One of the tools Liraz Levi likes to use to introduce Israel and its diversity to Americans is its culture, and specifically its music. Here’s his list of five favorites he would recommend as an entry to contemporary Israeli music.
1) Hatikva Shesh. “They’re doing reggae music, the first Israelis to do it. They started in 2007. They got really successful this past year. The most famous song from this era is ‘The Most Israeli,’ which talks about all the small Israeli things that make you the most Israeli,” Mr. Levi said.
2) Cafe Shachor Hazak. The band’s name means “strong dark coffee” and it consists of two Ethiopian cousins.
“They started working two years ago. Last year there were protests by Ethiopians about human rights, a few months after what happened in Ferguson, Missouri. Their music was released during those protests,” he said.
3) Amir Benayoun. “When it comes to Mizrachi music, he is really classic, really authentic. He has a great voice. In the last year he started expressing his political views, which I think makes music less good. Most of his songs from the last 10 years are really good.”
4) Shlomit Jersey. “She got famous a few months ago on X Factor Israel. She’s part of the Chabad movement. She was secular and today’s she’s charedi. She sings a lot in English.”
5) Dudu Tassa. “He’s a well-known singer, musician, and composer. He started working in the early 2000s, doing rock music. For the past few years he’s combining his family background from Iraq, where his grandfather was a really famous singer, with his rock music.”