Los Angeles based and Israeli origin composer and drummer Noa Kahn recasts Eric Clapton’s Change The World in her stupendous live cover arrangement. Not only being a virtuosos drummer, but she has also arranged this awesome cover and hit the ball out of the park! Here she composed the arrangement for seven instruments and three vocalists. She has played on the track Lady L on the Grammy nominated album Shuruaat alongside Zakir Hussain and the Berklee Indian Ensemble.
Drummer, composer and arranger Noa Kahn has performed across Israel and Europe. She shared the stage with some of the biggest names in Israeli music on some of the biggest venues in the country. One of the most well-known drummers in the jazz and funk music scene in Israel, Noa has also been in significant pop music productions. The song runs for about less than four minutes and leaves you mesmerized.
The song begins with a compelling banging jazz fusion intro. Then it’s a feast of musical genius and virtuosity. Everything from the sturdy basslines by Jacob Shneiderman and master work on drum fills lifts the composition. A piano solo by Preston Gasser with a very clangy tone with an almost harp-like but percussive, shining like glass feel blows you away. The stunning vocal outro is the cream of the crop. Michal “Miki” Guberman’s vocals spins wonders on the track with vocal harmonies backing by Dor Kaminka and Michelle Perkins Zelik. The stunning horn section featuring Ben Dailor (trumpet), Shahar Amdor (tenor sax), and Aaron Hough (trombone) casts a web of energy.
Quite frankly, in my opinion, this cover trumps the original any day with its musically astute, jazzy, and very enjoyable arrangement. Motif are expressed as musical phrases with character and feel and impeccable technique. The crowning glory here is the musical genius of Noa and the musicians. A listening experience not to be missed!
We get to interview Noa on the song.
1. Who have been your musical influences and favourite drummers. What are you listening to right now?
I’m always discovering new musicians I like who I can learn new things from but currently my main musical influencers are PJ Morton, Vulfpeck, Louis Cole, Stevie Wonder and Jill Scott. There are so many drummers I admire but to mention a few of my favorites: Nate Smith, TaRon Lockett, George “Spanky McCurdy”, Dave Weckl and Keith Carlock.
2. Really enjoyed your arrangement of the song more than the original, how did you envision this arrangement?
The story behind this arrangement is pretty amusing. One day I was taking a shower, where all good ideas come from, while listening to D’angelo’s tune “Spanish Joint”. I loved the groove and it hit me how cool it would be to play this exact groove on the harmony of “Change The World” by Eric Clapton. This is a slow tempo song, so I thought it would be exciting to try and arrange it into a groovy middle-eastern type of song. I arranged it using three horn players, three singers (lead vocalist and two background vocalists) and a four-piece rhythm section.
3. There is some very technically interesting stuff going on in the song. What is happening with the chords and your stunning drum fills if you could elaborate?
I reharmonized the song, added an intro, an outro and extra horn lines to it. I then harmonized the lines and added lines to the background vocalists that will support the harmony of the horn voicings, which was definitely challenging.
In addition, I added a new section to the song, in which the pianist added his own ideas and expressed himself through his solo.
Regarding my drumming on this piece, I wanted to remain authentic to the core of the arrangement – the Israeli middle-eastern pop music drumming – while still supporting the song and not overplaying. Those drum fills that I played come from the middle eastern music world.
4. Could please tell, what does your drumming gear consist of?
I have a 20″ white Pearl Vision drum set, a Ludwig Supraphonic snare, and cymbals from Zildjian, Bosphorus and Sabian cymbal companies.
5. Congrats on the album Shuruaat being nominated for the Grammy Awards. You played on the track Lady L alongside Zakir Hussain and the Berklee Indian Ensemble, what was that experience like?
Thanks! I was so honored to share a stage with Zakir Hussian, one of the greatest Tabla players of all time. Zakir’s playing is moving and his precision is indescribable. I am inspired by his playing whenever I hear one of his pieces, so playing and communicating through the music was a dream come true.
Getting the news that this piece was released as a part of the album “Shuruaat”, which was chosen to be nominated for the 2023 Grammys for “Best Global Music Album”, was overwhelming. I still can’t believe it and I feel so lucky and honored to have played on this album.
6. So how do you compare the experience of arrangement versus drumming?
I would say it is hard to compare the two, since both experiences are very different in their own way. Though both require creativity, I feel that when I arrange, I rely more on music theory, harmony and different arranging techniques I learned during my study of music. I use different skills than when drumming. I use the keyboard to come up with harmonic ideas and then translate them to the entire band using music notation software. Arranging takes place over a longer span of time, forcing me to think about every small detail before the final product is ready.
When playing the drums I listen to the elements of the song – the instruments, the melody and the intention of the lyrics – and attempt to support and enhance the song while improvising and coming up with ideas in the moment.
7. What is in the store in terms of upcoming releases, projects?
That’s a great question! I’m working on some new arrangements that I’ll be performing with my trio. I have been working with my band for a couple of years now, and they are an incredible group of musicians! I’m excited to start touring with them, performing with new material. I’m also planning on releasing a couple of new singles, and hopefully soon – my first EP.
Listen to the track here on Bandcamp!
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