Israeli ‘hip hop violinist’ wins Grammy

Miri Ben-Ari – a Grammy for co-writing ‘Jesus Walks’ and a solo album on the way.Israeli Miri Ben-Ari – the ‘Hip Hop violinist’ – can add Grammy winner to her resume after winning the award for Best Rap Song for …

Miri Ben-Ari – a Grammy for co-writing ‘Jesus Walks’ and a solo album on the way.Israeli Miri Ben-Ari – the ‘Hip Hop violinist’ – can add Grammy winner to her resume after winning the award for Best Rap Song for co-writing “Jesus Walks” on Kanye West’s CD The College Dropout. Ben-Ari played and produced all of the strings on West’s multi-platinum album and has previously worked with high profile artists such as Wyclef, Jay-Z, Britney Spears and Brandy.

“People say what I do crosses barriers and brings a whole new medium to hip-hop and R&B,” she told AP recently. “I’m opening doors. When you play good music to any crowd, any culture or color, there’s no barrier. People just like music. I believe it can cross all the bridges in the world. It’s a universal language.”

Ben-Ari grew near Tel Aviv and began her classical music education at a young age. Legendary violinist Isaac Stern saw her potential and recommended Miri for a scholarship from the America-Israel Cultural Foundation. During her mandatory military service, she was chosen to play with the prestigious Israeli Army String Quartet.

“[The army] definitely influenced me, and put my life in perspective. I think a very important lesson I learned is in the military every one is one. When you go to basic training, every soldier is a soldier. They treat us the same. And I love that because I seriously believe that every individual is just as good as another individual. Nobody’s better than anybody else. When you’re coming from the military, you understand it to a whole other extent,” said Ben-Ari.

After the army, Ben-Ari studied Jazz at the Mannes School of Music in New York City. After releasing two albums and having a modest career in jazz, Ben Ari was introduced to the hip-hop community by Wyclef Jean. Most recently, she has been touring as a featured artist with West throughout the U.S. and Europe.

Last year, Ben-Ari was signed by Universal Records and her solo debut The Hip Hop Violinist, an album featuring her violin with hard-edged hip-hop production will be released in the coming months and will feature West, Anthony Hamilton, John Legend, Scarface, Mya and Lil Mo.

About Harry Rubenstein

Harry Rubenstein coordinates all of ISRAEL21c's digital media marketing efforts and manages the ISRAEL21c website. Harry has previously worked as a content developer and in various marketing positions for a myriad of high-tech companies in Israel. He is currently the co-proprietor of Action Packed Media, a creative workshop specializing in content, the development of innovative Internet initiatives and digital strategy.