Your New Israeli Playlist

Music is in many respects the best way to internalize the feel of a new country. From political lyrics to local videos, consider music to be your most reliable guide. Starting off Tabula Rasa’s new series, titled “Your New XXX Playlist”, this first installment is an overview of some prime Israeli bands. Do you want to share music from your hometown or country? Be sure to send a message!

  1. Hadag Nahash

Hadag Nahash (translating to “Fish Snake”) has a long reputation as one of Israel’s leading hip-hop bands. Singing primarily in Hebrew, Hadag Nahash manages to convey serious political and topical social concerns via catchy lyrics and funky beats. Where possible, do try to find English translations to the hits – Hadag Nahash provides insight into the concerns of the liberal left (think marijuana legalization and demilitarization). Their music videos are also worth a viewing, with many showing vibrant scenic views of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Hadag Nahash also often features many classic Israeli artists, adding traditional flavor to their modern sound.

  1. Hatikva 6

Hatikva 6 (“Hope 6”) can best be classified as pop reggae with a pumped up youthful edge. Hatikva 6 also jams primarily in Hebrew, and their lyrics too tend to focus on current affairs and social frustrations. However, this depth does not get in the way of their music festival vibes – Hatikva 6 can be heard in the background of many a club and trendy restaurant. Their music videos again are interesting for the colorful visions they provide of Israeli city living. With catchy beats and repetitive riffs, Hatikva 6 has a sound that is sure to have you busting a move.

  1. Idan Raichel Project

Musician Idan Raichel’s latest venture, the Idan Raichel Project, presents a sound that is decidedly unique, bringing together Hebrew, English, French and Arabic. Raichel has often elaborated on his musical interest in the fusion of different cultures that is so characteristic of Israeli society. With discerning lyrics and the incorporation of a wide variety of musical undertones, Idan Raichel’s work is an experiment in intersections. Raichel successfully manages to combine the musical traditions of Ethiopian, Moroccan, and Yemini societies into something that is entirely new. Raichel’s work has spread beyond the confines of his home country, with frequent tours sharing his influence throughout Europe and the United States.

  1. Jane Bordeaux


Jane Bordeaux’s “Ma SheHashuv” has already been reviewed on TR, and for good reason – the band would add a relaxed sense of ambiance to any musical collection. Jane Bordeaux, based out of Tel-Aviv, describes their sound as “Americana Hebrew Folk Country music”, a mixture that one would be pressed to try and conceptualize. Yet with their quirky lyrics and melodic vocals, the group manages to achieve this objective wholeheartedly. Jane Bordaux is indie to the max, yet their inimitable musical approach can hardly be considered anything but “alternative”.


  1. Balkan Beat Box


Balkan Beat Box (also known as BBB) draws inspiration from many of the sounds associated with the Mediterranean and Eastern Europe. As is indicated by their title, BBB is deeply influenced by the sounds of the Balkans, yet this regional sound is only the tip of the iceberg. It is the true power of BBB that the group can take Latin American cumbia, punk rock, jazz, and add a sprinkling of electronic tunes to make something that sounds addictively good. BBB often embraces the power of music as a means of expression, communicating through sound the conflicts of their wide spread origins. BBB’s music has been sampled by a wide variety of artists (including Jason Derulo’s Talk Dirty), and been included in various video game soundtracks (FIFA 10 and 17).

Noga Amiri, Class of 2018, is a literature and art history major from Hilversum, the Netherlands.

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