I released my “Rock Opera”, ‘Star Over Bethlehem’ in December 2013. The LP, which was inspired by 'Jesus Christ, Superstar', 'Hair' and the Christmas songs of Jake Thackray, tells the story of the Nativity from the points of view of Mary, Joseph, Herod and other Biblical characters. When I wrote it, I envisaged staging a theatrical production, but this hasn’t yet come to pass. I am still waiting for the call from Lord Lloyd-Webber! The nearest I got was the launch concert which took place on 6th January 2014. Nearly the whole album was performed live in a church with the help of some of my wonderful musician friends, and I managed to get a decent recording of the show. It is available exclusively on Bandcamp as a free download.
Amazingly, I was invited by the Holy Land Trust to perform some of the songs from ‘Star Over Bethlehem’ in Bethlehem the following summer at the Bet Lahem Live Music Festival. It was such a privilege to be on the stage there performing songs inspired not only by the Christmas story, but by the struggles that that city continues to undergo to this day. Jesus was born into unrest in Bethlehem and was forced to flee the city with his parents to escape persecution. I attempted to highlight some of the parallels between occupied Palestine then and now in the songs I wrote.
The 'Star Over Bethlehem' album is available to download on Bandcamp and includes eleven additional songs which were not finished in time for the original 2013 release date: thisisblake.bandcamp.com/album/star-over-bethlehem
Profits from the sale of that album go towards the SIRA school in Bethlehem for children with learning disabilities and to Musalaha Ministry of Reconciliation, a Christian organisation promoting reconciliation between Israeli and Palestinian communities, with a focus on young people: