SXSW 2019: JonZ Brings a Bit of Tel Aviv to Austin via SXSW
JonZ, consisting of Jenia Vasilenko and Yoav Or, plays at the Parish March 12 for the Oy Vey! music showcase. Credit: Wendy Goodman
By Tonyia Cone
SXSW recently brought a sound from Israel to Austin, with Tel Aviv band JonZ.
JonZ, consisting of Jenia Vasilenko and Yoav Or, played at the Parish, CU29, 18th Over Austin, and as part of Empire Shabbat, a party organized by rapper Kosha Dillz, at Empire Control Room.
“Driven by the desire to integrate art and the passion to absorb and experience different cultures and sounds,” the band describes on their website, “JonZ weave powerful yet gentle folk songs within a unique electronic soundscape.”
Ori Winokur recorded and produced JonZ’s 2018 debut album “Solid Wind.”
Vasilenko said being at SXSW was like being at “Disney for musicians,” with its size and opportunity to meet many people.
Or explained that since English is not their first language, it was a chance to see if their music was suited to audiences in the United States.
“People are here from everywhere. You can feel it in the air,” he said.
He added that as Israelis, they sing about love of people, not being Jewish or their country’s politics and military.
“This music is for everybody, of every culture,” Vasilenko said. “This is what I like about this project - it’s really for everybody.”
JonZ have performed in major festivals in Europe and Israel. They are scheduled to spend the next year touring Europe through Italy, Switzerland, France and Germany.
While at Austin, Vasilenko and Or enjoyed the positive SXSW energy.
Or said, “We love ‘Keep Austin Weird.’ We need to take it back to Tel Aviv.” ■