Celebrating the connection and diversity of the world's cultures through music and dance, Israeli American Keshet Chaim Dance Ensemble, African American Lula Washington Dance Theatre, and multi-ethnic, interfaith Agape International Choir join together for a cross-cultural evening under the stars. Also featuring guest artists Israeli superstar Harel Skaat, making his Los Angeles debut; R&B singer Abraham McDonald, whose victory on the first-ever Oprah Show Karaoke Challenge earned him an exclusive contract with the Island Def Jam Music Group; and legendary female rapper MC Lyte, RHYTHM & ROOTS: A Benefit Concert takes place on Sunday, August 28 at 7:30 pm at the Ford Amphitheatre. All proceeds from RHYTHM & ROOTS will go to support Children Uniting Nations, an organization that brings attention to the plight of at-risk and foster youth, and Keshet Chaim's youth education programs, which serve to eradicate ethnic and cultural barriers through the arts.
Diverse as the RHYTHM & ROOTS artists might seem on the surface, they all share a communal mission to bring peace and healing to the world through their art.
"We're thrilled at this opportunity to share the stage with such varied and talented artists," enthuses Keshet Chaim executive director Genie Benson. "This collaboration is taking root in a real way that is greater than the sum of its parts. We are not just a group of artists coming together for a single performance. We are actively working to create connections, striving to cross barriers through music and dance not only on stage, but in the rehearsal room and in our personal lives as well."
In that spirit of collaboration, the Lula Washington Dance Theatre will perform a piece from the
Keshet Chaim repertoire; Israeli hip hop choreographer Gitit Kohavie is creating a new dance specifically for MC Lyte's live performance; and Israeli choreographer Kobi Rozenfeld (best known for his recent choreography for Beyonce's world tour) is developing an original piece to be danced to a song by Harel Skaat. Keshet Chaim and the Agape International Choir previously collaborated at the Ford last summer, and Def Jam recording artist Abraham
McDonald just returned from a concert tour in Israel.
Keshet Chaim (Hebrew for Colors of Life) is an American Israeli contemporary dance company dedicated to celebrating the inclusive spirit of Israeli culture and Judaism throughout the world.
Influenced by world music, the multi-ethnic roots of the Jewish people, and a constant drive for interpreting and exploring Jewish values through art, Keshet Chaim serves as both a repertory ensemble for traditional dance forms and a laboratory for contemporary work. Keshet Chaim founder and artistic director Eytan Avisar conjures the colors of Jewish life and culture with vibrant storytelling and choreography, creating an emotional connection to the people of Israel and their sacred roots.
The internationally acclaimed Lula Washington Dance Theatre is a Los Angeles-based repertoire dance ensemble that performs innovative and provocative choreography by Lula
Washington, using dance to explore social and humanitarian issues including aspects of African-American history and culture.
The multi-ethnic Agape International Choir, under the direction of Tim McAffee, is the core music ministry of the Agape International Spiritual Center. Agape Choir music is known for its signature sectional harmonies, counterpoint tempo-patterns, devotional power, and energetic enthusiasm. The "sound" of the Agape Choir, from the power of a cappella prayer to rousing rhythmic celebration, has had a national and international reach.
Making his first Los Angeles appearance, Harel Skaat is an Israeli singer and songwriter first discovered on "A Star is Born," the Israeli version of "American Idol." His self-titled debut album,
Harel Skaat, went platinum with five chart-leading hits, and his second album, Figures, went gold. In May, 2010 he represented Israel in the Eurovision Song Contest, winning all three Marcel Bezen Awards for the first sweep in the contest's history.
R & B artist Abraham McDonald has toured the nation with Anthony Hamilton, Kem and
Raheem DeVaughn, among others. Best known for his hit single, "Miracle," Abraham recently returned from his "Love Music is Back" tour, making fans all over Israel in Nazareth, Tel Aviv-
Yafo and throughout Europe.
Two-time Grammy nominee MC Lyte was one of the first female rappers to address the sexism and misogyny that often runs rampant in hip-hop, tackling the subject head on lyrically in her songs while opening the door for such future artists as Queen Latifah and Missy Elliott.
Founded to protect children who lack a voice, Children Uniting Nations is a proactive nonprofit organization created to bring attention to the plight of at-risk and foster youth and put an end to the cycle of abuse.
Through its educational programs, Keshet Chaim teaches students about cultural understanding and tolerance, breaking down ethnic and cultural barriers among youth and building bridges through the arts. A non-profit 501© 3 organization, Keshet Chaim is part of the
Los Angeles County Arts Resource Guide and is an Arts Partner with the Los Angeles Unified School District.
RHYTHM & ROOTS takes place on Sunday, August 28 at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $75, $100 and $150. The Ford Amphitheatre is located at 2580 Cahuenga Blvd. East, off the 101 Hollywood freeway across from the Hollywood Bowl and south of Universal Studios. The Ford is disabled accessible. Portable wireless listening devices are available upon request. The Ford offers a number of dining options: a variety of food and beverages is available on site and box dinners for evening events may be ordered in advance. Picnicking is encouraged. For more information and reservations, the public should call the Ford Theatres Box Office at 323-
461-3673 or go to www.FordTheatres.org.