Tel Aviv based songstress Kama Vardi is a charming enigma, a very old soul in a young woman’s body, and an artist who effortlessly garners enthusiastic reviews from top critics yet feels like a wonderful secret still to be uncovered.
When you listen to Vardi you are reminded of a different world, of zeitgeist outcasts such as Emily Dickenson, Molly Drake and Nico. Of a time ruled by the likes of Joni Mitchell and Tom Waits, when music was centred by honesty, and committed to a deeper sense of things.
Vardi’s music is timeless in feel, where simple production and harmonies offer a delicate stage décor which allows the lyrics to take centre stage - for the words are Vardi’s glowing element, a breath-taking monologue told quietly in the listener’s ear.
Vardi was born in Jerusalem into a family of prominent Israeli artists. Her grandfather Yoram Taharlev and grandmother Nurit Zarchi are well-known writers, her mother Roni Taharlev a renowned painter whose work has been exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery, London and the Grand Palais, Paris.
Vardi’s early years were nomadic and unconventional, spending periods travelling with her artist mother including a year spent living in a Scottish castle. At 13 following her father’s death in a car crash and a bout of depression, Vardi left home. Years of misadventure followed, with Vardi finding work as music festival crew before moving to the banks of Baniyas River, Emek Hahula valley, North Israel, living within a community of young, lost artists, playing music and taking drugs.
An invite from a friend saw Vardi relocate to London, squatting and busking with friends, leading to the formation of her first girl group ‘La La Cravat.’ Several years followed in a hazy cycle of touring, homelessness and occasional respite across many European locations including Dorset - and after a weekend away in Amsterdam resulted in a 10-year ban from re-entering the UK from Immigration Police - Paris, Ariège and Barcelona (among others), before Vardi sought stability and settled in Tel Aviv. A short hiatus followed spent writing poetry with time taken out to grieve the loss of an ex bandmate to an overdose, before Vardi turned her attention to what is her life’s calling, song-writing.
At only 21, yet with a lifetime’s worth of experiences and poetic prose, Vardi independently released her first solo album ‘Forgetmenot’ in 2012. This was followed by the half-Hebrew, half-English double E.P. ‘Satchel-Sof Ma’arav’ (2016) which was warmly received by the Israeli media.
On 27th November 2020 Vardi released her third album, the English-language Moonticket. All songs on the album were written by Kama Vardi and recorded in the main at Stairway Studios. All songs produced by Dan Zeitune but ‘These Days’ which was produced by Oren Lavie and ‘The Gate’ produced by James Shaher. It was mastered by JJ at Golden Mastering.
The first single taken from Moonticket, ‘Whatever Will Be’ (2019), received play on Israel’s biggest radio stations, including Glglz and 88fm, with the latter placing it at no. 9 in their’ Songs of the Year’ chart. The single also featured on Shazam’s most searched for songs in Israel and was included on both Apple Music’s ‘Israeli Essential Rock Song Of The 2010s’ and ‘100 Best Songs of 2019’ lists.
Moonticket was warmly received by the critics, getting a 4 stars review from the Financial Times, and a 7/10 from Uncut Magazine.
Endearing and dreamy… This is just the thing for winter listening”
Financial Times ★★★★☆
“Timeless charm… Lyrics that sway with the wisdom of an old soul.”
“Mesmerizing, clear-eyed indie folk songs.”
“Her bitter-sweetness gets me every time, so beautiful, magical!” - Yoav Kutner (Glglz)
“This music is fashionable and timeless.” - Yossi Harsonsky (Ynet)
“A wonder of minimalistic folk.”- Columbus