Heartbeat envisions peace through song

Israeli-Palesetinian youth ensemble to perform in Levin Ballroom Feb. 26

The path to a better future in the Middle East is paved with song.

That's what the members of Heartbeat might tell you. An ensemble of young Israeli and Palestinian musicians based in Jerusalem, Heartbeat is a youth-led movement created to combat the fear and violence in the region with voices of cooperation and peace.

“Heartbeat artists are a living reality of people working together to build relationships through a musical dialogue,” says Avi Salloway, Heartbeat’s global ambassador and tour producer. “Our mission is to share the message and positive energy in America and grow our movement internationally.”

Heartbeat launches its debut U.S. tour this week, and will make a stop at Levin Ballroom on Feb. 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. The event, which is sponsored by Hillel at Brandeis, is free. There will be a meet and greet over falafel and hummus following the performance.

“Heartbeat is a place of sanity in a place that is missing a lot of sanity,” says Guy Gefen, 21, who is a member of the ensemble. “With music, it’s so much easier to understand the person who is in front of you and see that you are very much alike.”

The member musicians are between 17 and 21, who together compose new music across a wide variety of genres including rock, blues, hip-hop, reggae, traditional Middle Eastern and both Eastern and Western pop music.

“The goal is to empower the young artists we work with to understand the power of their own voice and creativity to connect their communities, and to help them grow into their voice,” Salloway says.

Back home in Jerusalem, the artists participate in jam sessions, writing retreats and recording projects. The ensemble has performed for thousands.

Seventeen-year-old Moody Kablawi says Heartbeat proves music is a mutual language between people of different cultures.

“It helps me share my opinion in a peaceful way,” Kablawi says, “and I’m learning to amplify my voice.”

Categories: Arts, International Affairs

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