THE ISRAELI MISSION MAKES HISTORY AT THE UN WITH A CONCERT BY ISRAELI POP ICON RITA, SINGING IN BOTH PERSIAN AND HEBREW FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER IN THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY HALL.
by Irith Jawetz, reporting from the UN Headquarters in New York.
On March 5, 2013 the Permanent Mission of Israel to the UN has hosted a special event and first of its kind in the UN General Assembly hall – a concert by the world-renowned Israeli-Iranian singer Rita Yahan-Farouz. The performance was titled “Tunes for Peace” .
Among the attendees were Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, General Assembly President Vuk Jeremic, ambassadors, celebrities, and Jewish and Iranian community leaders.
The stage, which usually serves as a podium for the top diplomats conducting world affairs was transformed into a full fledged “Music Hall” with music instruments, amplifiers, lights and two big screen TVs.
H.E. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was the first to speak and he started his speech by greeting everybody with the Hebrew word “Shalom”. He said there is no room like this one and it serves to seek peace among nations, preserve Human rights, but sometimes also for concerts. He praised Rita for her desire to reach many cultures through her music, connect people and he hopes this concert will inspire people to strive for peace, justice and Human rights. He thanked the Government of Israel and especially Ambassador Rom Prosor for enabling this important event.
The next speaker was H.E. Mr. Vuk Jeremic, President of the 67th Session of the UN General Assembly. He also thanked Ambassador Prosor and mentioned his personal special friendship with the Ambassador. He announced that he will be going to Israel soon and will be visiting Yad Vashem, since a few members of his family, who saved Jews during the Holocaust will be honored as righteous among Nations. This announcement brought a huge applause from the audience. He mentioned that music has a very important tool for connecting people and nations since biblical times. Music is a universal language and he shares Rita’s hopes that it will bring cooperation between nations.
H.E. Ambassador Ron Proser, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, thanked Secretary General and Mrs. Ban for hosting this important event and said that although Mr, Ban is sometimes soft spoken his voice is being heard around the Globe.
He continued by saying that the events in this hall are not always harmonious, but today Rita will make sure her music will bring everybody together, and he was proud to be her “opening act.” In conclusion he said that there are usually many rules in this Hall, but not tonight. The audience may get up and sing along and shake the room. His speech brought the audience to their feet.
After the speeches the General Assembly Hall transformed completely and the concert began. Rita came on stage and the audience welcomed her with huge applause. She has a terrific personality and projected it throughout the whole evening.
Rita and her nine-piece band performed her popular hits in both Hebrew and Persian from Rita’s latest album, “My Joys.”
She sang one song in English which was called “Time for Peace.”
The album, which has received widespread international acclaim, interweaves the Iranian melodies of Rita’s childhood with the rich tapestry of contemporary Israeli music. She introduced herself by saying that she was born in Tehran and emigrated with her parents at the age of eight. She credited her mother for her remarkable singing career by telling us that her mother used to sing the whole day long, even while cooking or doing chores around the house.
Rita mentioned that she hopes that her UN concert, “Tunes for Peace,” will build bridges, foster inter-cultural dialogue, and connect people to people – the very foundations upon which the United Nations was established.
The concert lasted about an hour and brought the hall to its feet. The audience definitely following Ambassador Proser’s closing words in his speech ”Let’s Rock the Hall”.
Let us all hope that politicians will follow Rita’s example!
Some of our older postings on RITA in NEW YORK:
Feb 22, 2013 – Matthew writes: Israel Plans UN Concert by Iranian-Born Singer Rita, … the Viva Vox choir, invited to perform a concert at the UN by General …
Nov 14, 2012 – RITA from Israel, last Sunday night at the Town Hall in New York City, … Such as In 2006, Rita put on a show called One (in English) which ran …