We live in a time where there is a State of Israel. A dream for millennia is a reality in our age. And how quickly we normalise our relationship with the direction of our prayers and the source of our faith.
I’m sharing two things this week;
Koolulam is the sensational new hit of Israeli society; scratch mass choirs performing the great hits of Israeli culture. For Yom Haatzmaut, 12,000 Israeli - lead by President Rivlin, came together to sing ‘Al Kol Eleh’- it’s remarkable and in the emotions of the chorus you can feel the history of this remarkable country. Most warmly recommended. Click here. On Shabbat I’ll be sharing some insights drawn from this magnificent song - a song that celebrates the honey, and the bee-sting.
And also this - from my wife. Do please forgive the nepotism.
A few months ago, out of the blue, I received a call from UJIA: “So… we have a date at the Royal Albert Hall for an event to mark Israel’s 70th birthday and we want to do something contemporary, celebratory and a bit different. And we’d like you to dream it all up”. What a dream gig! I started to pull together a list of all my favourite Israeli artists making work today – in music, dance and visual art and then pretty much asked them all to join us. And amazingly they all said yes.
So on 24th May at Platinum at the Royal Albert Hall as a somewhat different and absolutely celebratory and creatively rich Yom Hatzma’ut event, you’ll be able to watch 49 artists from Israel including:
Balkan Beat Box – a true party band who blend Eastern European brass, Israeli rhythms and some jazz and punk influences. I’ve worked with them to invite a special programme with musical guests drawn from across Israel’s diverse communities – they’ll be Ethiopian Israeli Gili Yalo who sings in Amharic, A-WA, three very cool Yemenite singers who perform in Arabic and Hebrew and the wonderful Shai Tsabari who mixes traditional oriental music with rock, pop, electronic and world music.
Vertigo Dance Company is one of Israel’s leading contemporary dance companies and unbelievably they’ve never performed here. They’ve also created a special 20 minute performance especially for Platinum with 11 dancers and 11 live musicians, White Noise. White Noise will be full of energy and dynamism, a burst of exceptional movement and beauty.
Gilad Ephrat Ensemble – I spent a while trying to find a classical music ensemble who would do justice to the spirit and musical pedigree of the Royal Albert Hall whilst simultaneously originate uniquely from Israel. Gilad Ephrat has pulled together a small quartet of virtuoso string musicians and composed work for them that draws on classical, jazz and Israeli folk traditions. Their set will be a true gem.
On top of that, we’ll screen some short films by contemporary Israeli video artists, bring Russian-born Israeli soprano Olga Senderskaya to the UK for the first time, present some really quite high profile British and Israeli speakers and be charmed by music and arts broadcaster Suzy Klein and criminal barrister Rob Rinder, reality star of ITV's Judge Rinder and a breakout participant of 2016's Strictly Come Dancing (BBC). PLUS the evening will open with a performance by around 70 non-professional dancers who will work with Israeli choreographer Hagit Yakira. I’m still looking for a few more aspiring dancers for this – please do contact us through the website if you’d like to know more.
There’s ticketing info and more details on all the artists above with links to their music at www.israel70.uk
It’ll be an enormous event and I’d love you to be part of it.