The Mekudeshet Festival presented one of its more magical evening performances Wednesday night, as singer-songwriter Eviatar Banai took the stage for a sunset concert at Jerusalem’s Tower of David Museum.
Surrounded by the ancient walls of the fort, which were decorated with massive, moving hologram projections, and lit by the golden reflection of the setting sun, Banai sang for an hour and a half, surrounded by his four-member band, and moving from guitar to piano.
Banai is the younger brother of musician Meir Banai, who died in January, and was the first in his family of talented musicians to meld ancient lyrics with modern sound, something his cousin Ehud Banai does as well.
Like his older brother, Eviatar Banai’s embrace of Orthodox Judaism mid-career hasn’t prevented him from remaining connected to his fans.
It was the moments when he sang alone, his clear voice ringing in the ancient space, that Banai captivated the crowd, a mix of religious and secular Israeli fans who swayed and sang along throughout.
They’re used to his sound and his look, dressed in black, with his long, white tzitzit bouncing against his legs. They chuckled when he blessed the water he drank onstage, and answered “Amen!” in return.
And when Banai ended the concert with wishes for a happy and sweet New Year, they responded in turn, satisfied with the quiet, intimate performance.