American musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson.
(photo credit: SIMON HALLSTORM)
During his four-years-and-counting tenure as Israel Festival CEO, Eyal Sher has talked about keeping the now 57-year-old event right up there at the forefront of artistic and entertainment developments.
That, presumably, was uppermost in artistic director Itzik Giuli’s mind when he put together the musical curtain raiser. As we will no doubt be reminded intermittently during the course of the 25-day program, this still young country is celebrating its 70th anniversary, so the Hiphopland gala opener is very much a contemporary affair, with a nod to the momentous events of May 14, 1948.
As its name suggests, the show feeds primarily off the African-American urban rhythmic rhyming genre in what the festival blurb describes as “a hip hop celebration that responds to the Scroll of Independence with special collaborations between leading Israeli hip hop artists and singers-songwriters.”
The evening, which will take place in the Talpiot industrial area, brings together some of the country’s leading purveyors of hip hop, breakdance, spoken word, graffiti, parkour and video-mapping, performing “original texts inspired by the Scroll of Independence.” The act lineup includes the likes of Nechi Nech, Peled, Shaanan Street, Guy Mar, Karolina, System Ali, Cafe Shahor Hazak, Echo and Jimbo J.
If you can’t make it to Talpiot on the first day of the festival or simply aren’t into hip hop, you can get yourself over to the Sultan’s Pool three days later for the “gala opening concert” featuring a triad of stellar female vocalists in the shape of Miri Mesika, Dikla and Nasreen Qadri.
Spreading the genre and cultural purview appreciably, veteran American musician and performance artist Laurie Anderson will bring her Language of the Future solo show here. Anderson, who last year received the Wolf Prize for Painting and Sculpture, has been in the entertainment world for nigh on four decades and has managed to avoid pigeonholing throughout.
Language of the Future has evolved over a number of years, taking on new material and sentiments over time.
Never one to shy away from speaking her mind, the 70-year-old avant-garde violinist, electronica artist, plastic artist, poet and storyteller references political developments – naturally, including the shenanigans of the current White House incumbent – and calls in on various historical events in her trademark tongue-in-cheek manner laced with satirical undertones.
Classical music has been an integral component of the Israel Festival since its founding in 1961, although this year works from the genre will tend toward the user-friendly ethos. La Folle Journée (The Crazy Day of Music) festival has been taking place annually in Nantes since 1995 and subsequently in numerous cities around the world. This year, the local version will take up residence in gallery spaces and auditoria of the Tel Aviv Museum June 14-16.
The short concerts will include dozens of performances by soloists and ensembles from Israel and abroad.
If Greek music is your cup of ouzo, you should revel in singer Shlomi Saranga’s In the Footsteps of Stelios Kazantzidis
show on May 31. The concert, which will be held at the Jerusalem Theater, is a tribute to one of the titans of Greek music and Saranga’s muse.
Back in classical climes, in Jerusalem on June 7 the Sultan’s Pool will host a spectacular production of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly
, directed by Gadi Schechter.
Yishai Steckler will conduct the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra, accompanying soloists from the Israeli Opera.
The same evening’s agenda over at the Jerusalem Theater sees one of the more adventurous items in this year’s festival program, Turkish-Israeli co-production Nohlab. The work combines live music with state-of-theart interactive video projections. Patrons will be drawn in to the visual action – literally – with the audience standing on the stage amid the computer-generated esthetic. The hour-long work offers a meditative, musical, technologically enhanced dip into works by such leading 20th-century composers as Philip Glass and John Cage.
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