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Blues For Peace

Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle

Peaceful' Blues in Cyberspace

By Ruth Eglash

It's not surprising in today's electronic age that former Milwaukeean John Mayer has managed to build an entire community in cyberspace connecting thousands of people from all over the world. It began with a love of blues music and desire to make peace in Israel, where Mayer now lives.

More than a year and a half ago Mayer, a marketing director at a Tel Aviv high-tech firm, launched a website he called "Blues for Peace" (www.bluesforpeace.com). The original site listed blues bars, concerts and events in Israel, along with discussions and reviews of the music Mayer has always loved. According to Mayer the concept of an international community of blues lovers in cyberspace "just took off".

"Blues for Peace" features letters, poems and art work expressing grass-roots blues philosophies from every corner of the globe. This extensive correrspondence brings people together from rival nations out of a shared love of blues. Mayer believes that by putting his passion for blues music online, he can bring people together in an attempt to achieve peace.

"Blues is the international language of peace," said Mayer, adding, "I get letters from Arabs playing blues, from people in Brazil and Hong Kong who want to sit down together and play." In Israel, says Mayer, there is a thriving blues and folk-music scene that allows Jewish and Arab musicians to jam together spontaneously.

Mayer, however, sees his site as much more than a way of bring conflicting peoples together. He also believes Blues for Peace" can provide useful resources to groups and individuals looking for ways to actuate peace. The site links to a growing number of other websites such as Nisan, a young woman's leadership group tht promotes peace between Jews and Arabs in the Middle East. Mayer said the representatives of Nisan contacted him through the website looking for ways to advocate their cause and to brainstorm about fun ideas for a joint event.

He also mentioned Peace Action Milwaukee and said "These are grass roots peace efforts, blues can be a wonderul way to change the environment. Blues music represents real-life sturggles - drugs, alcohol abuse, poverty, problems between him and her - but it is also joyful music ... It is something that connects people who are struggling and helps them to over come their problems."

Mayer's daugher, Yonat, recently made aliya and hopes to continue her father's work in bringing blues to Israel.

© 1999, Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle


Copyright 2003 Blues for Peace Corporation