So I’m driving down the road when I hear this incredible voice coming out of my car speakers — part Janis Joplin, part Nina Simone — and I wonder, “Who is she?”
That day, I’d ripped a number of CDs onto my phone and didn’t remember which record this was. Upon a quick glance at my phone during a traffic light, I discover the name Asaf Avidan. Next traffic light, I look it up and I see a picture of a skinny, handsome white male. I figure that’s a mistake — that I must have typed the wrong name — so I wait to get home.
What I discovered floored me. Asaf Avidan is a 33-year-old, very well-known Israeli singer, formerly with a folkish rock band with gold records called Asaf Avidan & The Mojos. He’s now on his own with a solo record and no U.S. record label to put it out, but he’s on a solo tour that’s stunning. He stopped us all cold when he began to sing at the Tiny Desk. There’s a disconnect, when you watch this, between what you see and what you hear. And those songs that he writes? Well, he truly understands his voice, and they’re just some of the best tunes I’ve heard in a long time.
- “My Latest Sin”
- “Different Pulses”
- “Reckoning Song”
Producers: Bob Boilen, Denise DeBelius; Editor: Olivia Merrion; Audio Engineer: Kevin Wait; Videographers: Denise DeBelius, Gabriella Garcia-Pardo, Olivia Merrion; photo by Jim Tuttle/NPR