By Yehuda Ceitlin, COLlive
Yossi Piamenta is saying goodbye to the land of the free, as he swaps a home in Flatbush, Brooklyn, for a beach-front house in Israel’s Tel Aviv.
In an interview with COLlive last week, Piamenta stressed that aside from loving his native country, the move was to assist his elderly father.
“He’s 84 and can’t walk anymore,” he said.
Piamenta lived in New York for some 32 years and it was from there that he traveled for concerts worldwide.
But as he attests, “my home was always in Israel. I only rented in New York and lived out of my suitcase. And from now on, whatever I do, will be as an Israeli.”
The guitarist, who is an observant Jew, concluded his years in the U.S. in a Farewell Concert on July 5th in Manhattan’s Highline Ballroom.
“The numerical value of 32 is Lev, heart,” Piamenta told COLlive. “I gave my heart to America and I benefitted a lot.”
Moving to the States with his brother Avi Piamenta, a flutist, influenced both their lives in two ways – spiritually and musically.
“I am a different person from the one who came to America because of the Rebbe. He’s the guy who influenced me most, most, most. He guided me.”
Until then, the Piamentas had been cooking up a tasty sonic stew of Jewish Middle Eastern rock ‘n roll fusion, unlike anything served up in Jewish music circles before.
A meeting with jazz legend Stan Getz put the Piamentas in a position to feed the souls of an entire generation of young Jewish music lovers hungry for something exotic and exciting.
The years here shaped his career, as well as his identity.
“I wasn’t frum in Israel,” he says. “Here, I got to know what exile is and started keeping Shabbos. Today I can’t imagine myself in my old kind of life. Maybe I needed 32 years to understand that.”
He knows there won’t be a minyan waiting for him at Hayarkon-Frishman, Israel’s Riviera. “Maybe I will make a little change in Tel Aviv,” he muses.
The future looks positive for the talented veteran musician. A gig is already booked in Jerusalem for after Tisha B’Av and a few simchas in the U.S.
Will he be back for the annual Simchas Bais Hashoeiva in Crown Heights?
“My brother Avi comes in special for that. Maybe I’ll come too. If they want me enough…”
Yossi & Avi Piamenta: Poteach Et Yodecha
Yosi Piamenta’s Heavenly Jams Band