Matisyahu, a Grammy-nominated reggae artist, will perform a free concert at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, March 23, at Indigo in downtown State College. Matisyahu’s tour, consisting of 12 universities nationwide, will promote unity and empathy through music.
The tour, sponsored by Penn State Hillel, was inspired by Matisyahu’s recent trip to Jerusalem, where he performed with members of the secular hip-hop group Hadag Nahash; Daniel Zamir, a devout member of the Jewish faith and world-renowned saxophone player; and Saz, a well-known Palestinian hip-hop artist.
Joining Matisyahu in concert will be special guest Nadim Azzam, who brings a unique blend of acoustic hip-hop and singer/songwriter presence to the stage. Raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Azzam was born to an Egyptian-Palestinian father and an American Jewish mother, both of whom raised Nadim with a keen sense of social justice and indiscriminating love for others of different cultural backgrounds.
“There’s a lot of history [between peoples] and if we dwell in that, to continually say who is right and who is wrong, it goes in circles,” said Matisyahu. “But to come together to make music, to interact as human beings … it supersedes that. And that’s what we’re trying to show.”
In addition to the performance, Penn State Hillel will host Matisyahu and Azzam for a discussion with select students from organizations across campus.
Matisyahu will bring his full band, and he and Azzam will also collaborate on stage throughout the performance showcasing the types of relationships the tour strives to develop through creative expression. Together, Matisyahu and Azzam seek to give fans music for music's sake, and hope that through this performance, mutual respect and the acknowledgement of human similarities will be strengthened.
A ticket and photo ID are required to attend the concert, as tickets are exclusive and limited to Penn State students, faculty and staff. Tickets can reserved at Penn State Hillel’s website.
Following the concert, Penn State Hillel and the Israel Ambassadors Group will host a free after party at Indigo to celebrate Purim, a Jewish holiday that commemorates the salvation of the Jewish people in ancient Persia. Purim is typically observed by the reading of the “Megillah” or the “Book of Esther,” a festive meal, drinking and costumes. Free tickets to the party can be reserved here.