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Selah Adom - The Red Rock Band


by Rhonda Spivak, August 8, 2011

Israel's Selah Adom Band  which took its audience on an exciting and nostalgic musical journey from the creation of the state of Israel unitll  today, wowed the diverse  multi-cultural crowd at the Jewish National Fund's  Negev Gala honouring Manitoba Minister of Water Stewardship Christine Melnick on May 31, 2011.

The ninety minute performance, which was a perfect fit for a JNF Gala,  swept the audience into a  60 year time capsule of  Israel and Jewish popular  songs that have defined our musical heritage---from traditional classics such as Naomi Shemer's "Jerusalem of Gold" and "Lu Yehi" , Miri Aloni's "Shir Leshalom",  renowned IDF military band medleys to the Eurovision winning hits "Haleluya", "Chai" and "Abanini". Additionally, the livley performance incorporated a sampling of the most memorable songs that have defined popular North American culture including Nat King Cole,The Beatles,  Aretha Franklin, and Michael Jackson.

The young and energetic  group of five musicians and four singers  was formed  last year by Israeli jazz musician, drummer and percussionist, Doron Raphaeli and  producer Cheryl Hechter ( a former Winnipegger) and is the recent offspring of Raphaeli's internationally acclaimed "Tararam" rhythm group. The talented and versatile Rafaeli (who performed as a one man band for Shimon Peres's 80th Birthday a number fo years ago) is also the leader of the  Doron Raphaeli Jazz Trio. The show for the  JNF Gala was specifically  designed to meet the needs of a Diaspora audience, who were moved when they  heard familiar nostalic tunes that they associate with  Israel,  but who also  enjoyed bing introduced to contemporary Israeli music culture

 "We thought it would be refreshing to have young talented Israeli sabras, both Ashkenazi and Sephardi, revisit  timeless and enduring Israeli classics as well  as enable the audience to become familiar with the newer Israeli songs of the past decade," Hechter told the Winnipeg Jeiwsh Review.
She noted that the group worked together to  select the material for the concert.
"There were so many fabulous Israeli songs to chose from, that it was near impossible. Together, as a group we came up with a final list of songs that we felt truly captured the essence of the Israeli experience. We worked together until there was consensus (or near consensus) amongst us.  We tried to find a perfect balance that took into consideration the different ages groups and backgrounds of the audience that was made up of Diaspora Jews, non-Jews and the local Israeli community. We wanted to be certain that there was something for everyone," she added.

Judging by the reception of the smiling and approving audience which applauded throughout and gave the group a standing ovation,  the Selah Adom Band found that balance. The show is particularly appealing for  an audience of all ages and backgrounds, as  it offers a rainbow of musical flavours for all different tastes.  The repertoire, tells the story of the evolution of  the Jewish state,  from the spirit of the first pioneers and kibbutzniks, through the hippie generation, the disco of the70's,  pop of the 80's up to contemperary spiritual and  world music of the 21st century with leading bands and artists such as Kaveret, David Broza, Idan Reichel, Mosh Benari, Shlomo Artzi, and many more.

The performance is filled with a mixture of Ashkenazi and Sephardic rhythms and melodies that resonate with all.  The musical and artistic direction by  Doron Raphaeli (who is married to Hechter) and Ran Levi was superb and the show kept the the audience interested and engaged. The musicians were all  talented individually and as a group with Raphaeli on drums, Ran Levi  on electric Bass,Hod Moshonov on keyboards,  Rami Osservaser on Guitar, and Sonja Jacobs on saxophone. The costumes and props (including the Michael Jackson Afro wigs) made for some light hearted antics.
The Swiss born Jacobs, who hails from a family of musicians and who has lived in Israel for the past 25 years  has a powerful and unique singing voice. Her rendition of Arethra Franklin's Respect was terrific as were her renditions of several Beatles songs and the song "Lolipop Lolipop."  Osnat Harel's rich voice was well suited to her solos. Idan David  gorgeous voice was stunning when he sang the North American classic "Unforgettable" and David Broza's  "Yeheye Tov."
Ther response from those in the audience I spoke to after the performance--both Jewish and non-Jewish- was very positive. Over the years I have seen a lot of Israeli groups perform for Diaspora audiences and this one stands out among others. Thumbs up--way up.

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.