Thursday, February 25, 2010


As I write these words, I am working on a sixties performance with Noam Tsur, a new friend from the hi-tech sector who is a rip-roaring guitarist and musician. Three weeks ago we were putting together a song list for our show (it now includes some of our favorite tunes including “Jet Plane, Don’t Think Twice It’s Albright, Feeling Groovy, So Long Marianne and many others”). We were talking about one of my (everyone’s?) top musical heroes of that era, Donovan and wondering which of his songs to include.

A few days later I was on my way to attend DLD, a weird and wondrous annual event in Munich, invited by Yossi Vardi and the folks at Burda who organize this amazing conference (check it out at This meeting brings together about 800 amazing people, many from the internet and publishing sectors, but also world class scientists, philosophers, business folks and so on. At the opening of the event, the co-organizer, Steffi Czerny introduced the musician to open the conference. You guessed it, Donovan!!!!!! He sang briefly (green guitar, long hair) and then sped off to prepare for his performance in Munich that evening. I immediately regretted not having gone over to him, to shake his hand, tell him how much joy he had brought me over the years.

To my great fortune, he appeared again at the end of the meeting (for a wonderful rendition of ‘Atlantis’, he hasn’t lost anything of his musicianship and charm). This time I did gather the courage, went over to him, had my picture taken, told him how much I loved his work. And he sped off again.

Earlier that morning, I had the great fortune of singing a spontaneous duet with Randi Zuckerberg, an awesome singer who supports her musical career by working at Facebook (joke, she is Mark’s sister and one of the chief movers and shakers at FB). Steffi kindly reciprocated by inviting me to lunch with a cadre of the amazing folks who lectured at the meeting. I asked Itay Talgam to be my ‘date’ and we sauntered over to the restaurant for lunch. Actually we sauntered quickly since it was about -10 C outside.

Guess who was sitting in the corner of the restaurant at a table with Steffi and other dignitaries? None other than Donovan. I dared not go over to say hello, having prostrated myself at his feet only an hour earlier. At some stage during lunch, Itay pulled me over to the piano (didn’t take much pulling) and I started to play. Next thing you know, Donovan passed by. “Donovan”, said Itay, “why not sing a song with us (Itay you should know is a ballsy guy and a world famous conductor himself). Donovan replied that he hadn’t brought his guitar along. I started playing "Mellow Yellow", and the next thing you know, there we are, Donovan and me, jamming together. There is no proof, except for a few pix that Itay took on his cell. And Itay, who was there, and now has to outlive me, in case anyone doubt this story, he was there.

I then got up, went over to Donovan , hugged him, told him that actually my favorite song of his was “To Try for the Sun”, and the next thing you know, there we are, singing it from memory (his better than mine).

“And who’s going to be the one,

To say it was no good, what we done,

I dare a man to say I’m too yo-u-n-g,

For I’m going to try for the sun…”

Donovan is about 63, and hasn’t lost a bit of his hair or his charm. His agent told us he would be starting a world tour, including Israel, so I am starting a local fan club on Facebook. Check out why the whole world fell in love with him when he was about 19 years old "Catch the Wind".

But here's the thing. Imagine an 18 year-old me back in 1969, sitting on Kibbutz Urim, and strumming "Yellow is the Color of My True Love's Hair" on guitar, using the chicken-plucking technique that Steve Plaut has just taught me. Along comes an apparition (bearded translucent and wearing a white robe, hovering six inches above the floor) and says "Young Mel, I am your rock and roll angel from above. If you behave yourself, forty years from now you will be singing "Mellow Yellow" with Donovan." Who would have believed?

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