Jerusalem Post


Pulling at heartstrings

It was a simple sixth grade assignment: Go home and trace your family tree. For 11-year old Miri Ben-Ari, however, the exercise was traumatic: “My family was almost entirely wiped out in the Holocaust,” she recalls. “I never knew that before the assignment. Both my parents started crying when they told me. I was just a little kid, I was like, oh s**t, something crazy is going on here! I was the only one they told the story to – Holocaust survivors don’t like to talk.”

Nowadays, Ben-Ari finds herself talking far more about her music than her family. Despite being a white, Israeli-born female who doesn’t even rap, she was awarded a Grammy for Rap Song of the Year last year. As the instrumentalist who wrote, produced, arranged and performed all the strings on rapper Kanye West’s platinum debut disc The College Drop Out, she is the first Israeli to win a Grammy in the hip hop category. With her win, Ben-Ari proved that hip-hop transcends color and culture – and it has certainly put the 20-something violinist on the map.