Ledha Socratous: Gilad Atzmon: politics and jazz


THE SELF-proclaimed “self-hating Jew”, Gilad Atzmon will be visiting Cyprus this week to present his new book and give a talk at the University of Cyprus tomorrow....

With a strong presence on and off stage, Atzmon has a huge following not only for his music but for being a unique thinker and philosopher. Admired for his fearless stance against oppression, he is also at the forefront of a taboo discourse that many will not venture into out of fear of being branded anti-Semite. He has published quite a few books and articles blasting Israel in the past, but this time it seems his latest offering has opened up Pandora’s Box and ignited a fierce debate from all corners of society.

In The Wandering Who?, he traces his own development from a young, rather typical Israeli, brought up in a conservative, secular Zionist family, to become a staunch opponent of Zionism and of the State of Israel. But his book is far more than a personal story. He challenges the myths and the tribal mindset underpinning the founding of the Zionist state and its racially-driven policies. It is an attempt to understand what motivates secular people of a Jewish background to continue to identify themselves as Jews. It is also an attempt to demonstrate the harmful consequences of Jewish identity, particularly when this is not based on Jewish religion.

Atzmon’s 4pm talk on Thursday is entitled The Primacy of the Ear and offers an alternative take on the Israeli Palestinian conflict and peace activism. The talk will follow Atzmon’s personal story and his struggle with Arabic music leading to a rejection of phenomenology and what he has called the Primacy of the Eye. 

If you don’t want get embroiled in the political verbal joust, jazz fans will be keen to hear that on Friday and Saturday, Atzmon will let the music do all the talking, with two concerts at the JazzyB in Limassol. Accompanying Atzmon’s alto sax on stage at JazzyB will be George Morfitis on piano, Cahit Koutrafali on bass and Stelios Xydias on drums.

Through the years Atzmon has managed to merge the music of the Middle East and Eastern Europe with jazz and contemporary improvised music. Atzmon has virtually created a genre of his own with his maverick borrowings from so many different sources. In addition to being  influenced by Coltrane’s powerful approach on the sax, Atzmon’s live performances can be simply breathtaking and overwhelming. The two shows are likely to be very popular, so make sure to book your spot to avoid dissapointment.


The Primacy of the Ear

Jazz master saxophonist and philosopher Gilad Atzmon presents his new book on Jewish identity and gives a talk. February 2. University of Cyprus. 4pm. 

February 3 &4: Jazz concerts with Atzmon and Co. JazzyB, situated on the corner of Anexartisias and Athinon, Limassol. 10.30pm. €10. Jazz fans should avoid disappointment by booking early. Tel: 99-605502


Gilad Atzmon's New Book: The Wandering Who? A Study Of  Zionist's global interests and influence Amazon.com  or Amazon.co.uk.