Music that Changes Lives

The Shalva Band is comprised of 8 talented musicians with disabilities and performs to the highest musical standards by invitation at cultural venues and dignitary events throughout the year. Inspiring crowds with its musical repertoire and charm, the band is one of Shalva’s most celebrated inclusion programs.

The band members are employed by Shalva as musicians and they also study, work, and volunteer in the broader community. Some of them are graduates of Shalva’s rehabilitative programs and their musical talents were discovered and developed through Shalva’s music therapy program. What began as a unique outlet for talented Shalva program participants in 2005, has developed into a model for cultural inclusion and continues to impact audiences and musicians throughout Israel and beyond. In addition to being a delightful and inspiring musical experience, the band’s performances shatter attitudinal barriers, causing mesmerized audiences to believe in human potential and dignity.

Dare to Dream

The Shalva Band performed on Season Six of The Rising Star in Israel. The winner of the reality TV contest represents Israel at the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv (no pressure at all! 😊 ). The band were a firm favorite of judges and audiences alike and reached the finals.

Hundreds of thousands of people tuned into the popular broadcast to watch their performances. They received the highest of grades by judges and audience members alike, often 95% and up and clips of their performances went viral as they won the nation’s hearts.

The band respectfully withdrew from the competition at the final stage for reasons beyond their control. The Shalva Band made an unbelievable impact by their participation in the competition. They united a country, and world, in support of inclusion. They moved a world community to tears, performance after performance, who were rooting for them to succeed – and succeeded they did.

Their performances changed how millions of people view and embrace disability. They strengthened children and families to believe in their amazing potential and have proven to the world that people deserve to be judged and celebrated for their abilities.

The Shalva Band to Perform at Eurovision

The Shalva Band has been asked to perform at the Eurovision opening performance in Tel Aviv and represent the best part of Israel. Their performance will be broadcast live and seen by 150,000,000 people around the world. The 2019 Eurovision theme “Dare to Dream” could not be truer, the band dreamt and achieved big dreams and surpassed every expectation – creating new standards from which we will all benefit for years to come.

Meet the Shalva Band Members

Anael Khalifa  I  21  I  Lead Singer  I  Sightless from birth
With her perfect pitch, comes perfect memory.
Anael has been known to learn and memorize lyrics in foreign languages and deliver excellent performances of songs she has heard for the first time only hours before a concert.

Tal Kima  |  22  I  Percussionist  I  Down syndrome
When on stage, Tal often uses sign language to convey the lyrics to people who cannot hear: “This is how I can help others enjoy music. When I play music, I have no disabilities”.

Dina Samte  |  21  I  Vocalist and Ukulele Player  I  Sightless from age six
I teach kids how to ride a bus, how to ask for directions and help, what to do when you get flustered and confused: things I had to learn myself as a blind person.”

Yair Vomberg  |  29  I  Percussionist  I  Down Syndrome
He would like to go on playing with the band, he says with a huge smile, “Since my other dream of being prime minister is a little too far-fetched”.

Yossef Ovadia  |  21  I  Percussionist  I  Williams syndrome
Yossef sings liturgical texts and prayers at his neighborhood synagogue and plays the piano, guitar, xylophone, and drums.

Guy Maman  |  31  I  Pianist and Background Vocalist  I  Partially blind
Guy is a graduate of the Jerusalem Academy of Music where he majored in Composition and a certified music instructor who enjoys working with young children.

Sara Samuels  |  20  I  Guitarist and Background Vocalist  
Sara considers each member of the band, “Part of my extended family; people who will always find ways to overcome difficulties and disabilities, as hard as it may be, and triumph with a smile and a song”.

Shai Ben Shushan  |  37  I  Musical Director  I  Veteran 
Shai founded the Shalva Band thirteen years ago after studying both music and behavioral sciences. To him, the Band is a living proof of abilities, talents and dreams realized”.

About Shalva

Shalva, the Israel Association for Care and Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities provides an all encompassing range of services for thousands of people with disabilities from infancy to adulthood and their families. Shalva’s comprehensive life-cycle programming provide leading-edge therapies, inclusive educational frameworks, social and recreational activities, employment training and independent living, as well as respite and family support. Shalva gives equal access and opportunity to all participants regardless of religion, ethnic background, or financial capability.

The Shalva National Center’s advanced programs and facilities create new frontiers in disability rehabilitation, research, and inclusion; defining new standards in the field and impacting the world beyond those in Shalva’s direct care.

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