The Sounds of Pessah

Pessah 88 (photo credit: )
Pessah 88
(photo credit: )
Julie Andrews may not be paying a visit, but the hills are certainly alive with music this Passover season. From the Kinneret to the Dead Sea, music festivals around the country are offering a range of tunes for lovers of every musical genre. Whether it's Afro funk or nostalgic Israeli music, this Pessah you can be sure to find whatever your ears desire somewhere in Israel. Ahava Festival on the Dead Sea If a combination of music and nature activities sounds good to you, check out the Ahava Festival in the northern Dead Sea area April 13-17. Top musical artists will perform every evening over the course of the five-day festival. Yehuda Poliker will introduce songs from his new album, Orient Express‚ in addition to singing old favorites. Idan Raichel will sing from his album Me'amakim, Meir Banei will present a selection of songs from his albums, and the band Nikmat Ha'Tractor (The Tractor's Revenge) will be heard as well. Other performers include top stars Mika Sheetrit, Ivri Lider, Arkadi Duchin, Aviv Geffen, the Fortisakharov duo and legendary band Mashina, now back in action. Beit Habubot (The Dollhouse), this year's major breakthrough act‚ will also appear on stage. In addition to the concerts, the festival takes advantage of the beautiful locale to offer walking tours of hidden monasteries and blue streams, as well as nature reserves normally closed to the public. Visitors can visit the Qumran National Park, attend guided workshops on the beach on yoga, massage, dreams and the imagination, bike and horseback through the area, learn to shoot a bow and arrow, watch a movie marathon, drive through the desert in an open-air jeep or rappel down desert cliffs. A number of sleeping arrangements are available. Options range from local vacation houses and guest houses to bungalows and tents with sleeping bags. For more information and tickets, visit or call (02) 9400-285. First Annual Jewish Rock and Soul Music Festival On the southern end of the Dead Sea, at Ein Bokek, the first ever Jewish rock and soul music festival kicks off this Sunday and Monday, from 6 p.m. to midnight. For those interested in attending both days and staying overnight, it is possible to camp out on a nearby public beach where facilities are provided. It's also possible to book a room in local vacation houses or guest houses. For more information or to book advance tickets, visit or call (03) 532-5272 (see separate article on the festival). Experience 2006 in Ma'ayanot Ganei Chooga For those seeking a combination of nature, music, peace, and love, the three-day Rastafarian-themed Experience 2006 festival has a lot to offer. Held April 16 to 18 in Ma'ayanot Ganei Chooga, just outside the city of Beit She'an, the festival will feature 34 shows. Some 84 DJs will cater to every musical taste. The big names include Selma Bar, who will sing from her new album, Ananim Nemuchim, and Shai Amar and Michal Vaknin, who will present songs from Habanot Nechema. In addition, the group Dubba will sing Yemenite and Sudanese songs with undertones of Afro funk, reggae and dub. Other headliners include Sister Carol, Soliko, Lior Miler, Nam Gilor, Amar Sound System, Brain Dean, Ja and The Vibes. Besides the music, the festival will offer Watsu water massage, sunrise yoga and Tai Chi classes, art workshops, a cultural market, theater, cinema, an Indian sauna, bars, natural pools, camping and a wide selection of vegetarian and meat restaurants. Tickets are priced between NIS 169 and 229 NIS. For more information, visit or call 077-7001846. 62nd Annual Music Festival in Ein Gev On April 16 and 17, the 62nd Annual Music Festival in Ein Gev stages performances and activities for the entire family. The festivities and music will be broadcast live by radio station Reshet Gimmel. The star singers include Dan Canar, Ilanit, David Doar, Avi Toldner, Rochama Raz, Yidi Mnoor, Shoshana Damri, Meital Tarbelsi, Itamar Cohen, Lior Yaini and Shlishit Nana. The concerts begin at 8:30 p.m. on both days and will present well-known and beloved songs by top Israeli singers. Tickets are NIS 80 per day. For information, call (04) 622-0066. Tiberias on the Water Music Festival On Sunday and Monday, the city of Tiberias invites guests to the waterfront for a variety of free concerts and family activities. A range of antique fairs, street vendors and workshops on prehistoric times will take place in addition to guided walking tours, storytellers, jazz concerts and water sports. On Sunday and Monday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and on Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., antique vendors and local artisans will display their wares to the public. On Sunday evening at 8 p.m., music lovers are invited to a free concert featuring David Da'or and Efrat Rotem, who will be backed by the Ra'anana Symphony. On Monday evening at 8 p.m., Rami Kleinstein and Shiri Maimon will sing for the crowds along the waterfront. Details at (04) 672-5666. Singing Days Festival in Holon A music festival in Holon this Pessah is offering a variety of concerts with a focus on the past. From April 14 to 19, in the Holon Theater, Esther Ofirim makes one of her periodic return visits to Israel to join other local favorites like Mati Caspi, Miri Messika and Yoni Rechter as they take the stage to sing old favorites and introduce new ones. Caspi caused a stir in the early Nineties after being found guilty of bigamy by an Israeli court (he remarried before his divorce request was granted). He'll will tip an ironic hat to Israeli fans this year with a show entitled "You are my Wife," in which he will sing with his second wife, Rachel Caspi, and a group called Sfataim‚ on Monday at 9 p.m. Other headline shows include Dedi Shlezinger, Yoram Taherlav, Miki Gabrieli (singing songs by iconic Hebrew poets Nathan Alterman, Bialik and Lea Goldberg), Rachel Groos, and New Age vocalist Din Din Aviv, who will perform with Idan Raichel and Moshe Ben Ari. On April 15 at 8:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., accordion band Habostanaim will give two free concerts. (See article below on the Saturday night concert by the late Meir Ariel's sons, Shahar and Ehud.) A number of other free concerts and art festivals will take place at the theater compound between 7 and 11:00 p.m. each evening of the music festival (except for Friday and Wednesday). For information and tickets, visit or call (03) 502-3001/2/3.