Press Coverage - Jewish Telegraph
Music producer Rob Cowan first went to Israel when he was 18 on a year-course with Habonim Dror.
“I was always very pro-Israel, but I was not always aware of the political side of things,” Cheadle-born Rob told the Jewish Telegraph.
But the 43-year-old learned more as he got older and four years ago set up a project to show that music can overcome conflict between Israelis and Palestinians.
Rob, whose mother Cynthia and brother Edward live in Bowdon and Didsbury, is using his London-based Point Blank music college to engage young people from Israel and the Palestinian Authority and bring them together through music and film-making.
He said: “This is not some big political gesture. I am not a politician and do not profess to know everything, but I do knowthat the power of music can bring teenagers from both sides together.”
The two-week project, which kicked-off yesterday in Tel Aviv, sees the group of Israelis and Palestinians sharing every moment of their lives.
The group will record an original track and make an accompanying music video to explore issues relevant to their lives and experiences.
And the resulting music video will be disseminated via television and the internet to reach a worldwide public.
Windows for Peace, which promotes dialogue between Palestinians and Jews, is involved, as is music production tutor Mohammed Nazam, the founder of London-based multifaith band Berakah.
Rob’s career in music began when he moved to London to read psychology at City University.
A keen bass guitarist since childhood, he landed a record deal with Sony and played in numerous bands — including Ricky Gervais’ Savage Hearts. He also played with Hall and Oates, the Stereo MCs and Bobby Womack, as well as forming his own band Honeychile.
But it was while recording music that he became seriously interested in the technical side.
Rob, who is married to former Eastenders actress Tracy-Anne Oberman, recalled: “I really wanted to get into music production and I started working with the likes of Blur, M People, DJ Sasha and D:Ream.”
He set up Point Blank in 1994 and offers training courses to disengaged teenagers in London. Rob added: “It is for young people who are interested in music, media and the arts, but who cannot afford to do a lot about it.
“We work with various youth access organisations to make sure they are engaged and can afford to do our courses.”