Alpha Blondy, the reggae singer known for his song Jerusalem will be performing in Jerusalem this month at the second annual Zion Reggae Festival. Israeli musicians have covered "Jerusalem" as well. Blondy's album Jerusalem was released in 1986.
His song Masada deals with the mountain in Israel where Jewish freedom fighters held out against the Roman legions and ultimately committed suicide rather than be raped and enslaved by the Romans. His lyrics state, "I'm going to sleep by the Dead Sea... I'm going to walk up to the top of the rock of sacrifice... witness the rising sun from Masada."
Alpha Blondy was born Seydou Koné in the French-speaking African country of Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast). His mother was Muslim and his father was Christian. The singer uses Hebrew in several Israeli themed songs, although most of his material covers different subject matter such as African political issues.
Another performer at the festival will be Barrington Levy, a singer from Jamaica. Levy has been a well-known reggae performer since the late 1970s. He has a hit in 2000 with the rapper Shyne. Today Shyne goes by the name Moshe Levi and studies at a yeshiva in Jerusalem.
The two reggae stars are among the many top-selling acts to pass through Israel on concert tours. The past several years saw such stars as Madonna, Leonard Cohen, Lady Gaga, Ozzy Osbourne, Justin Bieber, Paul McCartney, the Black Eyed Peas and others visit Israel.
Three popular Israeli groups, Shabak Samech, Hatikva 6, and Zvuloon Dub System will also perform at the Zion Reggae Festival. Shabak Samech began their career in the early 1990s pioneering a fusion of metal and hip-hop with some elements of reggae. Their most recent album came out in 2008. Hatikva 6 and Zvuloon Dub System both perform reggae in Hebrew.
The concert will be in Jerusalem's Sacher Park on August 28th. Last year Ziggy Marley was the keynote performer.
The show will also be included in the itinerary of the Jerusalem Music Conference sponsored by the Jerusalem Municipality, The Foreign Ministry, JVP Media and others. The organizers of the conference have invited 500 music industry professionals from around the world to meet local talent and experience the thriving Israeli music scene.