Prayerful raps in Hebrew and Aramaic

Victoria Hanna: Vocalizations ranging from 'Shir Hashirim' to 'Asher Yatzar'.

Victoria Hanna (photo credit: Courtesy)
Victoria Hanna
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Fusing ancient Hebrew and texts, Aramaic, artistic vocalizations, hip-hop, spoken word and unique visualizations, the phenom that is Victoria Hanna will be performing Saturday night at Jerusalem's The Lab, and Thursday at Tel Aviv's Enav Cultural Center. Hanna offers an experiential show combining the ancient with the contemporary, drawing upon her roots as a Mizrahi Jewish Jerusalemite born into a spiritual and religious community that placed strong emphasis upon the language and elocution of prayer. She draws the bulk of the religious texts of her people, as well as from other cultures, to set against modern musical forms and innovative set designs that include cutting edge lighting and video presentations. Hanna's performances include selections from Song of Songs, a Yom Kippur prayer, and the daily "Asher Yatzar" blessing that praises God for the creation of the human body, expressing wonderment over its complexity of its most basic functions. The weekly Ha'ir Tel Aviv has sung her praises, calling her "an insightful artistic virtuoso who takes your breath away." Hanna's talents have also been extolled abroad as well, where she's performed at such varied venues as the Melbourne International Arts Festival, the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival, the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art and the Chicago World Music Festival as well as before His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the New Delhi Sacred Music Festival. Time Out, New York wrote that "Hanna's blessed with one of those voices that demand full attention .... at turns lovely, haunting and frightening." Writing about the scene at her Melbourne performance, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation marveled at the mixed crowd that emerged after the show: inner-city kids, adults clad in blue jeans and a well-dressed, theater-friendly crowd. Saturday, 9 p.m., The Lab, 28 Derech Hevron, Jerusalem, (02) 629-2000, NIS 80/60/40. Thursday, 9:30 p.m., Einav Cultural Center (roof of Tel Aviv's Gan Ha'ir), 71 Even Gvirol St., NIS 80, ticket agency: (03 604-5000