Bringing the Blues from Isreal to Memphis: the Ori Naftaly Band

Posted on April 1, 2014


By Michelle Quina

screen%2520shot%25202014-03-01%2520at%252043547%2520pm-u21274Blues music is embedded deep into the roots of Memphis, TN. Whether you are at a bar, restaurant or walking down the street, musicians are expressing themselves through the blues everywhere you go. The Ori Naftaly Band is within the blues culture in Memphis, but what sets them apart is that they are from Israel and have recently relocated to Memphis. Traveling from Israel to compete in the International Blues Competition in 2013, the Ori Naftaly Band made it to the semi-finals, which launched their musical career in motion. Having developed a following in Israel by winning the Israeli Blues Challenge Competition, the Ori Naftaly band’s fan base continued to grow as they toured throughout the United States and The Netherlands. The band made the decision to relocate from Israel, to Memphis, TN, and boy are we lucky to have them.

screen%2520shot%25202014-03-01%2520at%252043612%2520pmtheGRIND was able to catch the Ori Naftaly Band at Neil’s Music Room on February 9th. Prior to the performance, we had the pleasure of speaking with Ori, the founder and guitarist in the band. He approached our table and said, “Are you ladies here to see me? I am the luckiest man alive!” in a thick accent. Throughout the conversation, Ori spoke about growing up listening to blues and jazz music with his father. He claimed that the blues had always inspired him, and where is there a better place to play the blues he asked, than Memphis, TN. We couldn’t agree more. After our conversation with Ori, the band started to jam. They were the epitome of what “doing what you love” looks like. The band was comprised of Yam Regev on the drums, Daniel Mckee on the bass, Ori on the guitar, and guest, Jeremy Powell, on the keys. The room filled with sound, livening up the audience. A cute and sassy young girl stepped on to the stage and took the microphone. Eleanor Tsaig took us all completely by surprise. Not only could she sing but she was belting Etta James as if it were easy. Eleanor knows how to work the stage. She made that clear by dancing, talking to the audience, and cheering on the rest of her band throughout the performance. The band’s chemistry was undeniable.

The Ori Naftaly Band is a hidden gem in Memphis. Not only is their story interesting, they perform effortlessly and their clear passion for music is nothing short of inspiring. Whether you have never taken the time to appreciate the blues, or you are already a fan, the Ori Naftaly Band should be the next Memphis band you check out.

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Posted in: Music