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Israel

Published on June 19th, 2016 | by Gary Cardinez - Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

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Pan for Peace in Israel

It is very obvious that the national musical instrument “steelpan” is under- utilised in the land of its birth. Apart from the pan camps and National Panorama competitions, which determine the best playing steel orchestras in the land, there is nothing. Sorry, I missed the fact that Pan Trinbago takes the steelpan to some people with their Pan in the Country series but this pales in comparison with the latest initiative I discovered last month. I can call names that you cannot pronounce, names like Roten Pick, Yahli Segev, Saleh Shanawi, Yuval Azrad, Dror Cohen Sefer and Ziv Meir and tell you they are associated with pan and you might think I am going off. But the truth of the matter is they all belong to a steelband called Peace Drums SteelBand.

The main aim of this steelband is “peace making through music” in Israel, yes, war-torn Israel. The people associated with the steelband project speak about it with a passion. Yet, not one member of the judiciary has seen it fit to sentence anyone to a life of music, pan music if you may. The steelband yards/theatres are peaceful places in TT. The Peace Drums Steel Band was founded by the Peace Drums interfaith initiative in Delaware, USA. It promotes reconciliation and peace among Jewish, Muslim and Christian youth in the Galilee region of Israel also by building trust that will continue into the future and touch many people.

The genesis of this band took roots in 2011 when the clergy of Delaware Churches for Middle East Peace and four Delaware rabbis- Orthodox, Reform, Conservative and Reconstructionist met to exchange views regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict. They then began to explore how they might collaborate locally to promote peace in their shared Holy Land. An interfaith committee was formed to develop a peace-making project with Israeli and Palestinian youths. They enthusiastically adopted a model created by Professor Harvey Price in 2007, when he formed steelbands in Israel with Jewish Ethiopian youths. This concept was wholeheartedly embraced as a way to foster co-operation, build trust and nurture reconciliation and peace among Jewish, Christian and Muslim youths through teamwork and music.

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