Atlanta Jazz Fest Feature: Israeli Born Jazz Guitarist and Vocalist Dida Pelled – Q&A

by Raheem Karim
dida_pelled

Israeli born jazz guitarist and vocalist Dida Pelled is living proof that music is universal. The soft, sultry voice sings about personal experiences, love, life, and death. Whether it be a jazz standard, a scorching blues number, an old country ballad, or a heart- felt original her music will resonate with the listener. This is her time visiting Atlanta, so come give her a warm welcome at the 2015 Atlanta Jazz Festival. She will be performing Saturday, May 23, International Stage 3:30 PM. In the meantime we were able to get in a Q & A session. Check it out below along with some of her videos.

Q. Where are you from and how were you introduced to jazz music?

I’m from Tel Aviv, Israel. I was introduced to Jazz at age 15, when I walked into a high-school classroom taught by my late great teacher, Amit Golan. In the beginning the music sounded very foreign to me, but with time and because of Amit’s infectious passion, I fell more and more deeply in love with this music.

Q. How did you gravitate toward playing the guitar and was that your first instrument of choice?

My first instrument was the guitar. I started playing it when I was 11 years old, at elementary school. I went to a class campfire and a parent of one of my classmates was playing the guitar and everyone was singing along. It was attractive to me, and at the next campfire I was the one playing.

Q. If you couldn’t play the guitar what would be your second instrument?

The drums. I actually play drums a little and I love it. If you’re starting a band and looking for a drummer, count me in 🙂

Q. Who have been your influences?

Wes Montgomery & Grant Green on guitar. Billie Holliday, Nina Simone, Frank Sinatra, Blossom Dearie as jazz vocalists. Bob Dylan, Randy Newman, Regina Spektor, Hank Williams, Lou Reed as writers and performers and many more!

Q. What was your time like playing in the army band?

It’s a time I look back on fondly. We traveled all around Israel playing Israeli popular songs. It was a very supportive group of people and it was when I first started singing.

Q. Is jazz music more appreciated in Israel or in the U.S.?

While there are a lot of Jazz fans in Israel, I think Jazz has a deeper part of the culture in the US. People are more exposed to it in America, and are more likely to have heard it through friends and family members earlier in their lives.

Q. Do you think jazz artists are under appreciated compared to other artist in a different genre of music?

Not necessarily. I think listeners don’t think in terms of genres, and when they hear good music they enjoy it regardless of labels.

Q. Do social issues or current events inspire your song writing. If not what does?

Only in the way that they affect a more personal level of existence. I am drawn to music that talks about personal experiences, related to love, life and death.

Q. How do use your music to bridge the gap between older jazz lovers and the new generation?

What I’m hoping to express in my music is a feeling of regeneration. The songs are connected to a tradition, but are modern in the fact that they describe our experience of the world now. A truly good song is never really old or new, but simply a good song. This is a mixture of new and old that I find is attractive to listeners regardless of age.

Q. How excited are you to be performing at the Atlanta Jazz Festival?

On a scale of 1-10. 12! It’ll be my first time in Atlanta and I’m very happy to see everyone for the first time.

Q. What impression do you want to leave on the people of Atlanta?

I’m hoping they love the music, so we can come back again soon.

Q. What current projects are you working on?

I’m currently gathering material for another album. I’m now releasing the album I’ve been working on for the past two years, but I guess that’s how it is, as soon as you release one, you start thinking about the next one.

Q. What legacy do you want to leave behind when your career is over?

It would be nice to have a sandwich named after me at Russ & Daughters, just kidding. I hope to record a lot of music that I believe in, and have that keep being in peoples lives, even when I’m not in their lives.

Website: www.didamusic.com
Twitter: DidaPelled

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