Thousands of Brazilians trill along with Israeli initiative Koolulam
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Thousands of Brazilians trill along with Israeli initiative Koolulam

Mass singing initiative reaches South America for the first time, after giving audiences ‘collective catharsis’ throughout Israel and in other countries

The Israeli initiative Koolulam practices with a Brazilian audience in Sao Paulo near the Estaiada Bridge, December 1, 2019. (Shahar Reznik/Koolulam via JTA)
The Israeli initiative Koolulam practices with a Brazilian audience in Sao Paulo near the Estaiada Bridge, December 1, 2019. (Shahar Reznik/Koolulam via JTA)

SAO PAULO, Brazil (JTA) – Thousands of Brazilians, Jews and non-Jews, on Sunday joined a popular Israeli musical event held for the first time in Latin America.

Some 3,000 people gathered at one of Sao Paulo’s main symbols, the Estaiada Bridge, to sing as part of Koolulam, the infectious initiative that has garnered over 50 million views on YouTube.

“It’s a collective catharsis. Without exaggeration, we can say that Koolulam’s presentation is a life experience,” producer Jussara Gontow told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency.

The show includes a mass rehearsal led by a conductor of one song, performed by the audience, which receives music sheets with the lyrics and is divided into different voices. The performance is filmed, edited and made available for free on the internet.

That moment… as you walk through the crowd of Koolulam participants, when you suddenly realize that they’re all…

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Yaron Eigenstein‎‏ ב- יום ראשון, 1 בדצמבר 2019

“Koolulam’s main goal is to bring together strangers who have no singing experience and provoke an innovative, creative, sensory and unforgettable musical moment. Children, youth, adults and the elderly become artists,” Gontow said.

The Brazilian audience sang “Tempos Modernos,” or “Modern Times,” a famous Brazilian song from the 1980s composed and sung by Lulu Santos.

“Participants go through a creative process surrounded by a sense of unity and belonging rarely achieved in our daily lives,” conductor Ben Yaffet said.

Koolulam is a mashup of the English word “cool,” the Hebrew words “kulam” (everyone) and “kol” (voice), and “kululu,” the celebratory ululation of Middle Eastern and North African Jews.

Established in 2017, Koolulam has been performed in Israel, the United States, Canada and South Africa.

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