Matisyahu to Perform at Jerusalem Music Festival, Fresh Off Controversial Spanish Concert

Jewish-American reggae singer was temporarily removed from bill after pressure from BDS movement, but eventually performed after international outrage.

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Jewish American singer Matisyahu at the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae festival after BDS dis-invitation rescinded August 22, 2015.
Jewish American singer Matisyahu at the Rototom Sunsplash Reggae festival after BDS dis-invitation rescinded August 22, 2015.Credit: AFP

Jewish American reggae singer Matisyahu will perform at the Jerusalem Sacred Music Festival this Friday, September 4, at the Tower of David in the Old City, as part of the festivities closing this week's festival 

Matisyahu is coming specially to Jerusalem to perform in the festival at the end of his European tour, the festival organizers announced. The reggae singer, whose real name is Matthew Miller, will perform along with Israeli hip hop artist Shaa'nan Streett from Hadag Nahash and other guests. 

The only problem for Matisyahu fans is that all the tickets for the closing performance have already sold out.

The Sacred Music Festival is part of the Jerusalem Season of Culture, which was initiated by the Schusterman Foundation-Israel in cooperation with the Jerusalem municipality and the Jerusalem Foundation. 

Matisyahu said on the festival's Facebook page that the festival is proof that music needs to and can always rise above disagreements and conflicts. He added that he hoped and believed that the answer to those who choose the way of violence and boycotts will come from Jerusalem; and he was excited to join in the musical prayer coming from Jerusalem. 

"Matisyahu will join the closing celebration of the festival in order to sing together with us and with local musicians  of all religions songs form Jerusalem," said the festival organizers. "Songs that believe in the ability of music to unite all people."

Matisyahu, who fuses reggae, hip-hop and rock with Jewish influences in his songs, was disinvited from last week's Rototom Sunsplash festival when he failed to reply to a demand to clarify his position on Palestinian statehood. 

Organizers were forced into a U-turn after an outcry, with the Spanish government and Jewish organizations condemning the decision, and invited the artist to play on the last night of the week-long festival. He performed to catcalls from some pro-Palestinian protesters, though the concert passed peacefully after a tense build-up. 

Earlier this week, Matisyahu condemned the attempt to "coerce (him) into political statements" and said politics played no part in his music.  He said he felt threatened and unsafe on stage.

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