Friday, May 27, 2005 | return to: _misc


Mashina launches U.S. ‘reunion tour’ in S.F.

by maytal r. bar-shir, correspondent

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They are one of Israel's premier rock bands: five mavericks who reinvented Israeli rock 'n' roll, capturing the ears and hearts of thousands for nearly two decades.

Now, as the band Mashina reunites to kick off a U.S. reunion tour, its first performance will take place during Israel's 57th anniversary celebration at "Israel in the Gardens."

Singer and guitarist Yuval Banai and guitarist/songwriter Shlomi Bracha first met at an artillery base during their service in the Israeli army. Banai grew up in a family of singers and entertainers, and Bracha played with the sounds of his guitar at only 8 years old.

The two met the rest of the group in Tel Aviv, a cultural hub of up-and-coming artists. Along with Banai and Bracha, Mashina consists of Iggy Dayan on drums, Michael Benson on bass and vocals, and Avner Hodorov on saxophone.

The group's name means "The Machine" in Russian.

The band worked with CBS Productions to release its first single. "Diplomatic Optician," which Bracha wrote, soared to the top of the charts in 1985. Their 1989 album "Ladies and Gentlemen: Mashina" turned gold just three months after the recording hit the shelves. In 1992, inspired by groups like Nirvana and The Pixies, the band appeared with bleached-blond hair and a sound that fueled Israelis with their own interpretation of a new genre of music: American grunge.

Although Mashina adopted new sounds such as grunge, the group's edgy, evolving music continued to incorporate many styles — rock, pop, heavy metal, soul, blues - giving fans a kaleidoscope of sounds. The group achieved platinum record status with the 1993 album "Emotion's Height."

Gold or platinum, metallic or soulful, Mashina continued to rock and shock audiences: In 1995, following dozens of sold-out shows and eight albums strong, the band announced their breakup.

When asked what he would do next with his career, Banai said: "If not music, then [I will do] something else ... [It] doesn't matter what because I will always work in creation. Doesn't matter if I will cook, sail, or grow herbs on my balcony."

Mashina stuck it out for nearly a decade, playing together from 1984 to 1995. For fans, the group's evolution in the world of Israeli music has left a permanent mark. Then, in 2003, Mashina mounted the biggest comeback in the history of Israeli rock. To date, the group has released 12 albums and recently won the "2005 DVD of the Year" at the Israel Music Awards.



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