Mashina (משינה) is an Israeli pop rock band which was active from 1984 to 1995 and then again from 2003 to the present. The band is considered by many to be Israel’s most important and influential rock band. Their musical style took inspiration from ska and hard rock, among others. Mashina was formed by singer Yuval Banai, a member of the Banai family, probably Israel’s best-known family of entertainers; father Yossi was an actor and singer, as are uncles Gabri and Ya’akov, along with most of Yuval’s cousins. During his army service he met guitar player Shlomi Bracha and the two started playing music together. A friend of theirs, a recent Russian immigrant, suggested they call their band “Mashina Vremeni”, which means “time machine” in Russian (this suggestion may have been inspired by the well-known Russian rock band Mashina Vremeni of the 60’s and 70’s). After their military service the two split up; Banai formed the band “Shlom Ha-Tzibur” (“Public Safety”), while Bracha teamed up with bassist Michael Benson to form the band “HaChazit Ha’amamit” (“The National Front”). In 1984 they decide to combine to form a new band, which they called Mashina, bringing in drummer Igi Dayan; in 1985, they released their self-titled debut, which quickly became a hit on the Israeli charts. Later Avner Hodorov joined the band on keyboard and saxophone.
They gained widespread popularity in Israel during the late 80’s and early 90’s. The musical growth of Mashina can be mapped to different influences across their albums. Their early sound was obviously imitative of ska bands like Madness; they didn’t bother to hide the influence, titling what became one of their earliest hit songs “Rakevet Laila Le-Kahir” (“Night Train to Cairo”), an homage to Madness’ “Night Boat to Cairo”, or “Geveret Sarah Hashchena” (“Miss Sarah, the Neighbor”) that copied the theme, music and opening lyrics of Bob Dylan’s “The Hurricane”. Their subsequent albums combined reggae, punk rock and Middle Eastern elements. “Ha’Amuta Le-Heker Hatmuta” (“The Society for the Study of Mortality”) sounds influenced by The Cure, “Miflatzot Ha-Tehila” (“The Monsters of Fame”) sounds influenced by The Pixies, “Si Ha-Regesh” (“Emotional Peak”) has the blues influence of Pink Floyd, and “Lehitra’ot Ne’urim Shalom Ahava” (“Goodbye Youth, Hello Love”) has the anthemic quality of U2. Their lyrics tend to be cynical, sometimes humorously so. There are common themes of alienation, the struggle of everyday life and a desire for some sort of physical or spiritual escape.
Mashina has gone on several North American tours, playing in cities including Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Toronto, Washington and Los Angeles. In the Israeli Version of “The Voice” TV Show, Mashina members Yuval Banai and Shlomi Bracha acted as one coach during the 2nd season (2012-2013). In the past year Mashina has been celebrating 30 years of rock and roll in a sold out tour around Israel, coming now to the USA .