Radiohead undergoes Middle Eastern makeover

Tel Aviv musicians’ cover of the UK band’s hit single ‘Karma Police’ is a viral sensation.

Think of UK alternative rock band Radiohead and then think of the sounds of an oud and ululating trills. Two Tel Aviv musicians have wed the popular electronic rock band’s mega-hit “Karma Police” with Middle Eastern beats to create an extraordinary rendition of the 1997 song.

For vocalist Rotem Shefy and cellist Leat Sabbah, it started as a one-off satirical cover. Seeing they were onto something good, they say, they then produced “a full-blown multi-layered middle-eastern arrangement, recorded with oud player Yaniv Taichmann, percussionist Ori Dekel.”

It wasn’t long before the duo turned to Kickstarter, the world’s largest funding platform for creative projects, to raise funds for their own video clip.

On their campaign site, Sabbah – a Manhattan School of Music graduate – and Shefy – a singer-songwriter in Tel Aviv – describe themselves as “two ladies, in a city, in the world, making music, with a dream.”

That dream was a new rendition of Karma Police. Their karma was obviously working in their favor.

About Viva Sarah Press

Viva Sarah Press is an associate editor and writer at ISRAEL21c. She has extensive experience in reporting/editing in the print, online and broadcast fields. Her work has been published by international media outlets including Israel Television, CNN, Reuters, The Jerusalem Post and Time Out.