August 16, 2010
Posted in Alumni News, Arts & Culture
Russell Gotschalk (C'07), an Atlanta-born musician, filmmaker and producer, is taking the Atlanta Jewish cultural scene by storm. A Hillel-organized Birthright Israel trip in winter 2006-07 inspired Russell to get more involved in the Jewish community. During his senior year, he began to work for the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival and continued working there post-graduation. A die-hard music lover, Russell noticed a major cultural gap in Jewish Atlanta: where was the music?
In 2009, Russell established the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival (AJMF), which launched in June 2010 with a sold-out live show featuring four oustanding Jewish music groups at the Apache Cafe in downtown Atlanta.
During the development of AJMF, Emory Hillel director Michael Rabkin asked Russell to take on a special project that would bring fresh and hip Jewish music to our local college campuses and begin to raise visibility for AJMF in the community.
Thanks to a special grant from the Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and support from the Consulate General of Israel to Atlanta, Hillels of Georgia hosted an Israel hip-hop & raggae duo for a two-month residency this past spring. AXUM, the latest international musical sensation out of Israel, is the collaboration of two young Jewish Israelis: Tedross, an Ethiopian Israeli and Judah, a Yemenite-Moroccan Israeli. They have taken the Tel Aviv dancehall scene by storm and have even appeared in a recent promo for a popular Israeli TV show.
Russell served as AXUM's manager during their extended music residency booking them gigs at Emory and other campuses, local clubs, public schools, and parties. There was rarely a night they weren't working. And during the day, Russell had them in the studio collaborating with local musicians.
To cap it off, Russell, whose production company is called Rusky Productions, shot a video for AXUM's song, "War inna Babylon," and set it to visually stunning Atlanta backdrops. AXUM joined Athens-based raggae band DubConscious in the studio in Atlanta to record the track, remixed the vocals in Tel Aviv, and sent the final track to Russell to put to his emotionally charged video back in Atlanta for a truly global Jewish music experience.
Take a look at the final cut after the break, and learn more about the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival.
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