My ears are still ringing from last night's gig. Ethnix drew on 20 years in the business to put on an excellent, crowd pleasing performance, mixing old familar songs with new material.
Rock 'n' Roll
My first experience of the band came when I was in Israel for a year between school and University when probably their best known song "Tootim" (Strawberries), a song of hope, was getting major airplay. At one point during the year, I was based in Yeruham, a development town in the South and they played a concert as part of the summer holiday entertainment arranged by the local council.
The next time I saw Ethnix was in a very different context; I spent most of April 2002 sitting in Bethlehem as part of Operation Defensive Shield. When we folded up and headed back to our base, they came and played a concert for us and some of the other units. We were buzzing; thrilled that it was all over and the tension and stress suddenly released. We must have been a surreal sight; guys in uniform, M16s on our backs, hugging and dancing.
Ethnix have been one of Israel's biggest bands for years; their frontman Zeev Nechama looks more like a cab driver with a comb over than a rock star but over the years he has melded a unique sound of pop, dance and mizrachi music. The presence of many other musicians, most prominent amongst them Sarit Hadad, Izhar Ashdod and Kobi Oz (Teapacks) shows just how influential they are.
The crowd was a real cross section; after abandoning my seat amongst the older generation in favour of the sand dance floor in front of the stage, I found myself dancing with a youngish crowd but with many older faces thrown in; from black kippot to Arsim, long skirts and head coverings to tummy tops and tattoos, orange t-shirts alongside Shalom Achshav. Hands in the air, swaying to the music with the Old City walls as background - a great start to Yom Yerushalayim.