HeartBeat Jerusalem:   Musical young Palestinian, Israeli

rappers, singers, songwriters harmonize well

Monday, 21 April 2008


     HEARTBEAT JERUSALEM is a newborn band of 12 young Palestinians and Israelis - Muslim, Christian and Jewish high school musicians.
     Despite - perhaps, because of - recycled conflicts and behavior around them, they meet once a week in a Jerusalem studio.
     Teen Arab and Jews jam, write songs together, and share each other's unique musical heritage and stories.
     Ongoing auditions are finding rappers, musicians, singers and instrumentalists familiar with both old school and modern music.
     Incorporating Eastern rhythm and scales, the music styles range from Israeli folk and funk, to Arab rap.

    "Music can build trust and break down walls of fear," says creator, Aaron Shneyer ( Aaron@HeartBeatJerusalem.org ) .
     Shneyer's dream to create an ensemble of Israeli and Palestinian high school musicians in Jerusalem was boosted by his recent Fulbright and MTVu scholarship. 
     Like the peace process itself, Aaron Shneyer's dream didn't just "happen" but came to life by step by step, personal preparation.
     Shneyer's intentional, authentic, life-shaping experiences included (1) leadership with Seeds of Peace - http://seedsofpeace.org , (2) facilitating Arab-Jewish student Dialogue at Georgetown University, and (3) a year in New York City bringing music to at-risk youth of Urban Dove - http://urbandove.org .

     These attitude-leaders of creativity and relationship building again remind us:
    "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass. 
     "It's about learning how to dance in the rain!"
     And to rap, sing, and compose new songs.
     A new dance of life.
     Together, in a heartbeat.
     Now VISIT Aaron’s blog at http://www.mtvufulbright.com/category/aaron/ .

     Then SEE the Web site of HEARTBEAT JERUSALEM at http://www.heartbeatjerusalem.org .

     Finally, READ more and VIEW VIDEOS to live by.
     Where you live.

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Published by Israel21c -- 15 April 2008
When music is the food of peace
By Karin Kloosterman  

     It happened in Woodstock and in John Lennon and Yoko Ono's bed. When used for democratic purposes, music is a universal language that can negotiate peace.
     So hopes Aaron Shneyer a Georgetown University graduate from America. Armed with a BA in Anthropology, the 24 year-old musician and songwriter has traveled to Jerusalem on a year long MTV and Fulbright scholarship to help make music in the Middle East.
     His ambitious plan is to unite Israeli and Palestinian high school youth and turn them into a recording and performing band through his project Heartbeat:Jerusalem.
     Today there are 12 Muslim, Christian and Jewish high school students in the band. Despite the ongoing conflicts in Jerusalem, they meet once a week in a professional studio in the city where they jam, write songs together and share each other's unique musical heritage.
     After the auditioning process, which is ongoing, Shneyer selected rappers, musicians, singers and instrumentalists familiar with both old school and modern music. Incorporating Eastern rhythm and scales, the style of the music ranges from Israeli folk and funk, to Arab rap.
     "The kids are coming together and are focusing on writing music and getting into what the music they are writing means," Shneyer tells ISRAEL21c. "They are becoming comfortable with each other and are now just crossing into the territory of getting into the conflict."
     Most of the songs that the group is writing, he says, come from an idea they've brought from home. Despite the recent terror attacks and riots in Jerusalem, the meetings have run smoothly, Shneyer reports on his regular blog updates. American-Israeli filmmaker Joshua Faudem has been filming the musical journey, to be made into a documentary film.
     Shneyer is no stranger to talking the language of peace. He has been actively involved in the peace dialogue, through directing a music program at the Seeds of Peace camps in Maine and the Middle East, since 2005.
     On mtvU, MTV's social action website and music channel aired on college campuses, Shneyer is providing a powerful outlet for the talented Israeli and Palestinian musicians who likely would not otherwise meet.
     "Music can build trust and break down walls of fear," he says. "It's a slow process."
     Two other long-established Israelis have been working to bridge the divide between Israel and its neighbors through music.
     One is world music composer and musician Yisrael Borochov of the East West Ensemble. Borochov is Israel's version of Peter Gabriel; The second is conductor Daniel Baremboim, who created the West-Eastern Divan Workshop and Orchestra for more contemporary music.
     Over on a blog he updates regularly, Shneyer adds videos of the jam sessions and discusses the process. He writes, "Music, unlike any other medium, has a marked ability to bring people together, strengthen voices and inspire hope in the darkest of places."
     By the end of the year together, Shneyer hopes the band will play on - and that the group will perform, develop workshops and record a CD which they will take back to their schools and communities.
     Who knows, maybe they will be the first Israeli-Palestinian band to have a hit on MTV.