One thing that unites true musicians is their desire to share music as widely as possible. That’s certainly how guitarist Yoni Schlesinger seems to feel. As well as having a very popular YouTube channel, he enjoys playing for passers-by on the streets of Tel-Aviv where he currently lives.
Yoni’s performance of Dire Straits’ “Sultans of Swing” really caught the attention of guitarists around the world due to its technical difficulties. Playing the lead guitar to this song is enough to keep a musician busy, but Yoni plays the lead, rhythm, percussion and sings at the same time. Pretty impressive stuff.
“The guitar arrangement was on point. Your rendition of the main vocal got my attention. When you included the backup vocal, man I was blown away. You crushed it. Wow. This is the best cover of Wicked Game I’ve ever heard.”
Yoni Schlesinger was born 43 years ago, but his exact birthday isn’t known. He was born in Rishon Le’zion, a city 10 miles from Tel Aviv where he lives now. His interest in music started when he was relatively young.
Following his parent’s divorce when he was six, Yoni became, in his own words, “a problematic violent boy”. After a while, his mother remarried and a year or so later, his new stepfather suggested he learn to play guitar as he was always drumming his fingers on the table. Yoni started taking lessons. His teacher focussed on how to play the guitar, rather than musical theory. He taught Yoni to listen to songs and then try and play them back.
Yoni’s most popular busking performance on YouTube is a cover of Chris Issac’s Wicked Game. It has been viewed 2.3 million times and received 62,000 likes. The comments section is bursting with praise like this:
He learned acoustic guitar for three years and then electric guitar for another two. After that he was on his own.
Details are sketchy about how he became a professional musician, but it seems he dedicated his life to music. Even now he admits he plays the guitar pretty much all day unless he has something else he has to do. To earn a living he plays at private events, works as a session guitarist in acoustic shows and sometimes works for B&G (Israel Electric Guitars), recording guitar demos.
The rest of the time he goes out into the streets of Tel-Aviv. He spends a lot of his weekends at a local mall, playing for the shoppers. He enjoys the happiness it gives people, seeing them sing or dance along. It must be wonderful to share your gift with the world like that.
These performances appear on his YouTube channel, alongside covers of famous songs he makes at home. His channel currently has 308,000 subscribers, and his most popular video is an acoustic cover of the Dire Straits hit Sultans of Swing. Yoni is a big fan of Dire Straits and has recorded covers of six of their songs. He is also a big fan of Queen, listing Bohemian Rhapsody in his top 5 songs of all time.
Yoni’s covers are exceptional and a must-listen whether you’re a guitar fan or not. Once you’ve enjoyed Wicked Game, check out his Sultans of Swing cover too. You’ll be singing along before you know it. If you would like to see more from Yoni Schlesinger, you can subscribe to his YouTube channel.