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Blues For Peace


Summertime Blues

Faith, Hope & the Blues

Kol Ha Ir (Jerusalem)

By Hadara Lin Ardi

Johnny Mayer sends a message of world brotherhood through blues from his website. He also has a suggestion - 'play music instead of shooting.'

Blues for Peace is a movement that begins with one person, that is holding a special program today at theYellow Submarine called "Faith, Hope and the Blues". The man behind this blues is Johnny Mayer from Milwaukee,WI father of Liat and Yonat. He will be accompanied by the Yitzhak Yedid Quartet with Yitzhak Yedid, piano, Yulia Feldman, vocals, Assaf Hakimi, bass and Ronen Yitzhak, drums.

Mayer, an internet expert, works for a living at internet marketing. He is a bluesman in his soul, or as he likes to put it, "the Hoochie, Coochie PR Man." He grew up in the turbulent 1960’s, in a traditional family and was drawn to Chicago blues.

He got the Israel bug after meeting a couple of pretty girls at a Young Judea meeting. "The minute I walked in the door, I saw the two most beautiful girls I had ever seen in my life standing there and playing guitar, so I stayed with Young Judea until I was seventeen and wound up in Jerusalem."

Mayer fell in love with the country, but returned to finish a degree in Hebrew and Music education at the University of Wisconsin. In 1975, he returned to Israel and taught music in Or Yehuda on the Sherut LaAm program. He also met Shlomo Artzi and was invited to perform with him in the 1976 Israel Song Festival. "I lived in student quarters in Ramat Aviv and Shlomo would come by every more at 10:00 AM to rehearse."

Meantime he got married, spent ten years in the US and in 1988 returned to Israel with his two daughters. He became a music teacher and then the idea of blues as a music- social framework began to grow.

"It started with a dream  I had on Kibbutz Gonen in 1970 … I was asleep in a dorm room when all of a sudden soldiers burst into the room and starting shooting at us. Instinctively I reached in to my shirt pocket, took out my harmonica and threw it at the soldiers." The dream has stayed with me and I feel that Blues for Peace helps me share the dream with people all over the world through the website.
What is our blues? "Our blues is the history of the Jewish people. Blues is not just feelings of loss and suffering, but like music itself, its' also the joy."

The "Blues for Peace" website is in fact very simple, clean, free of gimmicks, a bit scattered and very eclectic. A kind of link between Mayer’s dream and a search for peace in general. In that spirit, the site offers a strange mix of blues mp’s, a few words on famous people starting with social activists, through musical idols (Jimi Hendrix) and to writers and poets (beat generation mostly).

It also contains pages about Afro-American history, Mid-East peace efforts and the ecology. Despite the unusual mix, the site receives thousands of visitors each month.

Mayer. "Isn’t it time people stopped fighting and learned to play twelve bar shuffles instead?" Seriously, why didn’t we think of this before?

‘Faith, Hope & the Blues’, Yellow Submarine, Friday, 12:00 PM.
December 1, 2000 translated from Hebrew
2000, ITome Yerushalim -  All rights reserved

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