Live Israeli music returned to St Kilda’s Memo Hall this week

March 10, 2022 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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After numerous cancellations due to COVID-19, including one cancellation only hours before the musicians were set to go on stage in October 2021, “Kaveret Hozeret” finally took place at Memo Music Hall in St Kilda on Wednesday and Thursday evening, presented by Habayit, Zionist Federation of Australia (ZFA) and Zionism Victoria.

The performances, which featured the greatest hits of much-loved Israeli band “Kaveret” were the brainchild musician Simon Starr and Habayit coordinator Hallely Kimchi, who have been working on this particular project for over two years after the group performed hits from the classic album “sipurei pugi” in 2019.

Habayit is the ZFA’s home of Hebrew and Israeli culture. Habayit has traditionally run various events featuring guest speakers, Israeli films, art exhibitions and musical performances all with the aim of bringing Hebrew and Israeli culture to the wider Jewish community. With COVID restrictions and lockdowns over the past few years, the activities of Habayit have mainly been online, the most successful of which has been the transition of weekly Hebrew classes, which saw an enormous increase in community participation.

But for close to two years, concerts and other large gatherings have been almost impossible to organise. That is why, when the first chord was played at the “Kaveret Hozeret” concert, coordinator Kimchi could finally breathe a sigh of relief. And even still, the production was one man down after one of the group’s lead singers, Ohad Rein was unable to make it down to Melbourne from his home in Mullumbimby due to the floods plaguing Northern NSW and Queensland.

Kimchi opened the show by paying tribute and sending her love to friends and families living in affected communities up north and confirmed she still plans to take the show up there later this year. Kimchi also dedicated the performance to the people of Ukraine and sent a message of peace and unity.

And with the formalities out of the way it was time for the band, comprising musicians Lior Attar, Simon Starr, Adam Starr, Jonathan Skovron, Scott Griffiths, Tony Floyd, Matan Franco and Itai Franco – to start.

On a balmy Melbourne evening, you really could have been mistaken for thinking you were in Tel Aviv. Band members recounted the stories behind the classics, effortlessly alternating between Hebrew and English.

Kimchi said, “as a proud Israeli, my goal is always to bring a little slice of Israel to Australians, and music is such a beautiful way to bring people together. We had an easing of capacity limits just days before the performances and the ability to see the smiles on everyone’s faces, it was amazing to see so many people, from all different parts of the Jewish and Israeli community, and different demographics too, coming together to enjoy the heart and soul of Israeli music! From those that grew up with the tunes of Kaveret blaring in the background from their parents to those who were hearing these tunes for the very first time, it was an honour to be a part of bringing back live Israeli music in the heart of Melbourne!”

ZFA Communications Director Emily Gian added, “that truly is the magic of ‘Habayit’ – transporting the audience to a different place and immersing them in a feeling that has been missing for two years, while providing a true “home” for everything this community loves about Israel. Now more than ever – when travel to Israel is only just back on the cards – this concert was the perfect way to strengthen the community’s connection not just to Israel but to the beautiful intricacies of the Hebrew language through music.”

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