Israel’s Latest Music Sensation—Miqedem
By Sarah Ann Haves
A unique group of talented musicians, who play both in Israel and the nations, has hit the music scene with a new sound. The band is called Miqedem, which in biblical Hebrew means, “from the east.”
Based in Tel Aviv Israel, and formed in 2015, Miqedem musicians started their band by writing, recording and performing their own original Middle Eastern music with lyrics taken from the Hebrew Tenach (Old Testament).
In early 2016, they created their first album in a small basement recording studio that they rented in South Tel Aviv. They completed that first project without any outside funding, using their limited equipment, as well as other gear they borrowed from friends.
In May 2016, that first album was released by Miqedem, independently, and now they are on-the-road playing in worship settings, and sharing their passion for rhythms and biblical lyrics that are part of their Israeli culture and the regions beyond.
The group is playing the music they love, reaching hearts with the ancient sounds of Hebraic melodies. So far, they have shared their new music not only throughout Israel, but also in the Ukraine, France, Poland, Sweden, Germany, England and the United States.
|They take the original words
of scripture…meditate on it
until it is second nature…
The response has been positive, as Miqedem band members inspire others by singing biblical texts, while incorporating Israeli rhythms based on regional cultures and traditions.
One method that helps them in creating new music and songs is that they take the original words of the scripture, memorize a certain passage, and meditate on it. They repeat it over and over again until it becomes second nature. Then, they start to feel the beat, the kind of rhythms that work, and the poetry of the vocals come. The structure begins to form, resulting in several verses of a song developing.
Jamie Hilsden, leader of Miqedem, explains that the first verse comes easier than the rest of the verses. But eventually, the song is completed. He is often looking for parallels that exist in how Hebraic words are expressed biblically, that compare and contrast. He also digs for the deeper meanings in scripture.
Hilsden spoke to this writer about a song he shared two years ago, “Kol Haneshama,” when he was involved in a special project. It had a unique drum rhythm to it. The music, itself was western, but the drum beat was eastern. It opened up different kinds of sounds for him, “sounds I was familiar with all my life, but we had just never used them before in the congregation.” Hilsden said it has a kind of freshness to it, especially with the various percussions used.
Hilsden sings vocals and plays guitar. His partner, Yaron Cherniak, shares the vocals with him, and plays several authentic Middle Eastern instruments.
While Hilsden writes the songs, Cherniak makes sure that the distinctive melodies Miqedem creates stay within the biblical traditions of the east. Cherniak has a degree in eastern music, and is working on his masters now. He understands that kind of ancient composition, while Jamie brings the pop music background, which helps westerners enjoy the blend that is uniquely, Miqedem.
Shai Sol is the only female singer in the group. She plays guitar, and percussion instruments. Other band members are Vadym Sokolyk on bass, and Gabriel Elbaz on drums.
The purpose of the band coming together has been simply to get their inspiration from the people and ethnic groups around them; then, make music and worship God; using the Hebraic scriptures in song. This has been particularly interesting for native-born Israelis who are able to enjoy the music experience as part of their own culture.
|Young adults in their 20s
and 30s are starting to
appreciate the eastern sound…
It seems, however, that the under 18 group in Israel still identifies with Hilsden’s previous music style which was based more on rock. But, young adults in their 20’s and 30’s, both in Israel and abroad, are starting to appreciate the new harmonies that Miqedem brings.
According to Hilsden, “I like it all. And, when I go back and just want to enjoy music, my default is still western music. It is still where I come from. It’s my default form of music. But, as far as trying to create something new and fresh, we look to the east.”
After 2 years of composing new scripture based songs, the band is now planning to record a second album. Already, they have written songs and started the pre-production process for the new album. They hope to do the final recording by the end of 2017.
Hilsden gives a further explanation to the vision of the band members. He explains that in the Torah, “the story of redemption is from the east. Abraham was called out from that same part of the world to go to a land prepared for him. The story of redemption is the story from the east… Miqedem.”
“Declaring the end from the beginning. And, from ancient times, things which have not been done, saying, ‘My purpose will be established, And I will accomplish all My good pleasure.’ Calling a bird of prey from the east, the man of My purpose from a far country. Truly I have spoken; truly I will bring it to pass. I have planned it, surely I will do it.” Isaiah 46:10-11
(c) 2017 Messianic Vision all rights reserved. This article is not reproducible except with permisson from Messianic Vision.
Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. Copyright ©1979, 1980, 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Ms. Haves is a news analyst, reporting on political, diplomatic, military and spiritual issues in Israel and the nations.