Sharon Cunha Hallelujah contestant.
(photo credit: courtesy)
Participants in "Hallelujah,"
a global song contest for Jews aged 16 to 26, are starting to feel the
pressure as rehearsals get into full swing. Event organizers are hoping
that their endeavor will establish a new musical tradition for world
Jewry that will strengthen the connection with the Diaspora.
is a new version of a nearly 20-year-old Hebrew song contest for young
Jews from across the globe, amped up for the Internet age.
grand finale, which will be webcast live on JPost.com, will take place
on August 25 in Ramat Hasharon in front of an audience of 3,000 people.
The semi finals will take place this Wednesday and Thursday and will
also be shown on JPost.com.
The 30 finalists are currently in Israel for rehearsals and to tour the country.
You can listen to the contestants, and will soon be able to cast your votes, via the website
or the Facebook
There is also a special Youtube page
which features the latest rehearsals and performances.
is much more than just another reality show,” says Eitan Gafni, the
competition’s founder and head producer. “It fosters a love of Hebrew
songs among young people from around the world. It starts out in the
Jewish communities of the Diaspora, and then moves to Israel. It’s not
just about the music and the artistry, but about the heart and the soul.
In these songs there is the story of this country, and the feelings of
those who built it.”
Although the contestants chose mostly
contemporary songs, Gafni says, rather than anything biblical, “they all
have the experience of singing in the Hebrew language.”
the experience and the exposure are surely the biggest draw for the
participants, there are also cash prizes. The winner will receive an
$8,000 cash prize and record a duet with an Israeli artist that will be
broadcast on local radio stations and Jewish radio stations worldwide.
The two will also go on a concert tour of international Jewish
communities. The runner-up will receive $4,000, and the third-place
finalist will win $2,000.
The finalists represent Jewish
communities from the US, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, France,
Australia, Argentina, Sweden, the Netherlands, Belgium, the UK, Turkey,
Costa Rica and Uruguay. There is also one Israeli, Mor Machlav of the
IDF Education Corps.
As they tour the country, they will be
accompanied by musicians and artists, as well as staff from the IDF
Cultural Department and the Rimon School of Jazz and Contemporary Music.
team of judges will be headed by veteran singer Yehoram Gaon and
includes such well-known musicians and producers as Kobi Oshrat, Hanan
Yovel, Yehuda Edar, Tomer Hadadi, DJ Skazi, Niv Tomer and Gafni.