Magic in the Air

Nekudat Mifgash unites two groups of veteran musicians. This joint ensemble is the fulfillment of musician Shlomo Bar's dream: a group that performs songs composed by poets, in styles that combine ethnic elements with Western music.

In Shlomo Bar's rehearsal space near Herzliya, it seems as if the members of Nekudat Mifgash have known each other for years, even though they only began playing together six months ago. "Did you know these strings are made of catgut?" says bassist Miki Shaviv, as he strums on an exotic instrument ­ one of many in Bar's musical temple. Drummer Meir Israel seems apathetic. A bottle of homemade arak is...