Jamie Papish was an accomplished accounting consultant, attending stressful meetings with clients in windowless rooms. His work paid the bills but he was unhappy. Living in Brooklyn and taking the subway to work in Manhattan, Papish decided: “I am not taking the ‘F’ Train anymore.”
Papish liked to go to concerts. “I was always involved with music – it was my thing…I played guitar, went to parties in high school and college…liked clean rock and I was a good dancer.” In 1994 Papish married Melanie Kareem, an accomplished dancer and founder of Melanie Kareem’s WE ARE BALADI Dance Theater.
In 1997 Papish participated in a drum circle with Paolo Mattioli, who was teaching a class near Victorville, in the high desert north of Los Angeles. “I was getting into the groove,” said Papish, who was bent on a career as a professional percussionist.
In 2001 Papish declared that he was determined to achieve his goal as a professional musician. Yuval Ron, an accomplished musician and creator of The Yuval Ron Ensemble, met with Papish. “I knew from the first time I saw Jamie that he was going to make it as professional musician,” said Ron. “He had the drive and dedication.”
Papish, determined as he was to succeed as a professional musician, had to face facts. There was no guarantee that he could make it as a professional. In the final analysis, it was Papish’s dedication and determination that won out.
As a member of The Yuval Ron Ensemble, Papish is looking forward to an exclusive tour of the Holy Land in November of this year. The Yuval Ron Ensemble, which celebrates Middle Eastern music, will perform at Masada Mount, and with Yair Dalal in the Azzazme Bedouin tribal tent in the Negev desert.
Papish said as a member of The Yuval Ron Ensemble he and his fellow musicians are dedicated to meeting with peacemakers in the Jewish-Arabic centers in Haifa and Jerusalem and witnessing the educational activities for peace and non-violence.
Melanie Kareem said it is a challenge to have two performing artists living together, as she and her husband must schedule rehearsal times. Papish and Kareem support each other’s careers and say that their lives are blessed. They are dedicated to their art.
Topanga filmmaker Steven Flood produced and directed a short film on Kereem’s Dance Theater. Papish said he and his wife are fortunate to live in a community that respects and nurtures the diverse talents of musicians, actors and writers.
Recently The Yuval Ron Ensemble presented a concert at the Church in Ocean Park in Santa Monica. Due to an overwhelming response, more than 200 had to be turned away at the door.
Ron composed the musical score and wrote the songs for West Bank Story, winner of the 2007 Academy Award for best live action short. The film is a musical comedy spoofing West Side Story, in which an Israel soldier falls in love with the Palestinian cashier of a falafel shop.
Kareem will be performing at Topanga Earth Day on April 21 and 22. Papish will be leading drumming workshops at the same event. The Yuval Ron Ensemble will play at UCLA on May 20, and tour the Holy Land in November. For information, call 818.505.1355, e-mail info@yuvalronmusic. com or go to yuvalronmusic.com.