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
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
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
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,
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
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?