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Zvuloon 18.25

Israeli reggae artists Zvuloon Dub System play GLC Friday



WHO: Zvuloon Dub System feat. Dr. Watson, with Giraffe Aftermath


WHEN: Friday, June 24, 9:30 p.m .


Zvuloon is, according to the Books of Genesis, one of the Twelve Tribes of Israel. It's believed that the tribe's name, taken from its founder, is a metaphor for the harmonious nature of the tribe with the 11 others.

So too could this be said of the Zvuloon Dub System, the Tel Aviv-based reggae band, who in their early days would practice on a Tel Aviv street called Zvuloon. Neighbours would shout words of encouragement from the surrounding windows, spreading peace around the street.

As the band members grew more focused on the music and the message they were sending, they thought back to that time in the street, keeping in mind that tribe that is so engrained in their history, and called themselves Zvuloon Dub System.

"We bring a message of peace and love. That's what we write about. That's it. It comes from a lot of things. We grew up in Israel and that's it," says Ethiopian-born singer Gili Yalo.

He says that the Tel Aviv reggae scene is very small and tight-knit. Everyone knows everyone and in a country dominated by Arab pop, they play anyway, for the pure love of the music. In a nation rife with conflict, Zvuloon's audiences are small but dedicated, eager to find some solace or share a similar perspective that peace is a real possibility.

Zvuloon is at the top of their game in Israel, drawing large crowds to rock music festivals that typically showcase a variety of musical styles.

"If you do your stuff good, it don't matter if you're doing rock or pop, as long as you play it good, people will enjoy the music," Yalo says.

Theirs is rooted in the golden age of Jamaican Reggae, harking back to the Bob Marleys and Peter Toshs while drawing from Israeli, Arab and Ethiopian influences along with Western rock and funk, even doing a cover of Jimi Hendrix's "Voodoo Child."

But at the heart of it all is traditional roots reggae, played by eight Israeli who are deeply influenced by the beat of African drums and sensimilia smoke, issuing to the world a message of peace and redemption through love.

They've taken some time off from recording their debut album to play their first-ever shows abroad - four shows in B.C.'s rain-soaked south-east corner, including a headlining gig in Whistler.

"It's a wonderful place. I like the people, I like the nature," Yalo says of his first stop on the tour. We have just arrived in Victoria and seen the view from the ferry. It's wonderful. People here look happy." The band has been so impressed that one member is considering moving here permanently.

And so the now-popular image of a battling Israel melts away when speaking to Yalo, revealing a thread binding all people - love and appreciation for one another, regardless of who you are or where you're from.

This is a staple of reggae in general, and Zvuloon Dub System's music in particular, that has been inherited from, among other places, an ancient Israeli tribe that, it's been said, carries in it's name a legacy of harmony and compassion

The first 100 tickets, available at the GLC, are $10. After that they are $12.