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The Schmooze

Ran Shabtay’s Focused Folk

Crossposted from Haaretz

Image by Tali Mayer

Talking to Ran Shabtay, lead singer of The Trees and the Bees, is a frenetic experience. He jumps from subject to subject. He starts with his love of folk music (“That’s how the real thing sounds; every time I hear Elliott Smith, my jaw drops”), continues with his attraction to art (“A painting can excite me no less than a song” ) and goes on to his affinity for architecture (“It’s a fascinating world”).

It’s not easy — you need a short break — to enter his stream of consciousness. When he speaks about art, a smile spreads across his face, there’s excitement in his eyes and he sounds like he’s fallen in love for the first time and doesn’t know how to contain his feelings.

Yet his band’s first album, coming out this month on the Bahari Records label, is relaxed and very focused. “Like all good stories, mine also started with a terribly painful breakup,” he says. “I locked myself up at home for two months and all I did was play music. Till then, I had played electric guitar but I was living with a roommate and had to play quietly, not to disturb him, so I changed to a classical acoustic guitar. Suddenly, I was playing completely differently.”


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