Abigail Klein Leichman
October 3, 2017, Updated October 19, 2017

The Shalva Band, a Jerusalem-based group comprised of young musicians with disabilities, released its first professional music video ahead of its world tour to Canada, the United States, Mexico and the United Kingdom in October and November.

The band members are employed as musicians by Shalva,  the Israel Association for the Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. They also study, work and volunteer in the broader community.

Some are graduates of Shalva’s rehabilitative programs and their musical talents were discovered and developed through Shalva’s music-therapy program.

The band was founded in 2005 as a unique outlet for talented Shalva program participants and as a model for cultural inclusion.

Current lead singers Dina Samte and Anael Khalifa are blind. Samte was chosen this year to light a torch at the Israel Independence ceremony on Mount Herzl.

Naftali Weiss, who has PPD, is the male lead singer and percussionist. Keyboardist and vocalist Guy Maman, a graduate of music composition at the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, is legally blind.

Yosef Ovadia, who has Williams syndrome, is the lead drummer and Tal Kima and Yair Pomburg, both with Down syndrome, are supporting percussionists. Pomburg also is a rapper.

The new video features a medley compiled by band director Shai Ben Shushan, combining Matisyahu’s “One Day,” Frozen soundtrack hit “Let It Go” and a handful of pop songs – all in English and all filmed in the new Shalva National Center in Jerusalem, the world’s largest facility of its kind.

The video ends with an adlib rap performed by Yair Shriki, a young man with cerebral palsy who sings about climbing higher and higher on the wheels of his disability.

During the upcoming tour, the band will be accompanied by six staff members and volunteers including the band director, music therapist and a paramedic-audio visual specialist.

The Shalva Band is scheduled to perform at Shalva fundraisers in Toronto, New York City, Mexico City and London, as well as at schools, JCCs and other venues. To book a performance, contact band@shalva.org.

Learn more about the band here.

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