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Archive | 2012 | January | 17

Tel Aviv announces arts weekend

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January 17, 2012
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Festival to be held March 21-23 featuring 24-hour art marathon, large-scale Lady Gaga-themed dance event, spectacular open-air show

Tel Aviv will kick off Art Year, a year-long series of art-centric events, exhibitions, conferences and workshops, with the first-ever Arts Weekend, on March 21-23, 2012.

The festival will feature a 24-hour art marathon at the Tel Aviv Museum of Art and a large-scale Lady Gaga-themed dance event featuring members of the Bat Sheva Dance Company.

In addition, there will be a spectacular open-air show showcasing music, films, dance and visual art pieces created by artists from Israel and around the world.

For more information visit:www.artyear.co.il

Source: Ynetnews.com

Israeli PM Netanyahu Wishes the Chinese People a Happy New Year of the Dragon (Some Mandarin!)

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January 17, 2012
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He’s fluent in Hebrew and English, and now he speaks Chinese too: Prime Minister

In a video posted on YouTube, the PM wished the Chinese people a happy New Year in Mandarin, and also expressed his hope for closer relations between Jerusalem in Beijing.

Israeli ‘to-do’ app voted best app of 2011

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January 17, 2012
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Downloaded over 500,000 times in the first month the new Any.DO app is getting a lot of attention in the tech world.

Ever feel frustrated over the way you organize your to-do’s? Tangled in a web of post-it stickers hung around your office? There might be some hope yet. Any.DO, an Israeli social to-do app that organizes user’s tasks in new and creative ways, has been voted best Android app of 2011 by Techcrunch.

Like other to do apps, Any.DO includes the basics, like adding tasks, marking them complete, and setting priorities. But it does a number of other things which make it stand out from the crowd. For example, you can create tasks using voice command and you can use gestures to manage your tasks like drag-and-drop for assigning task priorities or organizing tasks into folders or swiping to mark tasks complete. You can also shake your phone to clear off the completed tasks from the screen. In addition, it syncs with Google tasks.

But Any.Do’s most intelligent feature is its auto-complete. When a user starts typing a new task, the app offers to auto-complete entries. Much like Google, the user is able to choose from the different suggestions. The list is easy to use and tasks can be dragged down from day to day, or copied.

Any.DO also lets you share a task, which means others can edit the note and complete it. This allows users to team up on tasks with family and friends – in some ways replacing group texting or e-mail threads.

Any.DO, created in 2011 by Omer Perchik, Yoni Lindenfeld&ItayKahana, was downloaded over 500,000 times during the 30 days following its launch. It was recently voted be best android app for 2011 by Techcrunch, followed by Lightbox and Amazon MP3.

The app has an average 4.5 star rating out of more than 7,000 ratings. According to theAny.Do team, so far 2.5 million tasks have been added, with more than one million completed. There is an average of 100,000 tasks added every day, and 50 percent are added by voice command.

Full story via JPost

Black Guru: One of Israel’s newest bands was born in a jail cell in Gambia

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January 17, 2012
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Black Guru mixes African instruments with guitar and saxophone for a sound that’s far from conventional.

One of Israel’s newest bands was born in a jail cell in Gambia.

Ben Aylon and Yair Hashachar, two 24-year-old high school friends from Ramat Hasharon, were detained by Gambian immigration police during a trip to Africa several years ago and held in custody for four days. While behind bars, they decided to establish Black Guru, a band inspired by African music.

They got out and toured Gambia and Senegal, studying beats favored by members of the Mandinka and Wolof tribes. When they returned to Israel, they worked on arrangements and melodies. Their first album is called “Offbeat African Music,” which is also how they refer to their musical style.

Black Guru’s next performance is Saturday night, at Tel Aviv’s Haezor club.

With a nod to other forms of music that originated in African culture, Hashachar said the band’s goal is to familiarize Israelis with the kind of music he and Aylon studied in Africa.

“Well-known musical styles have roots in African cultures,” he said. “This is true, for example, of jazz. Blues also emerged out of Africa, owing to slaves who were sent to the United States and South America.”

The band, which was founded in 2010, might launch a joint musical initiative with members of the African migrant worker community in Israel.

Strings out of fishing rope

Aylon is the percussionist. Recently he has been studying the ngoni, a small wooden string instrument made out of a gourd covered by goat skin. The strings are made out of fishing rope.

In addition to the traditional percussion, Black Guru also plays Western instruments. Hashachar and Aylon’s brother, Ian, play guitar, and the band also includes jazz musicians in their 20s: Yehonatan Cohen and Itamar Shatz on saxophone and Guy Levi on contrabass. Yet their instrumental style is far from conventional.

They play jazz works, like John Coltrane’s “Your Lady,” arranged in their own distinctive neo-African style. They also play new arrangements of popular African songs.

Aylon and Hashachar developed a passion for jazz while studying in the music track of Ramat Hasharon’s Alon High School, and they joined forces due to their love of African music, including by artists from Mali such as Ali Farka Toure and Tinariwen, a band of Tuareg-Berber musicians.

Five years ago, they studied under Sabula Bangoura, a prominent musician from West Africa who established an African dance and percussion group in the northern Israeli town of Karkur.

Aylon said enthusiastically that he also studied with the “most famous musical family in Senegal.”

This is the family of Doudou N’Diaye Rose, 80, who sired a 43-member musical dynasty, all of whom perform with him on stage.

He composed Senegal’s national anthem, and wrote a number of well-known songs; he has played with Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie and Peter Gabriel.

Source: Haaretz.com