Video: Ziv Eitan could well have been born flame thrower in his heart. It's difficult to come up with a different with another difficult to explanation for his fast-talking style, his delirious moves on stage and his easy segues between a plethora of musical styles.
The 35-year-old percussionist specializes in the marimbas, and his show is a musical National Geographic, a "blue and white", Israeli-made at Qiryat-Ono, to be precise.
With long-time classical training and an intense appetite to gobble up the world, Eitan has spent years developing a virtuosic ability on dozens of percussion instruments. His latest mantra focuses primarily on the marriage between classical and electronic music.
“I have a split personality,” he says. “Many people are afraid of classical music, and I have decided to break down this barrier. As an artist, I was nurtured on a rich diversity of musical styles, starting with classical music, world music, then alternative rock.
"I try to create high-quality music that communicates something to everyone, something rich with emotion. Sometimes I feel as if I am living in the Romantic Period (some 200 years ago), except I am using two resources that didn't exist at the time – a marimba (a giant xylophone with wooden keys) and a computer.
"I try not to stay within a closed bubble or a single genre like 95 percent of musicians. I don’t like to be enclosed in one domain. I'd rather look for diversity.”
Quest for different worlds
The lust for constant movement entices Eitan to wonder in between different worlds.
“In the mornings, I play at schools (sponsored by the Ministry of Education), and show children that it is possible to love classical music when it is performed at the height of its emotion. In the evenings, I've done concerts with philharmonic orchestra wearing a tuxedo and bow-tie; other nights I've played at trance, house or techno clubs with local D.Js or at nature parties across the country."
Closed, open gigs
Although Eitan's gigs are generally closed affairs and booked well in advance, every few months he produces a show that is open to the public, despite the cost involved. He also gives frequent concerts abroad, and has just returned from a tour in the Far East, where he played before large crowds of students and diplomats. He is also planning to perform in Japan soon.
“Everything I play, in every style and in any venue, be it a huge festival or a school bomb shelter in some small town, I will always try give it my best. Otherwise, I have no reason to get up in the morning.
"The music has great significance, no matter which kind of show I put on. I believe that something should be happening on stage at every second, whether it’s sad, happy, energetic, or psychedelic. I want to give top-quality performances that appealing to everyone, not only to classical music aficionados. I've created an innovative genre of somewhere between classical and electronic music, classical romantic, exciting, sad, melodic and touched by dance, trance or soft electronic influences.”
Contemporary Israeli classical composers, such as Ronen Shapira, Gil Shohat, Zach Drori, Joseph Bardanashvilli and others, happily collaborated with Eitan and have written special compositions for him, some of which he will perform Thursday at the Einav Center for Culture in Tel Aviv, in addition to his adaptation of a classical piece by J.S. Bach.
“I wanted a mix between percussion instruments, drums, Marimba, computers and classical music, so why not use the classical treasure we have here in Israel?” says Eitan. “I did not want to create avant-garde classical music that would appeal to a very small percentage of the population.
"I hope my performance will leave the audience breathless, but with plenty of emotions in their soul. I am like a lion that is chasing its prey, hoping to take my listeners with me on a rhythmic journey.”
Eitan will perform at Tel Aviv's Einav Center on Thursday, December 8.