The Israeli online portal Walla! just ran a story on me for its Project Birthright series about bringing back Israeli minds. You can read it in Hebrew here or in Google-translated English here. Better yet, read the Google-translated English and compare to my translation:
She’s a relative of S.Y. Agnon, grew up in Israel till age 10, and loves Israeli culture. So why does the musician Roni Brunn actually live in Beverly Hills? Because it’s necessary to have someone to protect us in the U.S.
One of the songs of Roni Brunn, lead singer of the band From, is called “American Girl.” Indeed, Brunn is nowadays American by any measure and a resident of Beverly Hills. But as would suit someone who grew up in Israel till age 10 and who boasts a familial tie to S.Y. Agnon, her great uncle, Brunn declares that she’s very attached to Israeli culture and doesn’t forget to express gratitude to the country that granted her, as she says, an amazing childhood.
Maybe also as a result of this childhood, Brunn is graced with a supremely creative mind. Primarily, she’s the founder and singer of the indie band From, whose two songs will soon be featured on the season finale of “How I Met Your Mother.” She’s now working on a new EP with the band. Apart from that, on her resume are an economics degree from Harvard, a handbag line that was featured in Vogue magazine, the development of websites fom Ringo Starr and Justin Timberlake, and many more creative activities.
So, unsurprisingly, Brunn doesn’t see herself leaving her many endeavors in the city of angels, even though she’d definitely be glad to visit her birthplace. “When my parents decided to move to the U.S., I was devastated, but it’s hard to shift to a different scale once you’re used to living in a big American city,” she says to Walla! Culture. “Besides, with all due respect to Twitter, you can’t compare indie musicians’ chances at exposure when they live in Israel to the opportunities they might have in the US. Plus it’s very hard for me to deal with the sun and humidity in Israel, and there isn’t enough parking.”
But even if you don’t see Brunn in the next Birthright Israel, she definitely sees herself as a representative of the country. “To some extent, it’s good that Israeli natives like me live abroad, so that there’s someone to refute the ridiculous assumptions about the country, and I get to do a lot of that,” she recounts. When she spent time in Stockholm, her national identity played a role in her daily life, and she found herself dealing with more than a bit of hostility from those around her. It didn’t stop her from reading books in Hebrew while riding the subways.
Besides reading Hebrew literature, Brunn also follows the Israeli indie music scene: “I was proud that Israel sent the more bands to SXSW this year than the UK and Sweden.”