Last Friday, May 27, students around school picked up their barbeque lunch and headed to the theater to listen to a group of wounded Israeli soldiers named 9 Lives play loud and happy Israeli songs.
The manager of the band, Raz Hagag, studied music in high school but was forced to abandon his passion for music upon joining the army. Hagag went on to become a lawyer, but left his practice soon after in order to pursue a career in music as the 9 Lives band manager.
“The connection I have with these guys is very special. We play music and face the challenges that life gives us, together. The bond that these guys have with each other is what inspired me the most,” Hagag said.
The 9 Lives band stems from an organization called Hope for Heroism, which helps to raise money to provide aid for wounded Israeli soldiers like the band’s members. Though the group plays to raise money for the organization, Hagag and his band hope to branch out and do more independent concerts.
“Right now we are trying to be an independent band. Hope for Heroism was our home, but we are like a child that has to move out of his parents’ house. My goal is that each of the band members will make a living out of it,” Hagag said.
Hagag compares his experience in the army to the way his band performs during a concert. The amount of focus and preparation for a concert is similar to preparation for combat. The reason for this, Hagag says, is that the band was created because of the members’ experiences in the army.
The songs that they write are based off of, but not limited to, these experiences in combat.
“Like any artist, we get our inspiration from experiences in life. Since we were in the army, some of our songs come from there, but we also sing about love and relationships,” Hagag said.
Here’s a quick biography about each band member:
The performers in the band include Dekel Darahani, who served in the Golani Brigade, and Shlomo Gvili, who plays bass and sings despite losing two fingers on his left hand while serving in the Gaza Strip, earning him the nickname, “8 finger.”
The band also includes Matan Benayahu, the vocalist, who survived 14 bullet shots while serving as a paratrooper.
Shay Ben Shushan, the drummer, lives in Jerusalem and was injured while serving in the “Duvdevan” special unit in Jenin.
Yariv Peled, the guitarist and vocalist, served in Special Forces and was injured during the early nineties in Gaza.
Ofer Meyer, a guitarist and vocalist, lost sight in his right eye during Reserve Duty in the Second Lebanon War.
Netanel Reuven, who does percussions, served as a combat medic and was injured while serving in the reserve in the Gaza Strip.
Amit Brakin, the video artist, was injured during the Second Lebanon War, when three anti-tank missiles hit his tank.
“Hopes for Heroism was our home, it was where we grow,” Hagag said.