So, you wanna be a rock & roll star?

The Jerusalem Music Conference brings together Israeli artists and international music biz insiders.

August 26, 2012 22:06
3 minute read.
Geva Alon

Geva Alon 370. (photo credit: Yaniv Druker)


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Instead of playing notes this week, many of Israel’s leading musicians will be taking them. Hundreds of artists from around the country – from mainstream to indie – will be attending the first Jerusalem Music Conference, which is being held at Zappa Jerusalem. Dozens of international music industry insiders, ranging from bookers, managers and promoters to journalists, will participate in panel sessions designed to provide them with the proper tools to export their music abroad.

In addition, a few dozen established and alternative Israeli artists – ranging from Barry Sakharof, Rea Mochiach, Geva Alon and Boom Pam to Uzi Ramirez, Ninet Tayeb, Raw Men Empire, Electra and Tamar Eisenman, will be performing showcase sets for the foreign dignitaries at conference events during the week in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Among the listeners will be representatives from prestigious international music festivals Glastonbury, Exit, Primavera, and the CMJ Music Marathon.

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“To make it internationally requires a combination of talent, hard work and not a little bit of luck,” said Fra Soler, the head talent buyer for the Primavera Sound Festival in Barcelona, who will featured in conference sessions.

Primavera is one of the major indie music festivals on the European circuit, with an average attendance of 100,000 during its 13 years of existence. Among the artists who have appeared there are The Pixies, Neil Young, Sonic Youth, Pulp, Portishead, Pet Shop Boys, Arcade Fire, Pavement, Yo La Tengo, Lou Reed, Patti Smith, Franz Ferdinand, Public Enemy, The White Stripes and Wilco.

“The main thing is to be true to ourselves and reflect in the lineup each year how we feel about music and which bands we really love. The main criteria is whether we like the music – that’s pretty much it,” said Soler last week from Barcelona. Soler will be leading a panel called “Booking It: An Agent’s Perspective” and will be participating in another panel called “What Works, What Doesn’t – 10 Tips for Every Artist.”

Soler’s credentials also include a decade on the stage himself, as one of Barcelona’s most popular DJs. Seeing the music world from the perspective of an artist and of a booker has enabled him to flourish in a very competitive industry.

“There was a very small music scene in Barcelona, and everybody knew everybody else. When the club I was playing at started to book artists from abroad, they asked me to be involved because I could speak English and French,” he said. “Then soon after they started the Primavera festival and I was invited to come on board handling the bookings. In the end, it’s all because I’m a music lover and appreciator.”

Combining the music and the business of music is what the conference, being sponsored by the Jerusalem Municipality and JVP Media, as well as Zappa Jerusalem, 2B Vibes, the Foreign Ministry and Oleh! Records, is all about.

The session “Building Israel’s Strategy for Music Export & Development” will be moderated by local music business executive Ran Geffen and will feature the Foreign Ministry’s Rafi Gamzou and the Israel Export Office’s Mira Geshel. Another session, “A Journalist & Blogger’s View: How to Get on Their Radar,” brings together the associate editor of influential British rock magazine Q, Paul Stokes and Brooklyn Vegan, one of the most widely read music bloggers.

One of the most widely attended sessions is sure to be “Music as a Weapon For Peace,” in which moderator Kobi Farhi of Orphaned Land, Ivory Coast reggae star Alpha Blondy and New York rapper-turned hassidic Jew Shyne will discuss how their music and messages have been attempting to bridge gaps, confound stereotypes and promote coexistence and understanding.

Most sessions are closed to those who preregistered, but more information can be found at

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