and the Cavemen’s "Dust", released at the beginning of the
year, was one of the most notable fusions of Levantine riddims with hard
rock and electronic touches. Most excitingly, this fusion is contained
almost entirely in the songwriting and the playing; it doesn’t sound
studio-bound in the least.
Touching down amid the heavily klezmerised Ashkenaz festival, Raquy may
have been a little too intense for some of the bubbies and zaydes in the
crowd, but their children and their children’s children were swept up in
The Cavemen are composed of two multi-percussionists, a bassist, a
woodwind player and husband Liron Peled, who played acoustic guitar and
hand drums. Immediately the complexity of the music was apparent as bass
lines chased percussion patterns against complex time signatures and
microtonal harmonies. The opening tune’s strummed yet foreboding chords
on guitar added to the distinctive percussive harmonies.
It was a remarkable demonstration of what Page and Plant
have always wanted to do but have never succeeded at.
As Peled peeled off one Zeppelin III riff after another, the energy
increased and Raquy entered with the kemeche, or Iranian violin. She sawed
away at dark harmonies against the guitar, her playing becoming more
powerful as the soundman got a handle on how to mix the instrument. The
crowd was intrigued but not enraptured until the next few pieces, which
were dedicated to traditional forms.
Accompanied by a quartet of hand drums, Raquy showed off her formidable
command of the dumbek. She bent the pitch of notes, used a variety of
striking techniques and even showed some choreographed moves with Liron
— this performance was as much a clinic as a show.
The finale was a suitable climax, departing the Middle East for Bulgaria.
Woodwind player Daphna Mor did Roland Kirk justice by jamming two
recorders into her mouth and harmonising with the kemenche. Next time, I
hope Liron will get into some of the thrashy guitars and menacing
electronics that made Dust even more intense, but this was still a very