A free trip to Israel with all expenses paid and intimate concerts with some of the top musicians in the country. Sound good?
That’s why five bloggers from the US and UK – Rebecca Schiller of the New Musical Express, Samantha Edussuriya of MTV Iggy, Luke Britton of This Fake/DIY, Rory Hamilton of Feel My Bicep, and Brandon Bogajewicz of The Burning Ear – jumped at the offer to come to Israel for a week of five-star pampering.
The Kinetis nonprofit group brought them over to show them that Israel has a lot more creative energy than the headlines around the world tend to illustrate.
“Our tours generate significant on and offline ‘buzz’… and offer followers of our guests a glimpse into Israeli reality behind what they see on the news and media,” writes Kinetis on its website.
Schiller wrote in a blog on NME about the trip that there are “a few unbelievably talented acts nestled away in Tel Aviv that most certainly deserve some overseas attention.”
Edussuriya of MTV Iggy said the blog she works for is always on the lookout for new global music and innovative international acts. And that’s what was on the menu for the visit here.
ISRAEL21c caught up with them during a visit to Muzik – School of Creation and Production in south Tel Aviv to chat about music as an international language. File-sharing and the internet have no doubt helped musicians around the world be heard. But nothing beats face-to-face interaction or jamming together for a real musical relationship to be formed.
Israeli musicians used to be hesitant about singing in English – mainly from the point of view of not being accepted by local fans – but since 2005 there’s been a domestic explosion of Israeli artists recording in English and today it’s totally acceptable.
Yet even with the internet, the bloggers told me that they knew few Israeli musicians. Their week in Israel has no doubt changed that.
These five bloggers have a combined audience of nine million followers. So, when they meet a new artist they like, chances are someone else is going to read about them as well. And that’s always a good thing.
Sure there’s Betty White and Tony Bennett, but you could make a case for the most hip octogenarian out there being none other than Shimon Peres, Israel’s venerable president.
At age 88, Peres is a new media star and has spent this week, after holding a face to face with President Barack Obama and addressing the AIPAC conference, touring California hi-tech hotbeds as the toast of Silicon Valley, with heavyweights like Mark Zuckerberg and Serge Brin clamoring to pose next to him like he was a rock star.
Zuckerberg helped Peres launch his official Facebook page, which is aimed at creating a dialogue with Arab users. The president repeatedly praised the social networking site as a way for people to bypass failed efforts of governments to seek peace.
And if that’s not enough for you to press like, Peres’s people recruited celebrated Israeli DJ Noy Alooshe to put together a techno mash-up of a Peres speech to promote the page. Alooshe, a member of the techno group Chovevei Tzion, was propelled to international success after his parody last year of former Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi, which included excerpts from one of his speeches during the early stages of the Libyan civil war.
Accompanied by a pulsing techno beat, the Peres clip features Peres rapping his way through a “be my friend, for peace” riff in his endearing Old World English acent. Visually, we see the presidentin various scenes, from scrolling through his page on a Tablet to meeting international leaders and celebrities like Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, comedian Jerry Seinfeld and the Pope.
The clip appears, of course, on Peres’s own YouTube channel. The man’s a modern marvel. Meanwhile I’m still trying to figure out what Twitter is all about.