Jerusalem if I forget you: Matisyahu set to perform at festival in Israel's capital

Matisyahu will join the closing events at the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival on September 4.

September 1, 2015 11:13
2 minute read.

With Palestinian flags in background, Matisyahu vows: 'Jerusalem, if I forget you' while singing at festival in Spain in 2015‏

With Palestinian flags in background, Matisyahu vows: 'Jerusalem, if I forget you' while singing at festival in Spain in 2015‏

Matisyahu is scheduled to attend this month's Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival following the completion of his European tour,  festival organizers announced on Tuesday.

"Matisyahu will join us to celebrate the closing of the festival, to sing together with us and with local musicians of all faiths from Jerusalem," the festival organizers announced.

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Matisyahu said the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival was proof that "music should and can always rise above conflicts and disputes."

"It is proof that, in practice, people everywhere are looking for similarities and commonalities. It is proof that music is free and has no limits," he said.

According to the conference organizers, Matisyahu will be joining a festival of "musicians that believe in music's ability to unite all people, who echo and support the right of all people and all religions to come to Jerusalem and celebrate themselves, and who will change Jerusalem, at least for one week, to a place where utopia has a chance to become reality."

"The vision of this festival fills me with hope and faith that from Jerusalem the answer will come forth against all those who choose the path of violence and boycotts. I am excited to join this musical prayer coming forth from Jerusalem," he added.

Matisyahu, who fuses reggae, hip-hop and rock with Jewish influences in his songs, performed at the Rototom Sunsplash festival in Spain at the end of August. He was re-invited to the festival after it faced extreme international backlash for uninviting him when he failed to reply to a demand to clarify his position on Palestinian statehood.

Matisyahu replied to the festival's request stating that politics played no part in his music.

"Honestly it was appalling and offensive, that as the one publicly Jewish-American artist scheduled for the festival they were trying to coerce me into political statements," he said at the time.

No other artists were asked to sign a similar statement in order to perform.

Returning for its fourth year, the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival, which is scheduled to run from August 30 through September 4, will feature 25 performances in a variety of locations around the city delivered by musicians and artists from 16 countries.

The festival features a variety of tours including a walk through the abandoned Palestinian village Lifta, located at the western end of Jerusalem.

A night stroll from midnight until sunrise and 16 final performances at the Tower of David will wrap up the festival.

For many, the Sacred Music Festival represents cohesion and unity in a city still divided by politics, race and religion.

Jason Shaltiel and Reuters contributed to this report.

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