The Tide Has Changed: A musical essay and a lesson in humanity

Published on Online Journal, by Ramzy Baroud, Oct. 15, 2010.

If one tried to fit music compositions into an equivalent literary style, Gilad Atzmon & The Orient House Ensemble’s latest release would come across as a most engaging political essay: persuasive, argumentative, rational, original, imaginative and always unfailingly accessible.

But unlike the rigid politicking of politicians and increasingly Machiavellian style of today’s political essayists – so brazen they no longer hide behind illusory moral façades – the band’s latest work is also unapologetically humanistic. 

Those familiar with the writings of Gilad Atzmon (see also on wikipedia) – the famed ex-Israeli musician and brilliant saxophone player, now based in London – can only imagine that Gaza was the place that occupied his thoughts as he composed The Tide Has Changed.

The title track, an 11-minute melody, transmits the host of emotions that engulfed many of us when Israel began mercilessly pounding the resilient and hostage Gaza Strip in late 2008. First there were the simultaneous strikes which killed hundreds. Some of us woke up to watch the dreadful images of poor police cadets in Gaza reeling under the ceaseless bombardment in a heap of human flesh. Body parts of young men and their families scattered across burning buildings and pulverized concrete. Those still alive were hauling whatever remained of their bodies across the sea of the dead, mostly in their graduation uniforms … //

… The Tide Has Changed is not meant to be a sad melody, but the sound of people marching. It is the sound of boats reaching the shore. It is the sound of people’s collective retort to racism, hatred, siege and war. It is a well-deserved moment of triumph, of victory. (full text).

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