To life! Oakland native Hyim seems worldly beyond his years. His debut album, Let Out a Little Peace (Family Productions), is laden with stylistic juxtapositions that in less-talented hands might self-negate into triteness but here add up to an insightful, introspective elegy on the tragic beauty of modern life. Romantic solo piano pieces like "Microphone Preacher" and "Angel Ronnie" rub up tenderly against ecstatic, full-ensemble celebrations like "Let Me Go," "Puff Puff Pass," and the epic, instantly classic title track. This blend of pathos and humor, soulful voice and mournful piano, and urban grief and folk optimism makes for a very inspiring listen. Add in poetic, socially conscious lyrics set against a frequently lush and exotic backdrop of Cuban son, calypso, blues, hip-hop, and rock, and it's hard to deny the almost spiritual spell Hyim (Hebrew for "life") weaves into his music. Live, he's backed by The Fat Foakland Orchestra, which includes Afro-Caribbean percussion, drums, horns, and bass.
-- Jonathan Zwickel, San Francisco Bay Guardian
(((CHECK OUT THE REVIEWS AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WEB PAGE)))
Hyim (Hebrew for "Life"), a San Francisco born product of the Oakland Public Schools, is a singer, songwriter, piano and guitar player, producer, and arranger. Hyim's music, which he performs as a solo acoustic show, with a trio, or in ensemble stage shows as "Hyim And The Fat Foakland Orchestra," reflects the diversity of his hometown. His urban sound is rhythmically intricate while incredibly melodically accessible; combining his palate with Pop, Afro-Cuban, Folk, Hip-Hop, Reggae, Jazz, and World Beat. Perhaps imagine the voice of a young Sting who grew up in the hip-hop generation, coupled with the eclectic vision of a Manu Chao.
Hyim's debut album, Let Out A Little Peace, is being unanimously celebrated. As two reviewers have written:
On "Let Out A Little Peace" Oakland native Hyim invites you into his eclectic musical world and it's a doozy of a journey. Inside you will find piano ballads, love songs and world music explorations all woven together with an articulate pop songcraft. Absolutely mesmerizing and memorable. Hyim invites you to let out a little peace with him. --Royce Oz, Ear Witness
...His ability to speak to the human experience is powerful. His music is full of passion and depth and makes us all feel our own joy, humor, love, and sadness. In the process, he refreshingly reminds us what music is about - he moves us and connects us with each other! He is a brilliant talent who I want to grow with in this album and whatever is next. -Elan Masliyah, RainmakerMedia
Hyim wrote his first song on the piano at the age of three. "Yeah, my dad cried when he used to hear me way back then," he says with a smile. "I think that inspired and continues to inspire me a lot. Watching my father play the piano with his big hands is what got me started." You could say that his father has also deeply influenced his political and spiritual understandings. "My father's murder when I was ten pushed me to ask a lot of intense questions quite early, as well as to learn lessons of peace in dealing with my rage and sadness."
Hyim's diversity of talents has given him a treasure of experience. He has written music for other artists, ranging from Hip-Hop (Mystro, Hieroglyphics' Pep-Love, and others), to R & B (Jennifer Johns, Tanya Hall), to Folk Music (Chick Bataille, Adina Sara) to numerous projects for internationally touring dance company Dandelion Dance Theater. Hyim has written the music for and toured both the West and East Coast with Soular Synergy, as well as produced and performed with The Rock Bottom Players.
This past year Hyim has put himself into music school. "It assures me a space to nurture my skills and talents for the longer span of my career. I want to do it right," he says. "The Fat Foakland Orchestra is a project that will be a sound unheard before, with a performance that will keep my fellow ADD/MTV generation peers on their toes." Indeed, the "Orchestra" in-full contains three percussionist/drummers, three horns (including a bassoon), two string instruments, a DJ, a stand up bass, three back-up singers (two of whom also rap), and the band leader Hyim, playing the ivories, guitar, microphone and at times, the pontificator. "Nah!" he laughs, "I just like to talk!" And at the shows, talk and dance he does. So bring your open minds to his solo performances and your dancing shoes when the trio or "Orchestra" is in town, and be ready for a good time.