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Songs for peace

Teen music sensation from Israel Liel Kolet comes to India to perform and rediscover her Indian roots

Photo: V. Sreenivasa murthy

Flavours from Israel Singer Liel Kolet raises millions of dollars for peace efforts

Liel Kolet has an Indian connection. The 18-year-old singer who has sung with former US President, Bill Clinton, and President of Germany, Horst Kohler, reveals that her surname comes from village Koleti, a village near Alibag on the western coast of Maharashtra. “My grandfather was an Indian and lived in Koleti. I had heard very little about the place from him but I was curious to know more. I saw the property where my father lived and discovered an old family member. The whole experience was spiritual,” says Liel who performed in Bangalore with her five-member World music band. Liel is the official ambassador for the North of Israel, the UK-based charity institution “Children of Peace” and the American organisation “Seeds of Peace” which is supported by Bill Clinton. Her song “Dream of tomorrow” is the anthem of Children of Peace. While Children of Peace works towards building peace and friendship between Israeli and Palestinian children, Seeds of Peace does workshops and summer camps for teenagers from the Middle East. “As a child, I grew up witnessing war, violence and loss and these children are also seeing that. Children are innocent and they can make the change. The last war was a year ago between Israel and Lebanon. I live in an area which is close to the border. Every time there is a war, we have to hide in the bunkers,” she says. Living in a strife-torn country, she says it becomes essential and natural for her to talk about peace and hope in her music. Her first album Kineret Child released at the age of 13, had a song “Prayer”, for families who had lost loved ones in the wars. “Lot of artistes sing of peace and harmony but mine comes from heart because it is all so real for me,” says Liel who has been invited by the Pope to perform on May 29 in Rome.

However, not all Liel’s music is about war. Her latest album, Be Free, features fun songs. “There are songs about taking it easy. My music is meant for people for all age groups. I do rock/pop and strong ballads with a middle-eastern feel.” Liel has composed and written half of the songs. Apart from drums, bass, guitar, piano, percussions, Be Free features the oud for a Mediterranean feel. No stranger to celebrity, in Berlin, as Liel sang “Imagine”, Scorpions’ lead singer Klause Meine joined her on stage. On Shimon Peres’ eightieth birthday, a 14-year-old Liel sang “Imagine” with Bill Clinton and 80 Jewish and Arabic children. “Bill Clinton and President Kohler sing from their hearts. Performing with all these people, I get to live my dreams. I remind myself that we are all human beings.”

Liel counts Celine Dion among her favourites. “I like Celine Dion because she is a real singer. If you go for her concerts, it is not about a big show. It’s purely for the sake of music. I like Bono too because of the way he supports charitable causes.” Returning to her Indian roots, Liel signs off with, “I am taking a few CDs back with me. I might have Indian music influences in my music soon. I love the sound of sitar.”

SHAILAJA TRIPATHI TANEJA

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