Although Yinon Eliya Gabai is not yet eighteen years old, he has been a chazzan and singer, specializing in oriental piyutim, for many years. From a young age, he showed a love of music, absorbing a love of tefilla, chazzanut
and oriental melodies in his grandfather’s house. He was discovered and groomed as a child protégé by the famous chazzan and singer Lior Elmaleh.
His exceptional voice, a delight to the ear, has been described by leading lights of the genre as “reviving the spirit of Andalusian song and oriental melody”. Over the years he has studied with leading teachers who predicted
a glowing future for him: Moshe Luc, R. David Eisencott, R. David Otmazgin and David Wizman. Gabai’s voice is youthful and clear, as that of a child protégé, yet at the same time shows training. The melodies and piyutim
sound as if they come from one with years of study who understands the secret of oriental trilling. “There is still some way to go” say his teachers, but the buds have started to blossom”.
Some five years ago he began studying chazzanut and oriental singing at the Sephardic school of song at the Institute of Jewish Music – Renanot, under the direction of Ezra Barnea. Gabai specialized in “pirchei chazzanut” in the Yerushalmi, Sephardi and Moroccan nusachim, which he passed with flying colors. Eliya preserves the authentic sounds and flavor which he learns from the words and melodies of ancient songs.
The interesting combination of two cultures is the new hope for posterity through a generation of young artists that blend and bridge between the cultures whilst preserving our ancestors heritage for future generations.
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