On the Web, an Iranian musician sings lyrics penned by Peres

President posts song called "Ray of Hope" for composers to write music to.

Peres 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
Peres 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Only in cyberspace would an Iranian singer set to music lyrics composed by an Israeli president. But this is no Internet fable. Among the guitar-strumming musicians and blond-haired vocalists signed up on the site of songweavers.com is none other than 85-year-old President Shimon Peres. The Web site is a meeting place for musicians and songwriters. A writer posts a song, and composers write music and upload the result in a wide range of styles including classical, alternative rock, spiritual, folk rock, gospel and blues. Members can alter the music, add instruments and change it in other ways. The black-and-white photograph of a stiff-looking Peres that appears there seems more appropriate for a governmental archive than a hip music site, but that did not deter more than 20 musicians from around the world from posting versions of his song, "Ray of Hope." "Provide my friend and foe a bloodless day, invite boys and girls for peace to pray," its lyrics entreat. Among the musicians inspired by Peres's words was Sadri Ghandehari, 22, whose Web page says he lives in Teheran. In describing himself on the Web, Ghandehari said, "My passion is music and to meet others whose interest is working for peace and humanitarian causes." Others who put Peres's song to music included a fair number of Israelis, as well as musicians from Turkey, Canada, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Britain and the United States. Proving that Peres is not the only elderly musician in the group, among the contributors is a British piano teacher who is 98. The song itself was composed a year ago, and penned on presidential notepaper this week on the eve of Peres's departure for Beijing. Its words have universal appeal and reflect Peres's view of peace. The song opens with the words, "Birds of all feathers come and sing together." These lines express Peres's vision of a world without borders, and this vision is emphasized in another line in which he writes, "Forget your borders, ignore your cages and fly free." Peres continues to work for peace and is most active in trying to secure a stable economy for the Palestinians, believing that if they have jobs and a fairly good standard of living, much of their antagonism toward Israel will dissipate. Talking to The Associated Press on Wednesday, Peres's spokesman Yoram Dori said the president had told him the international attention to his song on the Web site showed that "music crosses borders, and it's an exceptional tool for good will among people." According to Gilad Ben-Shach of Israel Radio's main music station, Reshet Gimmel, several of Peres's poems have been set to music and played on the radio. However none of the president's previous efforts have excited as much attention as this most recent one. Jerusalem Post staff and AP contributed to this report.