a brief escapade on the Mount of Olives: "Shooting Stars", with all of us gathered near a piano. It’s a real pleasure to see Jerusalem filmed differently, and the Take Away Shows seldom bind a band and their city as accurately than they did in Jerusalem. Vincent Moon had rarely gone that far into the band’s intention, either… and not only because he does magic tricks with piano keys.
After a first, eponymous album on the Sub Rosa label, Winter Family just released a new record on Marienbad called Where Did You Go, My Boy?. You can find the first and third song of this session on that album. They’re currently touring in Europe, and they’ll be playing on June 21st at the Eglise Saint Eustache in Paris.