Trained as an opera baritone and employed for a time training anti aircraft gunners in the Israeli Army, Avner Kam emigrated to the U.S. hoping to make his career in computers. But three years ago, he went horseback riding and suddenly discovered a new persona: Kamchik, the Singing Cowboy.
The 6'4" son of a marble miner and a woman who hid for three years in a barn to escape from the Nazis, Kam sings in both baritone and falsetto voice, in a style "more Euro-Pop than Country-Western." Backed by a synthesizer, Kamchik takes the stage tonight at New York City's Pulse Theatre, 432 West 42nd St., for an engagement through Sept. 28. Kamchik: The Singing Cowboy And His Invisible Backup Singers officially opens Sept. 5.
Kamchik has already appeared at Caroline's and The Duplex, not to mention MTV's "Oddville" TV show, earning him this description from New York Press: "Cowboy lyrics sung by an Israeli with...music that's half Broadway showtune/half early American New Wave, and there you have it."
Kamchik will offer his signature song, "I Want To Be Like Roy Rogers," his own version of Dale Evans' "Happy Trails," and a tune about the special bond between a man and his horse:
"Some of the things I need from a friend, I can't get from a horse
He feels the same; sometimes he, too, wants a divorce
He wants control of whatever we do
He wants rotation of who's riding who
We fight and argue a lot."
Says Kamchik of his loner character, "The bad guys are still out there, but nowadays, it takes a much more elastic singing cowboy to put them in their place." Brian Richardson, company manager of Pulse Ensemble Theatre, directs the piece, which has lighting and sound design by Rick Beenders.
For tickets ($12) and information on Kamchik: The Singing Cowboy And His Invisible Backup Singers, Sept. 4-28, call (212) 253-1160.
--By David Lefkowitz