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Australian music video goes viral in support of Israel

Ruby Kraner-Tucci
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Sydney-based klezmer fusion band Chutney band members

Members of the Sydney-based klezmer fusion band Chutney. Image supplied.

Published: 13 December 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Jewish band Chutney’s debut single and accompanying music video, made to express solidarity with Israel, has been viewed more than 350,000 times. RUBY KRANER-TUCCI speaks with band leader BEN ADLER.

A montage of Israel images produced in the wake of October 7 has turned the video of Sydney-based Jewish band Chutney’s debut song into an internet sensation. The video received more than 350,000 views on Instagram in its first week.

The release of Chutney's cover of the Hebrew pop anthem Kama At Yafa was originally slotted for early next year, the band decided to bring it forward to send a message of support to Israelis.

Chutney’s band leader and violinist Ben Adler, 31, says the song is intended as a “gift from Diaspora Jews to Israelis” and aims to contribute to the war effort by boosting morale and expressing solidarity.

“When the war broke out, we were reading over the translation again, and we realised the lyrics were highly pertinent,” Adler explained.

“They essentially can be read from the perspective as a psalm or prayer in a contemporary secular sense for the Jewish people, and particularly Israelis and those families with hostages or who’ve lost loved ones, to be strong and to have hope.

“The chorus means “do not fall, do not break, come back” and we've specifically tied those moments to images of the hostages [in the video], but also the reference to the soul of the Jewish people and their resilience.”

Originally written by Kobi Aflalo and popularised by Shiri Maimon in 2012, Chutney’s cover of Kama At Yafa is over six-minutes long and contains new sections of music, including instrumental solos. The version accompanying the viral music video is a condensed three-minute “radio edit”.

"Music strengthens, it uplifts, it galvanises, it gives us space to mourn or grieve, and it also provides catharsis and empowers."

Ben Adler, Chutney’s band leader and violinist

While Adler says he knew the song would carry “universal appeal”, he has been surprised by the strong emotional response many have had to the music video, which features real-life footage of the Diaspora standing with Israel and reacting to the events of October 7.

The final iteration of the music video follows six drafts that attempted to balance the positive messaging of empowerment and hope with the distressing nature of the current situation facing Jews around the world.

“We made it for every Jew and every Jewish ally… and it's a big honour as a musician to be able to present something that moves people emotionally. It's the highest point of what we can do as musicians, and right now as Jewish musicians,” Adler said, giving credit to pro-Israel education organisation Stand With Us, which shared the video with its community on social media and increased viewership.

“The Jewish world has always known that the intersection of Jews and music is a strong one… Music strengthens, it uplifts, it galvanises, it gives us space to mourn or grieve, and it also provides catharsis and empowers.

“When the community is processing such trauma and such a dark, difficult time, I think [music] is absolutely critical.”

Formed in 2020, Chutney is a six-piece klezmer fusion band that draws on the Eastern European and Middle Eastern Jewish heritage of the band members to create modern music traversing a range of genres. Their debut album will be released in March 2024.

About the author

Ruby Kraner-Tucci

Ruby Kraner-Tucci is a journalist and assistant editor of TJI. Her writing has appeared in The Age, Time Out, Law Society Journal and Dumbo Feather Magazine. She previously reported on the charity sector as a journalist for Pro Bono News and undertook internships at The Australian Jewish News and Broadsheet Media.

The Jewish Independent acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of Country throughout Australia. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and strive to honour their rich history of storytelling in our work and mission.

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