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