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The Most Unexpected Musical Experiences in Tel Aviv
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The Most Unexpected Musical Experiences in Tel Aviv

Picture of Dalia Mandel
Updated: 9 February 2017
Tel Aviv is home to numerous venues featuring various kinds of music from Mizrahi to techno. However, you can hear the sounds of Tel Aviv just by walking down its streets. The following is a list of quirky people and places that infuse Tel Aviv with music and give the White City that extra special something.
Ha'Bima garden with secret speakers
Ha’Bima garden | © Eran Karu
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Habima music garden

The newly renovated cultural plaza of Habima Theater, Mann Auditorium, Ya’akov gardens and Helena Rubeinstien Pavilion for Contemporary Art has a secret hidden in the sunken garden at the center of the square otherwise known as Orchestra Plaza. As you descend the wooden steps to the garden with flowerbeds, whimsical classical music floats through the air via hidden speakers in the steps. It is also said to transmit live rehearsals from the Mann Auditorium. The renovation project, which was completed in 2011 was controversial at the time, due to the designer being a sculptor by trade rather than an architect. This innovative design makes for a wonderful environment to sit and enjoy the cultural center of Tel Aviv.

Orchestra Plaza, Tel Aviv, Israel

Hare Krishna

Every weekend the chiming of hand bells and repeating of ‘Hare Krishna’ drifts around the city, and a single file of colorfully dressed singers dance through the city inviting passers-by to join them. The International Society for Krishna Conciousness (ISKCON) is a religious organization, which was founded in 1966 in New York. Its roots go back to the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition since 15th-century India, and it is still alive and kicking all over the world. The Tel Aviv group of Hare Krishnas spread their message of spiritual awareness on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in various locations and times.

Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman

The streets of Tel Aviv would not be complete without a blaring van covered in stickers and spray paint to halt in the middle of a busy street or intersection, and spew out a minimum of four religious looking men who dance, sing and smile amid the honking cars. Although this behavior would be unacceptable in most other cities, these men are often joined in their dancing effort by onlookers. The ‘Na Nachs’ are a subgroup of Jewish Breslover Hasidim. Their name developed from the phrase ‘Na Nach Nachma Nachman Meuman,’ which originated from Rabbi Meuman. They take well-known modern songs, as well as trance music, and repeat the phrase in place of the original lyrics. To see them in action click here.

Dizengoff Centre's DJ Yonder
Dizengoff Centre DJ Yonder | © Yarden Elbocher
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Dizengoff centre

The Dizengoff Center is one of Tel Aviv’s busiest malls, with approximately 420 shops. The task of keeping the mood upbeat fell to DJ Yonder, who was hired to be the resident music editor. She would play anything from classic rock to pop spanning decades, and always tried to include underground Israeli music. Taking into account the changing audience of her music throughout the day, she would “play music according to what’s going on in center itself”, with the main aim being to “make everyone feel comfortable and making the environment nice”. Although Yonder has moved on to more exclusive venues, her playlists can still be heard in the center.

Dizengoff Centre, 50 Dizengoff, Tel Aviv, Israel +972 3-621-2400

Chik Chak Juk

Chik Chak Juk is a pesticide company who work in the Tel Aviv area, ‘chik chak’ means quickly, and ‘juk’ means cockroach. The thing that makes this particular company something of a Tel Aviv establishment in the last few decades, fills some with rage and others with nostalgic joy. It is the performance given by the giant mechanical puppets at the back of the Chik Chak Juk truck. The huge green bugs sing, dance and generally have a good time, while passing on the information of how to exterminate their brothers and sisters and other unwanted visitors in your home via song.

The Man who Screams and Shouts

Residents and visitors of central Tel Aviv will no doubt have their fair share of unavoidable eavesdropping, due to the lack of special awareness most Israelis are burdened with. However, there is one man called Itay Azizi who views shouting on the street as voice ‘in motion’. He uses his voice as an expression of past pain and disappointment he has experienced, and is apologetic to how unpleasing to the ear it is. Dressed in unassuming attire of a t-shirt, he screams, sobs and sings so loudly that even the thickest glass windows are penetrated by his chosen form of expression. Hear the voice ‘in motion’ here.

Water and Fire Fountain at Dizengoff Square
Water and Fire | © Eran Karu

Water and Fire

The famous Dizengoff roundabout is surrounded by wonderful Bauhaus buildings and is best known for its bright carousel looking fountain, which is named Water and Fire. The water part makes sense, but what about the fire? Well, at 11am, 1pm, 7pm and 9pm, for 15 minutes this fountain comes alive. Fire shoots out of the top, the round colored levels spin around, and water spouts from all over. The drama continues with theatrical classical music blaring from surrounding speakers from the likes of Handel, Ravel and Franz Liszt. The designer, Yaakov Agam, currently resides in the United States, however he still picks the music.

Water and Fire Fountain, Kikar Dizengoff, Tel Aviv, Israel

Tel Aviv street performer next to the Carmel Market
Street Performer | © Eran Karu

Street Performances

While Tel Aviv isn’t as saturated with buskers as other cities, there are still a few places to expect to see street performances. The first is at the Nachalat Binyamin craft fair, which takes place on Tuesdays and Fridays from 10am to 6pm, which was in the Culture Trip’s top 10 Cultural Events in Spring and Summer. Secondly, a stroll down Rothschild Boulevard on the weekend will reveal the talents of the residents. Finally, the promenade along the beach usually has a couple of buskers, if not just a guy with a guitar.

Nachalat Binyamin craft fair, Tel Aviv, IsraelRothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv, Israel