HEARTBEAT unites Israeli and Palestinian youth to build critical understanding and transform conflict through the power of music. Founded in 2007 under a grant from Fulbright and MTV, Heartbeat creates spaces and opportunities for Palestinian and Israeli youth musicians to build critical awareness, respect, and trust while harnessing creative nonviolent tools for self-expression and social change. Over 100 youth musicians from Haifa, Jerusalem, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Bethlehem, Hebron and Ramallah have participated in Heartbeat retreats, workshops, camps, field trips, overseas exchanges, and the development of ensembles within our local, city-based chapters. All Heartbeat programs are over 95% scholarship-based, ensuring equal access to all.
Heartbeat’s Core Program: Artist & Ensemble Development in Local, City-Based Chapters
Heartbeat’s core program focuses on the establishment and facilitation of ensembles of young Arab and Jewish, Palestinian and Israeli musicians (ages 14-20 years old) who come together weekly for sustained music based dialogue programs in Haifa and Jerusalem. During these weekly sessions, Heartbeat youth explore each other’s cultures and narratives through a critical pedagogy in music education enabling creativity and . Developing skills in improvisation, song-writing, performance technique, music theory, communication, and leadership while engaging in dialogue about their daily lives and the conflict that surrounds them, participants raise their critical consciousness, and harness their agency to change the status quo in and between their communities.
Supplementing the weekly meetings, Heartbeat also leads retreats numerous times each year. Taking place in a neutral environment away from the participants’ normal routines, these formative experiences enable participants to connect with their fellow band members on a deeper level through facilitated music activities and group dialogue. Offering three or more days of dedicated time, retreats also provide an invaluable space for the creation and improvement of compositions and arrangements.
Audio and Video Production
Heartbeat staff members, who are trained dialogue facilitators and professional musicians, manage programs and also professionally record the youth musicians’ music and produce music videos to amplify youth musicians’ voices to the wider community. Heartbeat youth musicians’ original compositions and music videos have been downloaded or viewed by over 98,000 people worldwide.
Heartbeat currently facilitates two local, city-based chapters: Heartbeat: Haifa, created in partnership with the Beit HaGefen Arab-Jewish Community Center in Haifa, which brings together Arab and Jewish high-school aged musicians from the Haifa area; Heartbeat: Jerusalem, which brings together Israeli and Palestinian high-school aged youth from West and East Jerusalem to meet at the Willy Brandt Center in Jerusalem. The Heartbeat Graduate program (ages 20-24) supports Heartbeat youth musicians and youth ensembles entering the next phase of their lives post-high school to continue their music and media co-creation in an equalizing safe space.
For more information about each of these local, city-based chapters and the Heartbeat Graduate Program, please visit their page:
Performances & Workshops (Local)
After months of composing, rehearsing, dialogue, and raising critical consciousness, Heartbeat ensembles offer performances and workshops throughout their own communities through “the Mic is Stronger” tour, performing in schools, community centers, and music venues, spreading awareness, mutual-respect and inspiring thousands. Since December of 2011, Heartbeat ensembles have performed and led workshops for over 6000 people.
Performances & Workshops (International)
Heartbeat has now held four tours in the United States, aiming to amplify the voices of the silent majority of Palestinians and Israelis who yearn for a safe, equitable future. Ensembles of Heartbeat’s Arab and Jewish youth musicians (ages 18-24) have traveled from Boston to Washington, DC for more than 30 performances reaching over 9,000 individuals through live performances and millions through social and traditional media. In the US, Heartbeat’s youth musicians have performed at the US State Department, for members of the US Congress, and at over 30 universities, including Harvard, Yale, American, Middlebury, and Georgetown. Thanks to these tours, the Heartbeat youth members’ music and messages have been further amplified to influence millions of people around the world by news agencies including Al Jazeera, the BBC, CBS, PBS, Voice of America, and The Washington Post, among many others.
For other news reports about Heartbeat from PBS, The Washington Post, The US State Department, and Al-Jazeera, please click here.
Since 2010, Heartbeat has engaged in international exchanges with arts organizations from Germany. In 2010 Heartbeat and the Willy Brandt Center co-produced the Hip Hop Hudna (ceasefire), which brought together Israeli, Palestinian and German musicians and rappers for a week in Jerusalem and a week in Berlin, where participants explored the histories and present day realities of each city, wrote and recorded original music, and performed together. The exchange enabled the production of Heartbeat’s second album,“True Love,” as well as the production of Heartbeat’s second music video, “Boom Boom Boom.” The project was sponsored by the Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future (EVZ) . The project won the 2010 Europeans for Peace award for “Project of the Year.”
In 2012, Heartbeat, the Willy Brandt Center, ActiveVision, and Addictz, e.V. produced “The Borderline Remix: A Hip HOpera” on migration and the human right of asylum. This first ever Hip HOpera of its kind united Palestinian and Israeli youth musicians from Heartbeat, young Sudanese refugee film-makers living in Tel Aviv, and graffiti artists and break-dancers from Mannheim, Germany. Working together long distance over the course of six months, and then in person for a week in Jerusalem and a week in Mannheim, this team of over 20 artists co-wrote and performed the Borderline Remix for a packed audience in Mannheim, Germany. The project was again sponsored by the Foundation for Remembrance, Responsibility, and Future (EVZ), and won the Europeans for Peace award for Project of the Year in 2012. In 2013, Heartbeat, ActiveVision, Drei Wünsche Frei, and Addictz e.V., produced the follow up to their 2012 Hip Hopera, The 99% Remix, with the support of the Anna Lindh Foundation. The new Hip HOpera expanded upon the previous year’s work, uniting Israeli, Palestinian, Sudanese, and German musicians, dancers, film-makers, and graffiti artists in the creation and performance of an original Hip HOpera exploring today’s realities and each person’s power to create a better future.