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Sunday, August 20, 2006

Mosaics of music

This summer is turning out to be one of the most culturally rich in memory.

For months, from Purim through to today, with brief intervals for Holocaust Remembrance Day, Remembrance Day, and Tisha Be'av, Jerusalemites have been treated to a never-ending parade of festivals, open-air concerts, fairs and more festivals.

And we're not even close to the finish line.

The organizers - whether Ariel, the municipal auxiliary; the municipality; or any of the other public or private producers - have turned almost every corner of the city into a cultural venue, constantly discovering new hotspots and venues.

And they are also trying out new, more successful and more interesting combinations - such as the festival opening next week at the Khan Theater, entitled, "Jerusalem Mosaic: Summer Nights."

Even among the many new artistic performances, this one stands out. First of all, this festival is a stage intentionally created for local, mostly young, artists, who come to live, study and perform in Jerusalem. This is no small feat, since most of this summer's performances featured artists from Tel Aviv or other parts of the country.

Hazira, the local theatrical scene created in the city back in Teddy Kollek's days, was established expressly for this purpose. Over the years, it has also learned to make room for foreign artists, too.

The multi-location festival will open at the Khan Theater and then will appear in pubs, cinemas, halls and jazz clubs in different locations all over the city.

The festival is multi-faceted, including music, dance, theater, story tellers and an interactive evening, featuring ethnic and Jewish music, authentic instruments.

The festival will continue at the Khan for three consecutive nights, opening on Tuesday August 22 with virtuoso musician Yuval Avital heading an international ensemble of musicians, actors and dancers presenting an evening of three-dimensional art. Avital, who spends most of his time in Italy, will also be accompanied by Israeli actors Niko Nitai and Salva Nakara and musician Wissam Gibran in a program in which, according to the promotional materials, "Artists of different creative backgrounds will combine and create together, discovering new and diverse forms of creative communication."

On the second day, Jerusalemites will have the opportunity to meet composer Andre Hajdu, heading his ensemble "Ha'oman 18" in a new program, "Migdal Poreah Ba'avir" ("Castles in the Air), an unusual blend of Mishnaic stories and texts presented through original music composed on the basis of Western classical music.

Ha'oman 18's previous show, based on songs and stories in the Chabad tradition, was a spectacular success, so expectations for this new show are very high.

"Voices of Judah," by composers and performers Peretz and Mark Eliyahu, a father and son duo, also promises to be very interesting. The Eliyahus specialize in the renaissance of classical and traditional Persian Jewish music. Their original music explores famous Hebrew texts such as Tehillim "Psalms), using traditional and authentic instruments from the region of Persia, Azerbaijan and Afghanistan. One such instrument, the Kamacha, on which Mark Eliyahu plays with great virtuosity, is considered to be one of the most ancient instruments in Asia.

"Twenty-five Stairs" is the name of the program scheduled to be presented on the third night and featuring singer-perfomer Esti Keinan-Ofri. Keinan-Ofri will be accompanied by her ensemble, "Kol, Ud V'tof" ("Voice, Oud and Drum") in an evening of songs and poems from both the Jewish and the Muslim Moroccan traditions, an artistic way to explore the commonalities between the two religions and nations.

The Mosaic Festival will be performed in the Khan Theater Compound from Tuesday August 22 through Thursday August 24, to be followed by performances in the Smadar Cinema, the "Yellow Submarine," and Artel, Syndrome, Mike's Place, and Marakia.

For further information call 678-3378 or visit www.hazira.org.il

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