The Shalva Band is comprised of eight talented musicians with disabilities who travel the world to perform at cultural venues and dignitary events. 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.
Inspiring crowds with its musical repertoire and charm, the band is one of Shalva's most celebrated inclusion programs. Most recently the band made their television debut on Israel's Channel 12 top-rated TV singing competition "Rising Star/Kochav Haba." "Rising Star' is the first program to integrate real-time voting by viewers through a mobile app. The format, which is being adopted worldwide, has contestants on a stage behind a screen that rises if 70 percent of viewers vote for them on the app. The studio audience of about 1,000 people wildly cheered as the screen rose during the Shalva's Band first performance. For their second appearance on the show, the band received a resounding 100% vote.
The winner of the Rising Star competition is Israel's representative to the Eurovision Song Contest which will be held in Tel Aviv in May.
It's hard to predict just how far the band will go but one insider said: "These kids have won the hearts of the audience who have the power to take them all the way."