Today we will tell you about one of the special and exciting artists in Israeli music - Meir Banai.
(Photo: David Scouri)
1. Meir Banai was born in Jerusalem on July 5, 1961, as the eldest son of Simcha Banai and Yitzhak Banai, later a district court judge in Be'er Sheva.
2. Meir is the older brother of the comedian and actress Orna Banai and of the singer and songwriter Eviatar Banai.
3. Meir became interested in music at a young age. At the age of 17, he began writing songs that would later be included in his albums.
4. Prior to his enlistment in the IDF, he was examined and accepted into a military band, but in the end he served in the armored corps, since then Israeli chief of staff, Rafael Eitan, canceled all military bands.
5. Immediately after his release from the IDF, Meir returned to music. As early as 1981 he appeared on the TV show "This is the Time", where he sang the song "Eviatar", which was written about his younger brother - Eviatar Banai.
6. In 1982 he released his first single, which included the songs "El HaMenucha" and "Eviatar". The record was self-financed and featured, among others, Miki Shaviv on bass, Meir Israel on drums and Arik Rudich on keyboards.
7. In 1983, Meir released the song "Maybe Tomorrow". Musician and composer Nahum Heiman loved the song and decided to sign him on a recording contract as part of his private label.
8. Meir Banai's debut album was released in 1984. Banai wrote and composed all the songs on the album except for the song "It's a Dream", which was composed by Arik Rudich, who also produced the album. The album included songs such as "When the Day Rises", "Looking for the Direction" and "Blooming Again".
9. Back in 1984, Banai performed as part of the band "Beaches" in a show that included the songs of Nahum Heiman. Two of his songs on the show "Fisherman's Prayer" and "You Hear" came out that year as Singles.
10. In 1985, Meir participated in the film "Shovrim", in which he composed the hit "Shiro Shel Shafshaf" to the words of Yair Nitzani.
11. The same year he also participated in the "Pestigal" where he sang "The Turtle Song", which he composed to the words of Avital Weiss.
12. In the same year, Meir composed the hit "Tihye Lanu Melech" for Danny Bassan.
13. In 1986 he participated in the film "Nadia" alongside Yuval Banai. Meir composed and sang the theme song "Other Dreams".
14. Meir's big break came with his second album "Rain" (Geshem) which included hits like the theme song, "In Your World", "Say Fire Say Water", "Do Not Go Away", "Etty's Night", "The Party Is Over" and more.
15. Banai wrote and composed all the songs on the album, that were arranged and produced by Matti Caspi. Meir finished recording all the songs on the album in three and a half hours and the entire album in just about a week. The album was very successful when in about two months it reached gold status.
(Photo: Matti Caspi Official Website)
16. In 1988, Meir recorded the album "Live Performance" which was released in 1989. The album included two new songs - "Strawberries" and "She Has Such a Long Nose".
17. In 1989, Banai released a single called "To the Dream", with the musical production by Moshe Levy. The song was not released on an album.
18. In 1990 he released his album "Colors Change". Here, too, Meir wrote, composed and arranged all the songs on the album.
19. In 1992 he released his album "And Between Them". Banai wrote and composed all the songs except two: "And Between Them", whose lyrics he wrote with his wife Anat Banai, and "I run out of lyrics" whose lyrics were written by Ehud Manor.
20. The album was a meteoric success and gained platinum status as it includes memorable hits like "And Between Them", "Short Love" and of course "Gate of Mercy". The album also earned Banai the title of Singer of the Year, and the song "Short Love" as Song of the Year, after charting 43 weeks on Reshet Gimel, of which 3 weeks in first place.
21. Back in 1992, Meir participated again in the "Pestigal", where he sang the song "One day is not today" whose lyrics were written by Ehud Manor.
22. This year he also participated in singing background vocals on Eric Sinai's album "Rumors of Rain".
23. In 1994, Meir Banai participated in the songs "Expected Change" and "Lisa", taken from the concept album "Radio Blla Blla" by "Natasha's Friends".
24. That same year he sang background vocals on Danny Sanderson's album "Dead to Cry 2".
25. In 1996, Meir will release the album "The Tune of the Wanderings". This time, too, Meir composed and wrote all but two of the songs: "The Preacher and the Preacher and the Altar" whose lyrics were written by Ehud Manor and "Paintings in the Window" whose lyrics were written by Tzruya Lahav.
26. In the same year, Meir also recorded a cover version of the song "Where Are All Our Ancestors" of "The High Windows".
27. In the same year, Meir was a guest on background vocals on Ehud Banai's album "Soon".
28. In 1998, Meir recorded the song "Moledet" written by Ehud Manor. The song is included in Manor's collection "I Have No Other Country".
29. In 1999, Meir went on a joint show with Arkady Duchin. In a show called "Arkady Banai Meir Duchin", the two sang their best hits, as well as a new song that they wrote especially for the show called "Domino".
30. In the same year, the two also released a mini-album that included studio recordings of five songs performed on the show, including the new song "Domino".
31. In 2001, Meir Banai released his seventh album, "Cracked Heart". This time, too, Banai wrote and composed all the songs.
32. In 2002, Meir released a double compilation album called "Some Love". The album that included the new song "In the Name of Love", was very successful and reached platinum status. The album also included a bonus disc featuring acoustic performances of Banai's songs.
33. In 2003, Meir recorded for the TV series "Me'orev Yerushalmi" a cover version of the song "Seeing Far, Seeing Transparent" by Shmulik Kraus.
34. In 2005, Banai recorded two songs - "The Name of Every Man" which was not released and "stands out" which was written by Liron Harpaz, who were murdered in a terrorist attack in 2001. The song was released on the album "In the Middle of Nowhere", which included songs written by Liron and performed by other artists .
35. During the 2000s, Meir Banai became mor and mor religious. This also influenced his musical career and among other things the content of his album "Shema Koli" from 2007, which included songs based on "Piyyutim" written by Rabbi Shalom Shabazi, Rabbi Shlomo Iben Gvirol, Rabbi Moshe Iben Ezra and more. The album was produced by Gil Smetana and about three months after its release it has already reached the status of a gold.
36. In 2011 Banai was released a double live album called "Like a Calm Lake".
37. On January 12, 2017, Banai passed away at his home in Moshav Hemed, after a year and a half of battling cancer.
38. On the anniversary of his death, his family members held a tribute show in his memory, in collaboration with the best Israeli artists. On the occasion of the show, a double compilation album was released, which included 36 of his songs.
39. In August 2021, a huge tribute show was held in his memory, attended by dozens of Israeli artists who performed his songs.
40. A few hours ago, on the fifth anniversary of his death, musician Amir Dadon released an exciting cover version of the song "Rain" recorded at that show for Meir .
** For those of you who love the material Meir Banai and are eager to experience his songs in a live performance, we recommend that you catch a show by להקת פאזה - Faza Band.