Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Israeli Hip Hopper goes big time

What is a nice Jewish Israeli girl doing with a bunch of L.A. rappers and hip hop artists? Why she's making a lot of money with them – that's what! Miri Ben Ari began playing the violin when she was a young girl, and more recently switched from classical music to more interesting melodies like gospel, rhythm and blues and jazz after going to America following advice from local entertainment personalities who said that her music style was something that would have more possibilities in the USA.

But what has really given her career a boost is her connection the black American music community, especially the one performing the new hi hop style of music. In fact, her career has done so well that she recently won a Grammy award for her music and has put out a best selling CD entitled The Hip Hop Violinist. "I was introduced to this kind of music by the pop star Wyclif Jean, and also received a lot of assistance from another well known artist Jay Z, who introduced me to the black community".

She won her Grammy award for her performance with the rapper and record producer Kayne West.

Miri is very enthusiastic about her association with the black music community as she is able to relate to them very well, despite being from Israel. "Many blacks are evangelistic Christians who are very pro Israel" she says. Despite the fact that Miri lives most of the time now in the USA, she is very proud to tell people that she is Israeli; and she has recently been involved in performing special music to commemorate the Holocaust. Some of her music, used in the recent Hollywood movie The Freedom Riders, was honored by the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum in Jerusalem. Mir recently visited Israel and made several guest appearances, including one on the morning Channel 10 talk show. She is very proud that her music is connected with helping to create more awareness about the Holocaust.

Her music will be featured in special events connected with Israel's upcoming 60th anniversary celebrations and she is now working on a new music album as well as providing background music for a "come back" album by pop music icon Donna Summers. She has also performed in campaign promotions for Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

"As a woman, I would love to see a woman president, although Barack Obama is also very capable" she said.

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