It’s Shalom, Glastonbury! Israeli bands in festival first

Folk group, soul singer and rapper to share bill with the Rolling Stones this summer

By Marcus Dysch, April 18, 2013
Crowds at this year’s Glastonbury will see Israeli artists perform for the first time at the festival (Photo: AP)

Crowds at this year’s Glastonbury will see Israeli artists perform for the first time at the festival (Photo: AP)

Three acts from Israel are due to play at Glastonbury this summer — marking the first appearances by performers from the country at the leading music festival.

Acollective, a seven-piece band performing punk, folk and electronic jazz; Saz, a Palestinian rapper who lives in Ramla and has been compared to Will Smith; and soul singer Ester Rada will all sing on the Silver Haze stage at the Somerset festival.

Glastonbury will be headlined in June by the Rolling Stones, Mumford and Sons, Arctic Monkeys and American-Jewish sister trio Haim.

Acollective lead singer Idan Rabinovici, who will perform at two other festivals in Britain this summer, said: “It’s been a while since we were last on tour in the UK, and we’re really looking forward to trying out some of our new material live — particularly to the unsuspecting festival masses.”

The deal with the Israeli acts was struck by Jeremy Hulsh, chief executive of Oleh! Records, a not-for-profit organisation which promotes Israeli musicians and exports their work to a global audience.

Mr Hulsh’s company helps Israeli artists book foreign tours, sell merchandise, cover travel costs and manage marketing. He has orchestrated deals worth more than £3.4 million to the Israeli music industry.

He said: “My organisation has been heavily involved for the last eight years in developing the local music market for opportunities abroad.

Members of Acollectove excited to perform at Glastonbury

Members of Acollectove excited to perform at Glastonbury

“When you talk about going to Glastonbury — that’s the endgame for every single artist.”

Mr Hulsh invited one of Glastonbury’s leading talent buyers to a showcase of Israeli music in Tel Aviv last year. The British executive gave advice to more than 50 artists and was said to be “hugely impressed” with what he saw in the country.

“To say you are on the bill with the Rolling Stones is something very few Israeli artists could even dream of. This is a huge success for us and hopefully we can repeat it every year,” said Mr Hulsh.

The three acts provide music from a cross-section of backgrounds and Israeli society. Saz — Sameh Zakout — began performing at the age of 16 and raps in Arabic, Hebrew and English to “deliver a message of unity and love between people”.

Acollective are described as a “mesmerising live experience”, while Ester Rada, who grew up in a religious Ethiopian Jewish family in a deprived Tel Aviv neighbourhoods, has been compared to Lauryn Hill and Eryka Badu.

Mr Hulsh has also lined up a deal that will see at least one Israeli act perform at the prestigious Liverpool Sound City festival on Merseyside in May.

Former JC intern-turned-Brit-Award-nominee Jessie Ware will also make her Glastonbury debut.

Last updated: 1:45pm, April 18 2013