A lot can be said about the magic of music. How it can bring people together, especially when the world feels like it’s falling apart.
Since the Hamas terror attack on October 7, music has been a comfort for many. For Israel-based social music initiative Koolulam, whose mission is to “harness the power of musical harmony, and use it to inspire harmony in humanity”, group singing helps create a cultural bond, offering hope to all those who sing and to those who listen.
Which is why they made it their mission to use song as a call to arms to free the hostages.
“We connected with the families of the abductees and together with them we want to do what we know best, which is to sing together and create a human harmony that asks the whole world to stand under a clear message: return the innocent citizens, children and elderly to the empty beds in their homes,” Koolulam said in a statement.
Communities around the world, including from Sydney and Melbourne, have joined families of the hostages to record the same song, Madonna’s Like A Prayer. All the videos have been compiled together into a single video, which was released on social media earlier this week.
The new arrangement, which was put together by Koolulam conductor Ben Yefet, has rock and gospel themes.
A group of 225 people from across the Sydney community came together a couple of weeks ago at Dudley Page Reserve overlooking the famous Sydney Harbour, led by singer and strategy executive and career coach, Tamara Samuel.
“I heard about the Koolulam initiative on Friday, October 28. They had given themselves and Jewish communities globally only a week to complete the project given the urgency to free the hostages. I was exhilarated at how easily the community responded to our WhatsApp callout for singers, how they taught themselves the music over a weekend, and how quickly and willingly others jumped on board to lead this grassroots project. We recorded the song on Monday, three days after we received the music,” Samuel said.
The other team leaders included musicians Hylton Chilchik, who conducted the piece, and ELC manager Leah Reid, who coached the singers. Videographer Jonny Wolman made the recordings, DJ Haim Ayalon managed the sound and lighting and Ruttie Munoz gave graphic design support.
“They put all other commitments aside to leap in and make this happen,” Samuel said.
In 90 minutes, as the sun set over Sydney Harbour, the song was recorded and sent off to Koolulam.
Melbourne’s Tonia Plack-Barolsky told The AJN that she was looking for ways to help following the devastating October 7 attacks. Within 24 hours of hearing about the idea, Plack-Barolsky had received the security and council approval, and put the wheels in motion to hold the event at The Bandstand in Caulfield Park.
“I loved the idea of providing people in Melbourne with a safe space to come together in song – to raise our voices for the hostages and to heal the world through harmony,” she said. “I anticipated 50 people might show up, but 10 times as many came.”
In Melbourne, other team leaders included conductor Anthony Goldman, lead singers Olivia Harrison and Jordan Zdimirovic, Corey Fooks Productions and Tomato Recording Studios on the production side with equipment support from Danny Olesh, Ofer Sayag, Joel Kuper and LOEV, and videography and photography by Yoav Yona, Peter Haskin, Henry Greener and Joel Barolsky.
“It was heartwarming and hopeful that so many people, of different faiths and political persuasions, were inspired to join in.”