Ilan Bar-Lavi is a Mexican guitarist and composer, but with a family in Israel who, once again, returns to Mexico City to perform at the 14th edition of Polanco Jazz Festival this Saturday and Sunday.
In this Festival you will be able to take advantage of the mix of sounds that Ilan brings together, as his experience with the Middle East, Latin music and New Yorkers is a combination for which he is also considered one of the most talented and exceptional musicians of his generation.
On Sunday 3 April you will be able to appreciate the concert in which he will highlight his most recent album, that is “Unprofessional”in which he composed 10 original songs in Spanish and Hebrew.
Likewise, Ilan spoke to Infobae to tell us what he presents in Mexico and how he manages to get a mix of all the sounds in his music.
How does the municipality treat you?
I love the city, I missed the tacos very much and very delicious, I have been to Jerusalem these four years.
How do you feel about presenting yourself in this 14th edition of Jazz?
Very happy, really, to be able to play in this beautiful festival at the Ángela Peralta Theater, which is a great and very happy place.
Will you present your new album?
Yes, I will present “Unprofessional”, in addition to my compositions from the last few years. There are several from my first album and many from the album which will be out very soon in two or three months, are new songs. There will be a mix of all my songs.
Tell me, how is it that you get along well between the two cultures you have for the family?
As I said, it’s normal for me because I grew up like that, but musically speaking I feel it’s pretty interesting because they are two different genres, but at the same time very, with something very, very common.
Also in food I feel that it is something very common, they are spicy and rich foods. People are nice in both places too and if you make a good connection.
How are you doing when you compose?
When it comes to composing I don’t think much about the genre or the country, I always pick up the guitar and start with an idea and slowly pick up the “rola” (song) and it comes naturally to me because I grew up with both types of music at home, then I already have it in my ear and that’s what comes out.
But the influence of Mexican music like: boleros, son jarocho and even marimba music, from Chiapas, all combined with what I knew from my father, which is Arabic, Hebrew, Mediterranean music, well the fusion came out.
How did you get started with music?
My mother is a psychologist, but she likes to play the guitar and there is always a guitar in the house and a piano, a keyboard and that’s how I started very intrigued with the guitar and started playing with other bands.
At the age of 18 or 19 I started writing my songs, it gave me this restlessness in saying who I am. If I was a person who played jazz, rock, I had to say who I am and not play another kind of genre.
So I started composing and when you start composing and you need to go record and go to the studio and then start the first album, the second album and so on.
How did you feel when you finished the first album?
On the first album I recorded about three times before it came out because it didn’t come out, the music didn’t sound like I wanted.
When I recorded an album it didn’t stay and then I recorded another and until the third time I already had the sound I had in mind and for me it was nice to be able to make my music, make my proposal and over the years, more you do it and better get out
You have a mix of artists on your album and I wanted to know, was it hard for you to keep a beat?
The album “Unprofessional” was in a time when I was living in New York and that’s where it’s time to make that kind of music because it’s easier because you have all the countries in different neighborhoods, I invited them to the studio and that’s how we made the album.
When I was living in Israel I had to make music with people there and now I’m in Mexico and I’m recording. I scroll according to where I am and the musicians around me and that’s how I create my music.
How was this experience with Covid, I guess it was there that you developed the most music?
Yes, overnight we were locked up, I had events, but they could no longer be held and I was making music from my computer, nowhere I did not start doing anything.
You have to reinvent yourself and this is how the new album that will be released in the next few months was born.
What other events will you attend?
On April 8th I will play in Xalapa with some friends and the following week there will be two concerts in Israel. The light can already be seen.