One of the fun elements of this year’s ROI Summit involved a unique combination of Content Delivery and Israel Advocacy. This manifested itself as ass kicking music originating from ROI120 participants and alumni. On Tuesday night, July 3rd, we were treated to a concert by missFlag and the Carsitters. ROI participant Assaf Krause is the drummer for missFlag and ROI participant Noa Margalit is the lead singer for the Carsitters. They performed at Shlomzi in Jerusalem to a packed house. While most of the audience was not familiar with the music, they immediately connected to missFlag’s melodic meanderings and the Carsitters exuberant power pop.
The next night, we were all at the Old Port of Tel Aviv. There we saw Y-Love and DJ Handler tear it up with their sparse but powerful hip hop, sung in English, Hebrew and Aramaic. The next band up was Cooloolosh who rocked the house with their brand of funk and rap. Finally, we were treated to Taglit-birthright israel mega event superstar Shai 360.
Of course, everyone who participated had a great time, but these shows were not at all about just fun and games. The concerts we enjoyed were facilitated by Jeremy Hulsh, an alumni of ROI120 2006 and a 2001 Oranim Taglit-birthright israel trip, who came to ROI last year with a dream. His dream was Oleh! Records – a non-profit musical incubator whose mission was to promote Israeli music overseas. In that respect he hoped to expand the market for Israeli music and to also promote an image of Israel that went beyond the usual middle eastern conflict stuff and incorporated the reality of Israel as a fun-loving, passionate country. Well, Jeremy’s dream is starting to become a reality. Oleh! Records has just signed its first slew of Israeli recording artists (including Coolooloosh), pressed 5,000 CDs under the sponsorship of Taglit-birthright israel to be distributed at the next Mega event, and was instrumental in the veritable feast of musical talent that was unleashed on Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv by the ROI Summit. Big ups to everyone involved in this unique aspect of ROI’s mission.
As for those of you reading this, if you live in the diaspora, please help out and either book some of these artists or find a way to support Oleh! Records. Yes, you’ll be helping Israel, but I promise, you’ll also have a kick-ass time!!