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Why hasn’t Ottawa heard of Michael Greilsammer?

By Jared Davidson on February 13, 2013





I went into my interview with Michael Greilsammer knowing nothing. I came out in absolute confusion.

First of all, why hadn’t I heard of this guy? He’s famous in Israel; he’s won that country’s version of the Oscar (called the Ophir, if I recall correctly), and he makes some pretty exceptional music (for more evidence, see this little treat). Honestly, I was bewildered. And it really doesn’t seem like he’s all that well known outside of his home country, which is absolutely astounding. This guy has played with people like Amadou and Miriam, he is a wizard on the violin, and here he is playing the Daily Grind on Saturday, a show that has received literally no publicity beyond this. No offense to the folks at Carleton, they really do their best, but COME ON! No Tweets? No likes? No shares on Linked In?!

So, there I am, standing in the snow after having interviewed this humble, humble man, and I realize that I could say literally anything I wanted about him to Ottawa and no one would know the difference. For example, did you know that his brother plays piano in the Geneva Orchestra? Is that true? Well this Ottawa Citizen article from January seems to think so. Okay, well that has 6 retweets… I’m getting a bit less angry.

Did you further know that he teaches Master classes at Carleton for his instrument of choice, the violin?

And why not? Ottawa’s a small enough town. Why hasn’t everyone heard of this guy? He’s been here for a week! Oh, wait. Did I say a week? I MEAN A MONTH!

So maybe this article should be part apology for not telling you about him sooner. I feel like I’ve failed a little bit as a journalist (part of that could be all the yelling!) by not announcing his arrival triumphantly. I mean this guy gets 240,740 hits on Youtube for a video that is really nothing special (apologies to Michael Greilsammer and all interested parties). I mean, this is a live video that has some of the strangest camera and effect work I’ve ever seen in my life. I wonder what would happen if he videotaped himself sneezing. Actually, hold on, I just had an idea for this week’s video of the week. Calling him now…

Speaking of videos, let’s talk for a second about the one at the top. This is a video that was compiled by hand-camera footage of his tour in India, and it’s one of the most beautiful videos I’ve ever seen. Clearly the man surrounds himself with talented people. It’s also a great song, sung in Hebrew, in one of the multi-faceted man’s more quiet movements. Because did I mention he’s also something of a hard rock violinist? Yeah, you see those images of him in a leather jacket in this video? That’s his alter ego, and it seems like he rocks pretty hard. Oh, and here’s a video of him covering Coldplay’s Clocks reggae style. WHAT IS GOING ON?!

Seriously, though. What is going on? This guy wants to (he says) make something of a home for himself in Ottawa. Why are we not throwing welcome mats at him?! Why is he not crushed beneath our love?! Are we cynical?! No. I think we just aren’t aware.

Anyway, before this became an editorial about why Ottawa’s media needs to step up its game (us included, obviously) I was planning to have some quotes from Greilsammer in here. Hold on! Here’s one! Here’s him describing what happened when he tried to make his violin create the same kind of feedback that Pete Townshend was able to achieve at Woodstock in 1969: “I did it, but it broke.”

I’ll let that sink in.

If you want more of this guy, here’s a link to an edited version of the interview I did with him. Notice the adorable accent.  That’s going to air tomorrow night on CHUO at 5pm during our Apt613 Live thing. So tune in!

If you want to see him live, you should come to his show at the Daily Grind on Saturday at 9. I’ll be there, and so will his wife, who sings back up his acoustic sets, which is what this is.

Look, you’re out of your mind if you don’t think this is newsworthy. Good luck ignoring this guy now, Ottawa. I’D LIKE TO SEE YOU TRY IT!

Quick update: Alan Neal has confirmed over Twitter that All in a Day did a piece on Greilsammer that we missed. That should have been part of this compendium.

Another update: The Jewish Tribune published an article on the musician back on the 12th. We do apologize for all the wonderful media coverage we missed!