I was fortunate to be born into a family where music is loved and nurtured. My father (may he rest in peace) taught himself to play the mouth harmonica and accordion (with buttons on both sides). As a young couple, my parents performed and entertained. They had a regular gig at a New York night club where they folk danced and at on occasions at the same time my father played accordion or harmonica. Throughout my childhood and adult life my father would not miss out on the opportunity to take out his accordion or mouth harmonica and lead an impromptu sing along. Be it young and old, the moment my dad started playing, the audience of all ages would be mesmerized.
My parents appreciated all types of music. Since they were folk dance enthusiasts, they had a vast collection of 78 and 45 (records) of folk dances from around the world. For over 40 years their friends gathered every two weeks to dance to the music. My parents had a diverse record collection at home of everything from classical to pop. They had an annual subscription to the Israeli Philharmonic and I would be able to accompany my dad when my mom was away on business trips.
My love affair with the guitar was largely influenced by listening and watching my older brother Ron. Ever since I can remember he was writing songs that became for me as enjoyable as a Simon and Garfunkel song. I believe I started taking lesson in 6th grade. I wanted to be like my older brother. Already then he had made in name for himself in summer camps of the Tri-State (NY,NJ, PA) area. Such a thrill seeing the entire getting so excited to see “The Ron Dagan Show” http://rondagan.com Years later I got to go on the road with him and even participate in the shows ( behind the scenes doing light and sound as well as playing electric guitar I got from him after solving a Rubik’s cube). To this day my brother continues to write, perform in Florida as well as do the summer shows, now together with his boys, in the Tri State area. When he produced his first 45 I found a greater interest in music- production and engineering.
Luckily my parents encouraged my love of music and I was able to switch to study at the high school of the Academy for Music and Dance. At the time of my studies we were situated as neighbors with the Prime Ministers house. That was pretty cool. Since at that time I was heavily involved with playing band, participating in battle of the bands (even winning second for song competition back in 6th grade and performing in front of 3,000 people), going to endless concerts of everything from John McLaughlin and Mahvishnu ( I just saw him again last month), Dire Straits, Eric Clapton, Nana Vasconcelus and Egberto Gismonte to seeing friends each Friday afternoons performing Jazz fusion at Pargod theatre. I was destined to continue my musical pursuits after completing my compulsory duty in the Israeli Defense Forces.
In 89’ I was in heaven (well, actually Berklee College of Music). It was like being inside Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory and being one of the Umpa Lumpas. What a rush! Music being composed, arranged, recorded and performed every day! If you want to find out more about this time period check out the Music Production and Sound Engineering section of this site.
By 92’ I was following in the tradition of the family by combing the love for world cultures learned at home through my parents love of folk dancing and my father’s work at the International Cultural Center for Youth. That summer I began to run The Multicultural Experience which was an interactive imaginary trip around the words through music and dance of an hour and a half audience participatory action packed program that was well received by campers and adults of all ages. Over 250,000 people have taken part in the shows. If you want to find out more about this time period check out the Entertainer section of this site.
The values I received I have continued to practice with my own family. Both my daughters play musical instruments ( flute and clarinet) and have an extended appreciation of all music.
As a Berklee Alum , together with the music appreciation I received at home, I continue to play and listen to all styles of music.
A day without music is like a moment without oxygen.