Live Review: Taali at The Poisson Rouge in New York, NY

Material: Taali joins the ranks of artists who produce their own tracks, combining them with her live music experience. Dubbed Jewish contemporary pop, her music falls in the cracks of pop/electronica, touching upon various other styles. Her spin on the mélange plays well as a marketing designation, but also infuses her strong cultural Hebraic background with personal struggles and those of her kin. The use of minor chords is prominent, as are rhythms that harken back to traditional Judaic music, but with a modern twist. In the ethereal “Hear You Now,” the song’s message radiates outward, from a highly individualized one, to that of universality, imploring the need to stand up for who you are and be acknowledged: Masquerade / always felt like a good escape / to protect what was left to take / the illusion is fading out / and the words that you swallowed down / tickle at the back of your mouth / oh but they’re gonna feel you / oh they’ll see you / oh they’ll hear you. The joyous upbeat track offers an interesting juxtaposition alongside the underlying teachable lyric.

Musicianship: Taali sings with abandon, her voice leaning toward the sweeter side, blending effectively with the pre-recorded vocal tracks. She also showcased her piano skills with several solo numbers. Two additional band members were added, as vocals and backing tracks completed the sound. Locking in seamlessly with the pre-recorded material left no room for error, and was achieved effortlessly.

Performance: The artist’s signature sound, which features vocal layering mixed with electronica, lent excitement to the set, though cutting back slightly on those numbers would have made for an even stronger set as it became repetitive as a motif. She did, however, offer a few piano ballads in addition to inviting guest artist James to perform “Star,” a song they co-wrote. In one of the more moving moments in the set, Taali paid homage to her grandfather by singing one of his favorite Hebrew songs, which she did entirely in Hebrew, underscoring her profound connection to her ancestry.
Summary: Taali has rightfully earned a spot on the world music scene, while crossing other genres to include a larger audience. Cutting one or two of the pre-recorded songs and adding more of the Hebrew element would further set her show apart.

Contact: Brittany.oconnell@thesyn.com
Web: taalimusic.com
Players: Taali, vocals, piano; Dustin Kaufman, drums; Doug Berns, bass, Jose’ James, guest artist