Coming together

This week’s three-day Beatles fest in Holon promises interesting Fab Four factoids and non-stop covers by local musicians.

Magical Mystery Tour 311  (photo credit: Courtesy)
Magical Mystery Tour 311
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Yoav Kutner, the artistic director of the annual Beatles Festival,believes that the place of the Beatles in Israeli culture is much moreprominent than any other foreign artist. For the third year in a row,the Beatles Festival returns to remind audiences of the rock ’n’ rollgiants and their legacy. “The Beatles had a major influence on a lot ofIsraeli artists,” Kutner says. “Even if they’re not Israeli, TheBeatles are a part of our history, too.”
As a big fan of theBeatles, Kutner feels that this year is particularly important, as itmarks the 40th anniversary of the release of the album Let It Be.
Thefestival, which will take place in Holon from April 28 to May 1,features several tribute concerts, including a reenactment of theinfamous Beatles performance on the rooftop of the Apple Record Companybuilding. Magical Mystery Tour, the renowned cover band of the Beatles,will kick off the festival with a free performance on the rooftop ofthe New Steinberg Center building, where the festival will take place.
Kutneralso pointed out that this year would have marked the 70th birthday ofJohn Lennon. The festival, therefore, showcases a tribute concertImagine in honor of the notorious musician, by the Israeli artistsShlomo Gronich and Shlomi Shaban among others. Kutner will also give apresentation about John Lennon, followed by a screening ofNowhere Boy, the new film about John Lennon’s life.
Thefestival also includes a special segment called Beatlemania, featuringthe group Umaguma – a unique project performing Beatles cover songs inan eclectic mix of genres from ethnic music to Jazz with a MiddleEastern twist, which Kutner refers to as “Psychedelic Mizrahi.”Beatlemania also hosts Natalia M. King, also known as LadyChild, anevocative Blues singer from Brooklyn, flying into the countryespecially for the festival.
Kutner insists that The Beatles area worldwide “phenomena” that transcend conventional music styles andcan therefore appeal to all age groups. They have captivated audiencessince the early days of rock ’n’ roll, and this festival aims to keeptheir legacy alive. “The Beatles are not oldies music,” he says. “It’snot very old stuff. It still speaks to the young generation.” For thatreason, the festival also showcases a few acts by youth groups from theNew Steinberg Center, as well as from the Artik School of Music, whichteaches its students the basics of rock ’n’ roll.
The youthbands from the Artik School, comprised of four or five members betweensix and 13 years old – including guitarists, drummers, keyboardists,bassists and vocalists – will play Beatles covers in a show that maylast up to a staggering hour and 20 minutes.
Roy Draizin, manager and owner of the school, says the children havealready performed in front of a live audience and that, despite theiryoung age, “they have a lot of experience in showbiz.” The students arealso fans of the Beatles, says Draizin, and when the producers of theBeatles Festival asked the school to send a few youth bands to theevent, the students were arguing over who will play. “The Beatles arethe Kings,” he explains. “People say that Elvis was the king of rock’n’ roll, so the Beatles are the kings of rock ’n’ roll.”
Draizinasserts that this festival proves that rock ’n’ roll is not dead andthat the legacy of the Beatles will be carried on by the youngergenerations. “After people will see the show [of the youth bands], theywill see that rock ’n’ roll still has a hope. It’s not extinct. It’salive and kicking.”
For tickets, visit call *8965. For further details, go to,or call the Steinberg Center at (03) 550-0012.