Keri Guten Cohen
Story Development Editor
Music can be so inspirational. There is power in the lyrics, in the rhythm and in the delivery. Such music can lift the soul of a nation.
That’s what Israeli musicians Michael HarPaz and Shi 360 had in mind when they collaborated on a video of HarPaz’s song, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” and posted it to YouTube on July 20.
Composer HarPaz is a former Detroiter and Hillel Day School graduate who hit it big in Israel as part of the boy band, Hi 5, in the 1990s. He has gone on to score movies, write chart-topping songs (and even Jewish cantorial compositions) and become a prominent commercial jingle writer, actor, husband and father. He lives in Tel Aviv, and still has family in Metro Detroit.
Shi 360 is from Montreal, Canada. He came to Israel on a Taglit Birthright mission and decided to stay. He has become one of the most successful hip-hop artists in Israel, performing, writing and producing some of the biggest rap hits there, both for himself and for the band, Subliminal.
“I met Shi 360 while performing at a Taglit Mega Event in Israel about eight years ago,” HarPaz said. “He heard me singing ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’ one day and fell in love with it. He is known as a ‘socially conscious rapper,’ that is, his style and his themes are always about bettering humanity, society, etc.
“Anyway, we got in the studio a while back and started working on the song and filming the process as we went,” HarPaz said. “The clip is basically a montage of us producing the song as well as performing at Mega Events, our own concerts as well as some footage of him on tour both in the U.S. and Canada.
“When the war started and missiles started falling here in Tel Aviv, I called him up and said, ‘Brother, now is the time.’ We put the video up on the Net to give a little hope, a little ray of sunshine and morale to everyone involved in this terrible, terrible conflict.
“When things like this happen in Israel, artists, including Shi and I, often volunteer to perform in the bomb shelters in the South or for victims of terror,” HarPaz said. “Putting this out there is another way of expressing our love and gratitude to the IDF and the brave men and women who defend us day after day, night after night.”
Shi 360 was totally on board with posting the video for the same reasons.
“When I heard Michael singing that hook originally, I was immediately inspired to write something,” Shi 360 said. “It was one of those moments where everything just naturally flows. I have been doing hasbara (Israeli advocacy efforts) through music for the past 10 years, all over the world. And this song for me sums up the Israeli mentality in hard times — yihye beseder (everything is gonna be alright). It’s a common answer you hear from most Israelis — very cliche and yet so true and powerful.”
HarPaz adds that this message in this context and in these “insane/crazy” times is reminiscent of the famous Yoram Gaon song, “Ani Mavtiach Lach” (“I Promise You”), written during the Sinai campaign in 1956.
“In this song, Gaon sings to his daughter and promises her that this will be the last time he has to leave to go to war, the last time all the fathers will go to their tanks and planes, that this will be the last time,” HarPaz said.
“Much in the same light, ‘Everything’s Gonna Be Alright’ is the message we sing to our children as we hold them in the bomb shelters or the stairwells or, as I did the week before, crouching over my 4-year-old on the side of the freeway by an embankment waiting for the sirens to stop as the explosions overhead shook us to our core.” ■
To see the video “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright,” go to http://bit.ly/1r63WeA.