Let the Nations Sing

This week got off to the best possible start. It was with particularly great pleasure that my choir, the Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir, this week welcomed the visiting Manado State University Choir from Indonesia. Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim state, does not have diplomatic relations with Israel, so, as their charismatic director, Prof. Andre de Quadros explained, it was quite a complicated mission to bring them to Jerusalem. Fortunately, some people understand that music can be a means of bringing people together, even bitter enemies, and  choose the language of mutual co-operation rather than the language of boycott and hatred. Thus, after a stimulating workshop with Prof. de Quadros, who had us singing, miming and dancing, in a way that enabled us to hear familiar music in a completely unfamiliar way, (such as the Elizabethan madrigal, “Come Again” in the guise of a pop songfollowed by a spectacular performance by the Indonesian singers, in their colourful costumes, we joined the latter  and the Jerusalem Youth Chorus (a choir made up of Israeli and Palestinian high school students, Jewish, Muslim and Christian) on the stage of the Jerusalem YMCA Auditorium, where all three choirs sang, in classical Arabic,  a choral arrangement of the Sufi song “Adinu Bidin El-Hubbi”. In translation, the song means: “I follow the religion of love, For love is my religion and my faith”. You can watch this moving performance on the second of the video-clips below, starting at 07:13 – preceded by the Jerusalem Oratorio Chamber Choir’s rendition of the traditional Shabbat Hymn “Dror Yikra” and followed by Allen Pote’s setting of the erroneously named “ Prayer of St. Francis” arranged by Robert Delgado – a performance so beautiful it brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,Where there is hatred, let me sow love;Where there is injury, pardon;Where there is doubt, faith;Where there is despair, hope;Where there is darkness, light;Where there is sadness, joy.”

I’m sorry about the quality of the video, especially in the second clip. These were the only video-clips of the performance that I could find on YouTube.

Shabbat Shalom.

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About Shimona from the Palace

Born in London, the UK, I came on Aliyah in my teens and now live in Jerusalem, where I practice law. I am a firm believer in the words of Albert Schweitzer: "There are two means of refuge from the sorrows of this world - Music and Cats." To that, you can add Literature. To curl up on the sofa with a good book, a cat at one's feet and another one on one's lap, with a classical symphony or concerto in the background - what more can a person ask for?
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23 Responses to Let the Nations Sing

  1. DrRosen says:

    wonderful posy

  2. DrRosen says:

    I mean,wonderful post.

  3. Ellen May says:

    That sounds wonderful. How ironic that western pop stars boycott Israel (well, some of them, anyway) while a choir from a Muslim country, with no diplomatic relations with Israel, comes to your country to share a message of peace!

  4. Roman Guitar says:

    Music is an incredible help in building bridges between people.

  5. Greta says:

    You are really unbelievable! First you steal their land and then you expect them to come and make pretty music with you and you think that’s going to bring peace!

    • Nobody here is so naive as to believe that a couple of concerts together is going to bring peace. But I think you should take a closer look at the Jerusalem Youth Chorus website. They have a short video there, which includes interviews with the high school students who make up the choir. And you should also read up on “D’Une Seule Voix” – the project in which my own choir participated in France in 2006 and in Malta, in 2009. I’ve blogged about that in the past. The underlying thought of both projects is, that people from different – even hostile – communities, who would not normally have the opportunity to meet and talk and get to know each other, can, in this way, do so in a non-threatening situation, can experience the joy of creating something beautiful together, can get to know “the other side” as something other than “the enemy” and can learn to understand that “they” are not necessarily the Monsters one thought they were. It’s an opportunity to change our perceptions of each other and to examine our pre-conceptions. Sometimes, one can’t just rely on governments to make peace. It has to be a grass-roots movement.

      • Akram Tahrier says:

        Not only do the concerts fail to bring peace, but they encourage you to believe that you can trample over the right of the Palestinian people and then carry on with business as usual.

      • The young Palestinians who take part, who actually live here, obviously do see the positive side to these joint activities.
        And what makes you think that I think it’s “business as usual”? If you’d taken the trouble to read my answer to Greta, above, maybe you wouldn’t make such foolish comments.

    • Lateral Thinker says:

      Israelis who were driven out of Arab countries have shown a readiness to cooperate culturally with Arab countries. And when you say “steal their land” do you mean individual parcels of land appropriated from absentee landowners? Or are you still perpetuating the myth that there was once a state called “Palestine”?

    • M.Rosen says:

      You seem somewhat blunt.Even in England we are not quite so rude… it’s much more complex than that,,, seems like you don’t want peace here!Forgive me.I am descended from the Vkings and we are extremely outspoken.That’s my story and I am sticking to it.a little courtesy in human relationships always helps even if you disagree with the other person

  6. Erika says:

    Great post. It’s a pity the quality of the video-clips isn’t better though.

  7. DrRosen says:

    Yes,Daniel Barenboim has done good work there.We saw him last year here for the London Proms

  8. Carolyn says:

    Wonderful! It gives hope! 🙂

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