“A magical night, very touching”, the words of Shoshi Israeli one of the What About Us Founders and a driving force behind the creative team. Shoshi was the organizer of a thank you night for the Israeli and Palestinian musicians who are collaborating on the development of the musical.
The get together and jamming session was held on Saturday 21st November in Pub Hatefer in Netanya, 19 kilometers north of Tel Aviv, by the coast and near to the West Bank. The pub was donated by DJ Lior Snuf who is also an artist in the What About Us team.
Pub Hatefer is located in the Magal kibbutz in northern Israel. Located in the Wadi Ara region of the northern Sharon plain near the Green Line, the kibbutz falls under the jurisdiction of Menashe Regional Council. In 2019 it had a population of 1,139.
Because of covid restrictions Shoshi and her Sister Orna Kedem prepared the food for the 30 guests including 21 artists from the WAU musical, some partners, and the pub staff.
The get together was a truly multicultural evening during which a large array of instruments, languages and musical cultures merged in a live setting for the first-time since the project started last January. Because of the pandemic the musicians had been unable to enjoy a physical session together in the one place. Instead, they worked digitally with other musicians from all over the world creating new music, new songs and new relationships.
It was with great joy that the team finally met up for the first-time. The musicians came from all over Israel and Palestine and through the evening shared their art and passion to create a unique musical experience for What About Us, an emotional connection of the west and the east.
The evening was filled with food, music, and deep heart felt conversations; blossoming new friendships that are continuing to develop, with many of the artists gathering again to connect and collaborate through music.
Shoshi commented “Most importantly, the event connected two cultures who are considerably more alike than assumed in todays´ society with the music erasing all differences and bringing us one step closer to peace”.
One of the musicians, Mohamed, who lives in an Arab village called Gat sharing a fence with Kibbutz Magal, had never actually been inside a Kibbutz before the party. The get together created a cultural bridge between the neighboring communities that has made it possible for Mohamed to enter the Kibbutz and play his traditional Arab music.
In an amazing coincidence Yarin an Israeli banjo player was overjoyed to see Mohamed his college teacher at the gathering. At college, Mohammed had taught Yarin traditional Arabic music. It was a tender moment when the great teacher and his student played together for the first time.
There was a large array of instruments from the east and west played through the evening; Arab violin and western violin, Bouzouki from Greece, the ancient Ney flute from Egypt, saxophone, flamenco and classical Guitar, Mediterranean percussion, the paramount Arabic Oud, Flamenco Cajon, Banjo, Piano and Singers who sang in Hebrew, Arabic, Spanish, and English.
I’ll leave the last word to Shoshi. ”The gathering awakened a sense of community. The What About Us movement is pounding in the hearts of Palestinians and Israelis. i feel like it’s the start of a new era”.