INTERVIEW: Lucky Ali and Eliezer Botzer on addressing tech-pandemic with  new song Virtuality

The song urges people to come out of virtual reality and seek real human connection
Lucky Ali with Eliezer Botzer
Lucky Ali with Eliezer Botzer

Imagine standing on the lowest point on Earth, at the shores of the Dead Sea on a full moon night. Silvery waves stand tall with a lunar glare, enveloping the salty air. As you walk the shoreline, your soft feet bury in the salt crystals that shimmer like scattered diamonds under the moonshine. Awestruck by the celestial glow, you revel in the solitude and offer prayers for humanity. This is not an imagined nocturnal dream but a lived experience by Israeli artiste Eliezer Botzer and his friend and music producer Bob Stark who spent time in Ukraine along the Dead Sea, to inadvertently conceive the idea for the third song, Virtuality, in cross-cultural collaboration album Lemalla that Eliezer has brought with India’s soul-stir ring musician Lucky Ali. The song penned by Bob is sung in the mellifluous voice of Eliezer and Lucky which beseech listeners to step out of the virtual world and value the reality of true human connection.

Eli and Ali
Eli and Ali

Curing tech-pandemic
Speaking to us, Eliezer shares the theme, “When we become slaves to technology instead of technology serving our needs and purpose, that is the state of virtuality, (where, as the lyrics suggest) ‘nothing is as it seems’. It’s a state where the connection between human consciousness and truth has been supplanted by ar tificial intelligence and falsehood. My advice is to have quality time with yourself and others without devices between us.” The song was shot in Kyiv, Ukraine, just before the country was ravaged by war amidst global conflict. Eliezer shares about the hurdles faced by the team while shooting, “We shot the clip in Kyiv where the actors and animators are Ukrainian. We completed the filming right before the war started. The animation was at its beginning phase and our team struggled through their difficult war-torn situation and stuck with us due to their deep conviction in the message of the song. We are grateful that we were all together and brought the song to completion with such unique artistes.”

The 4.5-minute video of the mixed-media song features a man holding a candle, embodying the hope for a guiding light amidst the discord ensued by tech-driven virtual world. The montage swiftly transforms into an animated video showing graphic images of people struggling with digital overdose. Lucky tells us how the theme of Virtuality is time relevant. “Virtuality is not the truth, it is the false part of it. What we are speaking about virtuality, is the truth! We’re telling people to balance life’s connections and be more grounded. Let your heart and mind absorb the things that you can touch, feel and are real to you.” Adding to that, Eliezer speaks about the “assault on truth and reality” posed by today’s tech technological pandemic. “With his song, we are urging humanity to be grounded (‘to touch the ground again’) to seek the light of truth and to stop objectifying our existence at the hands of technology.”

Cross cultural bonding
Cross cultural bonding

Humanity beyond borders
The latest song serves as a vital chapter in the Eli Ali Project where each song including the previous two, On My Way and Amaraya are rooted in the ideals of peace, unity, and humanity’s embrace. It’s a melody where India’s heritage meets Israel’s, Islam meets Judaism and East meets West. Telling us how the new song is a crosscultural collaboration, Eliezer shares, “We had 30 different musical instruments played by artistes belonging to both countries. That way, music travels beyond the borders of controversy and politics.” Eliezer has spent a lot of time in India where his bond with Lucky goes beyond tuning together. The two have trouped over to places like Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, and even in the lap of nature in the Himalayas. They share brotherhood in revering faith and art, like no other.

Lucky shares how he seamlessly connects with Eliezer, “I didn’t have much work to do. I travelled when I wanted to, sang when I wanted to. The video also happened just like that , organically, so there was no tension. I knew they needed to finish off a lot of their work, because it’s different there (in Israel), not like us in India, where we sit down aaram se. Jab dil hua toh ek gana record kare, dil nahi hua to nahi kare (where in India, we record when we feel like). It doesn’t work like that there. Over there they have to get everybody’s time and involvement to get the work done. They did their homework, I just had to express myself.” He further adds, “When you are collaborating, you can do so only if you have gone past your creative differences. You realise that there is open dialogue where everybody has a contribution of sorts.” Eliezer shares on a closing note that peace is possible if humanity unites and goes past conflicts. “My prayer is that this gift of consciousness will expand throughout the world.”

Virtuality was released globally on June 2.
Twitter: @RanaPriyamvada

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