Israeli singer Yair Levi recently released a new song titled "Jerusalem" - a newly orchestrated version of Psalm 137: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem."
According to Levi, "I suddenly realized that it’s a sentence we all know, the sentence is actually about music and the singing of the Levites. The people of Israel were in exile in Babylon, and the Babylonians asked them to sing for them the hymns that were sung in Solomon’s Temple.”
“The Babylonians must’ve known that the music Jews sang there was like nothing else in the world,” he added. “The people of Israel and especially the Levites didn’t want to sing songs for Zion on foreign land, and so they sang about Jerusalem."
Levi also added, "As a member of the Levi family, the Tribe of Levi, I couldn't ignore the fact that people are unaware of this. I decided to release the song in a new version. For me, the song is a closure, as a Levite singing the song in its original meaning in Jerusalem."
In recent years, Levi has been performing in many countries in front of diverse audiences. "It’s part of my story - in the past two years, I’ve been on an incredible journey around the world, seeing people of different faiths than mine, who listen to the music I create. There are so many things we disagree on, and on the other hand, we also share much in common,” he said.
“When I go on tour and meet with world leaders, I always say: Let's focus on what we have in common. There are enough voices out there pointing out how we’re different. It gives me a lot of hope that people from all over the world can come together and set aside their differences. I see it every day on my social media page and during shows."
"Unlike other artists who get recognized on the street all the time, it's different for me,” he added.
“It happens in Israel too, but rarely. My audience is scattered all over the world. Just a week ago, I was performing in front of a large Christian organization that came from dozens of countries to visit Israel.”
“I began singing, and everyone started singing together with me, word by word, in Hebrew and in English, and they didn't let me leave without taking photos."