System Ali hip hop band from Jaffa, Tel-Aviv

System Ali on Shtetl

Click play button at bottom of page to hear this episode.

A few weeks ago I met with Neta Weiner, a singer and accordianist in System Ali.  At the time he was beatboxing with three young Ethiopian Israelis who he mentors at The System Ali House where members of the System Ali band work with youth from all backgrounds on music and self-expression. (For fun, check out the short rehearsal clip below for the teen group. They call themselves BYT).

Weiner is one of 10 members of System Ali, a hip-hop band which has it’s roots in the culturally diverse Jaffa neighbourhood of Tel Aviv.  They originally met in a bomb shelter and they rap in Arabic, Hebrew, Russian and English- the mother tongues of the band members.  How do young people from such different backgrounds, dealing with racism, struggling with each others’  legitimacy, and encountering regular violence, create music that “sounds like home” to each of them?

Listen to this episode of Shtetl on the Shortwave to meet Neta Weiner and hear the sounds of System Ali.  (And on the 2nd half of the show, the amazing African-American, Yiddish-loving, ex-opera singer Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell.)

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