Archives for posts with tag: popular music

Popular Music: Famous Israeli Songs in Israel and Around the World
Xulan Zhang

Objective:

Through this presentation, we’ll explore topic of how certain Israeli songs become famous worldwide and the preserve and transformation of performance form, context and people’s interpretation of these songs when they went “globalized”.  And try to answer the question: Is the music a universal  language or a mirror that reflects the difference between different cultures?

Case 1:  Donna Donna

Origin: Yiddish theater song written in the time of Nazi

Performance form: a duo of a man and a woman, choral with the orchestral accompaniment

Became popular when American country music singer Joan Baez performed it in English with guitar.

Represented spirit of freedom in Israel during the WWII.

Became a worldwide symbolic song for people who are pursuing freedom.

Case 2: Hallelujah

Origin: sung by the Israeli band Hakol Over Habibi for 1978’s Eurovision’s competition

Became popular when it was performed by Gali Atari and Milk & Honey song in 1979 and won the competition for Israel as the hosting country

Performance form: alternate among 1 female voice and 3 male voices

The song roused the national pride in successfully winning and hosting Eurovision Competition.

Case 3: Diva

Origin: sung by Dana International, an Israeli transsexual singer

Performance form: It was originally only performed in the form of singing on the competition but later on was added the dancing part

Became highly popular after Dana International performed this song in Eurovision 1998.

But in its own country, Dana International’s big success triggered controversy.

Conclusion: Through these three different cases, I see music’s role both as a universal language that connects people from different culture and a mirror that reflects cultural gap.

Resources:

Text:

  1. Regev, Motti and Edwin Seroussi , Popular Music and National Culture in Israel
  2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donna_Donna  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallelujah_(Gali_Atari_and_Milk_%26_Honey_song)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diva_(Dana_International_song)

  1. http://www.metrolyrics.com/donna-donna-lyrics-joan-baez.html

http://www.metrolyrics.com/diva-lyrics-dana-international.html

  1. http://www.hebrewsongs.com/?song=haleluyah-eurovision
  2. http://members3.jcom.home.ne.jp/goetheschubert/Donaenglish.htm
  3. http://www.friendsreunited.com/dana-international-diva/Memory/69dd2604-4ae2-41ed-8453-a1b900fbd9de

Video:

  1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BqzGZ5AaeSs
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C33kO3fvjkI
  3. http://www.friendsreunited.com/dana-international-diva/Memory/69dd2604-4ae2-41ed-8453-a1b900fbd9de

 

 

 

Musical Instruments in Israel
Presented by Karen Lin and Allan Tang

As you listen to our presentation, focus on this question- The musical instruments involved in the making of “Jewish music” are as diverse as the Jewish people themselves. How are these four instruments instrumental to the representation of music in Israel?

Violin

History
-Descendant of the viol, an instrument of 15th century Spain
-Jews contributed to the development of violin in Italy.
-Emergence of violin coincides with Jewish migration from Spain to Italy.

Why are Jews so fond of the violin?
-Violin prevalent in media that attempts to represent the Jewish culture
​-Schindler’s List theme employs solo violin
​-The Fiddler on the Roof represents the “precariousness” of Jewish society
-Versatile, intense, passionate instrument that expresses Jewish emotions and experience
-“Ticket into the big city”-Violin linked to Hope because of the many possibilities for an orchestra job in the city.
-Like Asians and pianos, most young Jews had to take up the violin or lose to the “kid next door”

How is the Arabic violin different from its European counterpart?
-Called “kaman” in Arabic
-Adopted from Europe during second half of 19th century
-Suited for maqam, due to its lack of frets
-Moroccans play “gamba style,” placing the violin on their laps
-Tuned in fourths and fifths (GDGD), played in ornate style, can sound nasal and penetrating

Who are some famous Jewish Violinists?
-Miri Ben-Ari, hip-hop
-Itzhak Perlman and Isaac Stern, classical

Oud

History
– Originate from another Persian instrument called the barbat, dating back to the Sassanid (Persian) empire in 224 A.D.
– Spread to Andalusia, or present day Spain most likely through Islamic conquests
– 1492 Spanish Inquisition resulting in European adaptation of the lute and the exile of Jews from Spain to Northern Africa and the Middle East.

– the ud was considered the king of musical instruments in the Arab world
​- versatility, popularity
– can be played in two distinctive styles: Ottoman and Egyptian
Al-Farid – Egyptian style: http://www.mikeouds.com/audio/farido1.mp3
Yair Dalal – Ottoman style

Symbolism
– known for its calming, healing, and meditative properties
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwl9QJWq-2o&feature=youtu.be&t=1m6s
– symbol of tranquility: “the ud invigorates the body…It calms and revives hearts” (Grove)
– structure of harmonious proportions

Yair Dalal
– representing Israel and Middle Eastern cultures, fusing them through music
– peace activist between the two cultures
– Opinion: use of the ud as a symbol of peace

Ud in Shaping Israeli History
– Erza Aharon: ud player and singer who immigrated to Jerusalem in 1934
​- created a small radio program called “Sounds of the East”
​- “wished to provide the Arabic music with a new national Jewish style, encompassing Hebrew texts, western instruments, and harmonization” (Hirshberg 198-199)
– Early Hebrew songs were translated from Arabic, ud suitable to back up singing

Shofar

History
– only Jewish liturgical instrument that survived the destruction of the Second Temple of Jerusalem by the Romans in 70 CE.
– made out of a ram’s horn

Symbolism
– Ties to the Binding of Isaac
​- (From Genesis 22) Story of a ram sacrificed in place of Isaac, son of Abraham
– Mount Sinai
​- (From Exodus 16) Story of when God descended and gave Moses the ten commandments.
– Played during Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur
– Sounding of War

Sounds of the Shofar

– tekiah: broken interrupted sound
– shevarim: three triplet blasts, like three shorter tekiah
– terual: nine staccato short notes
– tekiah gedolah: held as long as possible

Qanun

History
-Descendant of the Egyptian harp, dating back to the 10th century
-Means “law,” “rule,” or “norm” in Arabic and establishes the law of pitch for other instruments and singers
-Meant to play in Maqamat (Arabic mode)

Symbolism
-Concertino for Kanun (Qanun), English Horn, Clarinet, Strings and Percussion, Op. 292 (1959) is written by famous Jewish composer Marc Lavry for Iraqi qanun player Avraham David Cohen, who immigrated to Israel in 1949. The piece uses Western harmony but features a traditional Arabic instrument
-Represents the Jewish craft of creative improvisation and absorption of different styles, as the wandering klezmer ensembles did in Europe.

Ali Amr
-Grew up amid war in Ramallah, Palestine (just north of Jerusalem), overcame many logistical difficulties just to attend Berklee College of Music in America
-”Music was my support through it all. I was really influenced by war to create music, and by music to fight against war…Music is peace.”
-Composes his own music, fusing Arabic elements with jazz
-Also a vocalist, singing in traditional style

References
Violin
Jews and the Violin: http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Features/Did-Jews-invent-the-violin
History: https://www.google.com/search?q=violin+history&espv=210&es_sm=93&source=lnms&sa=X&ei=XmiNUon3FIv8iQK1-IH4CQ&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAA&biw=1517&bih=755&dpr=0.9
Brief introduction to Arabic instruments: http://www.maqamworld.com/instruments.html

Ud
Yair Dalal biography: http://www.yairdalal.com/index.php/en/biography.html
Grove entry on the Ud: http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/28694.
Grove entry on Iran including information on the barbat: http://www.oxfordmusiconline.com/subscriber/article/grove/music/13895#S13895.2.5
Garland Encyclopedia on the Ud: http://glnd.alexanderstreet.com/view/330282
Yair Dalal history of the oud and its healing properties: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jwl9QJWq-2o
Erza Aharon Entry in the Hirshberg:
Hirshberg, Jehoash. “Westerners Meet Arabic Music.” Music in the Jewish Community of Palestine, 1880-1948: A Social History. Oxford: Clarendon, 1995. 198-99. Print.

Shofar
Shofar, its use and its origins [book], requires Berkeley library: https://babel.hathitrust.org/shcgi/pt?id=mdp.39015007926341;view=1up;seq=6
Meaning of the Shofar (also in the shofar book, but with interpretation):
http://ohr.edu/1191
Pitches and Notes of the Shofar: http://www.musicofthebible.com/extra_shofar.htm
Exodus 19: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+19&version=NIV
Genesis 22: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+22&version=NIV
Rosh Hashanah information:
http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Judaism/holiday2.html
http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Judaism/Rosh-Hashana-The-sound-of-the-shofar-325263

Youtube links on people’s opinion on the meaning of the shofar, accuracy is unknown and used as supplement/interesting information:

Qanun
Concertino for Qanun: http://www.marclavry.org/2011/03/16/concertino-for-kanun-qanun-english-horn-clarinet-strings-percussion-op-292/
http://www.thejerusalemfund.org/ht/d/EventDetails/i/38590/pid/187
Ali Amr profile: http://www.berklee.edu/news/627/student-profile-ali-amr
Jewish musical identity: http://books.google.com/books?id=b9ST9c-7_z0C&pg=PA18&lpg=PA18&dq=qanun+in+jewish+society&source=bl&ots=sJcMta_J0n&sig=JZpOf0R6FV68_oBt7HZ89PdmhJc&hl=en&sa=X&ei=7AWNUrm7DYHqiwLNtoCwCg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=qanun%20in%20jewish%20society&f=false
Brief history: http://www.sarahmichael53.com/about-the-qanun.html

Punk Rock in Israel
Daniel Cohen

History of punk rock, core elements / philosophy, development in Israel
Global roots
o Developed between 1974-1976 (early 70s) in US, UK, Australia
o Derived from garage rock/ protopunk
o Second wave of punk is 1970s, spread throughout rest of Europe and in Asia
Common point in British/American punk: inner cities left to rot
o Allowed intermingling of young people, artists, squatters
o Sick of being ignored and fed up with the post war complacency
Core elements/ philosophy
o Do-it Yourself (DIY) ethic; self produced / distributed
o Musical virtuosity not required (in fact looked at suspiciously); ‘fast and ‘loud’
Development of rock / punk in Israel
o Rock represented rejection of nationalist culture, came to mark openness to dialogue, change
o By 1980s it was dominant form of pop culture in Israel, by 1990s it was compromised by a number of scenes/styles/textures
o Mid-1980s: Tel Aviv became hot-spot for ‘alternative’ rock or that with ‘cutting edge of aesthetic and stylistic innovation in rock’ (Regev-Seroussi pg. 175); post-punk and new-wave rock styles thrived.
o First Intifada (1987-1991) seemed to set the stage for development of punk in Israel; youths fed up of all the violence/ complacency. This was the Palestinian uprising against the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Nature of punk rock in Israel
Punk & Politics
o Punk about protest, freedom, speaking your own mind; believe there is too much apathy in Israel
Israel/Palestine conflict & mandatory military service
o Many punks are youths required to serve in Army, many defy joining by claiming insanity
o Some punks work in the army middle of the week and go to shows to let loose on weekends
o Most punk music supports the Palestinian people (not the Palestinian politicians), are against the occupation, yet have close connection with Israel
o Directly affected by bombings, conflict; leads to fear, frustration, depression, cynicism. Punk life provides ‘escapism’ for every day life.
Israeli punk & religion
o Many punks are not religious, but identify as being Jewish
o Tend to be against religious oppression in any culture, disagree with Orthodox customs and pushing beliefs or customs on people
Generally have positive outlook, optimistic and believe their music and voices are necessary for change

Israeli punk rock sounds / examples

  • State of Fear by Useless I.D. (English vocals); more global appeal with English lyrics, have toured around the world
  • Radio lo chaver (Radio’s Not A Friend) by Beer7; female vocal lead, paved way for female punks – music video shows light spirited antics of punk rock
  • Mi Aatam by Chaos Rabak; popular punk band in Israel, style reminiscent of UK late 70s punk rock

Discussion/ open question:
Does the notion of ‘globalized Israeliness’ imply that music, specifically musical genres such as punk, are universal in that they translate seamlessly from one culture to another? How does punk in Israel support or refute your claims?

Note: ‘globalized Israeliness’ is a mixture of Hebrewism and effects of globalization of culture, according to Regev & Seroussi.

References:
Christgau, Robert, “Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk, by Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain” (review), New York Times Book Review, 1996. Retrieved
on January 17, 2007. http://www.robertchristgau.com/xg/bkrev/mcneil-nyt.php
McLaren, Malcolm, “Punk Celebrates 30 Years of Subversion”, BBC News, August 18, 2006. Retrieved on January 17, 2006
Nord, L. (Director). (2006). “Jericho’s Echo: Punk Rock in the Holy Land” [Documentary]. United States. http://www.jerichosecho.com/
Regev, Motti and Edwin Seroussi. Popular Music and National Culture in Israel, University of California Press, Berkeley 2004

Erev shel shoshanim, “evening of roses” or “evening of lilies” has been one of the most successful songs from Israel, with the exception of Yerushalayim shel zahav (1967), and of course Hava nagilah–which was actually composed, by Abraham Zvi Idelsohn, in pre-1948 Palestine (and that is now a movie…).

It is a love song with fairly explicit biblical references (see for example Song of Songs 14:4 for the reference to myrrh, spices, and frankincense), as well as a SLI (Song of the Land of Israel) in its agricultural references to roses and the bustan, the Middle Eastern citrus grove.

An English translation is available via HebrewSongs.com:

Evening of roses
Let’s go out to the grove
Myrrh, perfumes, and incense
Are a threshold at your feet.

The night falls slowly
A breeze of roses blows
Let me whisper a song to you quietly
A song of love.

At dawn, a dove is cooing
Your hair is filled with dew
Your lips to the morning are like a rose
I’ll pick it for myself.

The Hebrew lyrics (written by Moshe Dor, a poet, writer, and journalist born in Tel Aviv in 1932) are also available on line, via Shironet. The music was composed by Yosef Hadar (Tel Aviv 1926 – Even Yehudah 2006), the son of Polish immigrants and the author of many Hebrew songs, especially in the 1940s-1950s.

Here are some musical sources, beginning with Ha-dudaim, of course, whose 1958 version of the song, originally sung by Yaffa Yarkoni (who first recorded it in 1957), made it popular worldwide.

Israeli pop-rock-and-everything-else music icon, Arik Einstein, recorded it as well, 

A late performance of Ha-parvarim (a 1960’s duo that integrated folk guitar accompaniments and Latin American arrangements with the SLI repertoire) shows it performed along with a sing-along crowd, in the style of shirah be-tzibur, or communal singing, which characterized Jewish musical life in mandatory Palestine since before the founding of the State of Israel, and that continues to this day:

But the song has had a longstanding international recognition. See below.

Yaffa Yarkoni, who must have sung this song many a times, recorded it in Spanish:

Greek international star Nana Moskouri with Israeli-French singer Mike Brant:

Harry Belafonte (his Nava nagila is better, though, either solo or with Danny Kaye):

And Miriam Makeba:

As usual, YouTube is full of surprises. See for example Israeli performer Tal Kravitz’s “Israeli-Indian encounter” with Rajendra Prasanna, in a concert sponsored by  the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Israeli Embassy in New Delhi:

But the love-theme of the roses (or lilies) can also be challenged. This is undoubtedly the case in Idan Reichel’s song, Shoshanim ‘atzuvot (Sad Roses). You can find the lyrics here.

View this document on Scribd

I always enjoy reading the proposals submitted by the students of Music in Israel for their class projects (papers, presentations and performances, as outlined in the Class Syllabus). Then, I begin thinking, and learning, from them. I divide them into groups, and created graphs to describe their formats and contents.

It should suggest where things are at, now that we have reached the middle of the Semester.

Format-wise, students were somewhat “conservative.” Most students opted for the traditional “paper” (or essay) format. Some went for collaborative class presentations. And a few (but still a considerable number) chose to produce and present a performance to the class.

Music in Israel | Fall 2013 | Student Project Formats

In terms of the topic that students chose to work on, regardless of the format of their projects, I was able to isolate four major groups: ethnographic and ethnomusicological themes, the study of art music, the study of popular music, and the relationship between music and history.

Music in Israel | Fall 2013 | Student Project Topics

Ethnographic projects cover a wide variety of topics, ranging from the emergence of Judeo-Spanish song and Klezmer music between ethnography and commercial revival, to the sacred/secular divide in Israeli (musical) culture, issues of gender, various types of fieldwork (including the “ethnography of the Self”…), the study of traditional musical instruments, of the relationship between music and food, the role of Arabic maqam in Jewish music, music education, music in the Kibbutz, and the role of music in various Jewish “ethnic communities,” from Russia and Romania to Central Asia.

Students working on popular music will be covering a variety of themes, including Jazz, world Jewish and Israeli “pop,” ethnic rock, punk rock, Hip hop, and religious rock, the impact of American music on Israel’s popular music, the work of specific artists or ensembles (including Naomi Shemer, Shlomo Carlebach, and the Idan Reichel Project), and the impact of conflict and the role of the Israeli Defence Forces in shaping popular musical culture.

Art music is well represented as well, with topics ranging from the Israeli piano and vocal repertoires, to the impact of America’s Jewish composers on Israeli music, to the important issue of “style” (Mediterraneims, Orientalism, etc.) in Israel’s musical aesthetics.

The relationship between music and history will be mainly investigated in two directions: the role of film (and especially film music) in narrating history and representing culture, and the musical representations of the Holocaust.

Perhaps we are half way done, but it looks like a busy end of semester is coming up!

The iconic (and canonic) Israeli song, yerushalayim shel zahav (Jerusalem of Gold), a prime example of the SLI (Songs of the Land of Israel, or shire eretz yisrael) genre, was written by Israeli composer and singer-songwriter Naomi Shemer (1930-2004).
Shemer, an influential voice in the canon of Israeli mainstream and popular culture, rightfully deserves her own entry in the Encyclopaedia Judaica, authored by dr. Gila Flam, head of the Music Department of the National Library of Israel and “Music in Israel” Skype guest. (Note that links will only work with an account that allows access to certain electronic resources):

SHEMER, NAOMI (Saphir; 1930–2004), composer, song writer, and performer. Born at kevuẓat Kinneret, she studied at the Tel Aviv and Jerusalem Academies of Music. Among her teachers were Frank Peleg , Ilona Vinze-Kraus, Joseph Tal , and Abel Ehrlich . She returned to kevuẓat Kinneret as a music teacher and there she composed her first songs especially for children. In 1956 she moved to Tel Aviv. Her songs, to most of which she composed both lyrics and music, became very popular and are considered as part of the Israeli song canon. In 1967, after being commissioned by the Israel Broadcasting Authority to write a song for the annual song festival, she wrote Yerushalayim shel Zahav, which immediately became popular. It became the theme song of the Six-Day War and achieved international fame. In many Reform movement services and among both Ashkenazi and Sephardi congregations in Israel and the Diaspora, the song was introduced into the liturgy for special occasions, such as Friday evening, the last hakkafah on Simhat Torah , and the synagogue service on Israeli Independence Day. Considered to perfectly express the love of the nation for Jerusalem, the song was proposed in the Knesset as a new Israeli national anthem. By the mid-1980s there was not an Israeli singer or ensemble that had not performed one of Shemer’s songs. Nicknamed the “national songwriter,” she demonstrated a unique ability to express the national mood. Although her first works were published in the 1950s, her first book of songs, Kol ha-Shirim (“Complete Songs”), did not appear until 1967. Later publications included four additional song books (1975, 1982, 1995, 2003), as well as various collections for children. As a singer, she recorded a selection of her own songs. Her honors included the Israel Prize for Israeli song (1982), Jerusalem Prize (1983), and honorary doctorates from the universities of Jerusalem (1994) and Beersheba (1999). (Flam, Gila. “Shemer, Naomi.” Encyclopaedia Judaica. Ed. Michael Berenbaum and Fred Skolnik. 2nd ed. Vol. 18. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2007. 457-458. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 13 Oct. 2013).

The song was presented at the Israel Song Festival of 1967, which

took place amid the growing tensions on Israel’s borders that led, three weeks later, to the Six-Day War in June of that year. The winning song was a sentimental love song, performed by Mike Burstyn, which was soon forgotten. The event, however, entered collective memory because of one of five new songs especially commissioned by the ma[y]or of Jerusalem, Teddy Kollek. [including] “Yerushalayim shel zahav” […]. Performed (outside of the competition0 by Shuli Natan, who accompanied herself on acoustic guitar, the song “that changed the country forever” in Dan Almagor’s words, expressed almost prayerlike longing for the city, as though anticipating the eruption of national sentiment few weeks later, when the Old City of Jerusalem was brought under Israeli control. Interestingly enough, this was one of the first modern Israeli songs abut Jerusalem written from a national, rather than a traditional religious, perspective. (Regev and Seroussi. Popular Music and National Culture in Israel. UC Press, 2004: 117).

A YouTube user posted a recording of this original performance of the song by then 20-year-old Shuli Natan (born 1947):

The lyrics of yerushalayim shel zahav have been translated into English a number of times. They can be found on the website of the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as searched on HebrewSongs.org, and even on an entire website devoted solely to this song, created by Yael Levine, whose translation appears below:

The mountain air is clear as wine
And the scent of pines
Is carried on the breeze of twilight
With the sound of bells.

And in the slumber of tree and stone
Captured in her dream
The city that sits solitary
And in its midst is a wall.

Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin [Hebr. kinor] for all your songs.

How the cisterns have dried
The market-place is empty
And no one frequents the Temple Mount
In the Old City.

And in the caves in the mountain
Winds are howling
And no one descends to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho.

Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.

But as I come to sing to you today,
And to adorn crowns to you (i.e. to tell your praise)
I am the smallest of the youngest of your children (i.e.the least worthy of doing so)
And of the last poet.

For your name scorches the lips
Like the kiss of a seraph
If I forget thee, Jerusalem,
Which is all gold…

Jerusalem of gold, and of bronze, and of light
Behold I am a violin for all your songs.

The lyrics of yerushalayim shel zahav offer a Hebrewist re-actualization of the poetic tradition of the Book of Psalms, and are crowded with biblical imagery drawn from the Hebrew Bible itself, as well as from Hebrew poetry from late antiquity and early-modern times. In the song, the poet (embodied by two women: composer Naomi Shemer and performer Shuli Natan) speaks in the first person, singing the ancient glories and present demise of the city of Jerusalem, accompanying herself, like a modern-day female King David, on the biblical instrument, the kinor–a Hebrew word of biblical origin, which in modern Hebrew refers to the violin, as reflected in most English translations of the original lyrics.

The end of the Six Day War (the history of which can be studied through a wide variety of conflicting resources, among which two Twitter feeds, one in Hebrew, chronicling its events as if they happened in real tweet-time, and the official English Twitter account of the Israeli National Archives, became available only very recently) granted Israelis and Jews from the world over access to the Old City of Jerusalem (which had been denied during the Jordanian occupation (1948) and subsequent annexation (1950) of the city). Following Israel’s victory, Jews were once again allowed access to the Old City, and could pray at the Western Wall and restore the many synagogues and the Jewish Quarter.

In the aftermath of the war, Naomi Shemer added two new strophes to the song, reflecting Jewish return to the Old City:

We have returned to the cisterns
To the market and to the market-place
A ram’s horn (shofar) calls out on the Temple Mount In the Old City.

And in the caves in the mountain
Thousands of suns shine
We will once again descend to the Dead Sea
By way of Jericho!

This version of her song became truly iconic of the Israeli experience. Shuli Natan began performing it throughout the world, and, of course, in Israel. Below are video recordings of a 1968 performance in France…

…and of a 1986 appearance on Israeli television (note the background of the TV set, depicting details of the Citadel of David in the Old City):

In 1993, the song was included in the soundtrack of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List

The powerful symbology of the nexus that the inclusion of yerushalayim shel zahav in this Hollywood movie established between the Holocaust, the founding of the State of Israel, and the Six Day War, did not go unnoticed, along with its anachronism. In Israeli showings of the movie, the song was apparently replaced by Eli Eli (lyrics by Hannah Senesh, 1921-1944).

By 1998, yerushalayim shel zahav had become part of the national patrimony, and could be performed by Yemenite-Israeli pop star Ofra Haza in the course of the national celebration commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel, at the Hebrew University Stadium. (Note the “orientalist” vocal embellishments inserted by the singer at the end of the performance):

The process of canonization of yerushalayim shel zahav continued over the decades, since its original performance in 1967, and even took place in roundabout ways.

As Dalia Gavriely-Nury noted in 2007:

In May 1968, Knesset Member Uri Avnery proposed a law designating the song as Israel’s official national anthem and raised his proposal again 35 years later. (Dalia Gavriely-Nuri, “The Social Construction of “Jerusalem of Gold” as Israel’s Unofficial National Anthem,” Israel Studies 12/2, Summer 2007: 104-120; note: the online sources mentioned by the author are not available).

Avnery’s proposal was everything but nationalistic, and warrants some attention as it exemplifies the political uses (and appropriations) of popular culture.
Avnery, a former member of the Israeli parliament and a political activist, first attempted to use Yerushalayim shel zahav against Israel’s official national anthem, Ha-tikvah (The Hope) while at the Kenesset:

I thought that if I proposed Naomi Shemer’s song as a national anthem, I might be able to build a consensus for the idea of changing the existing one. I was not happy with several nationalist phrases added to the song, but I believed that we could change that along the way. (Uri Avnery, “Death of a Myth,” 14/05/05, http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1115987772/, accessed on 10/13/2013).

In 2005, shortly after her death, it became public knowledge that Naomi Shemer had “unwittingly” used a Basque lullaby as the source for the melodic line of her song. Israeli reporter and writer, Tom Segev, reported about this in Haaretz.

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Following additional reporting by Haaretz staff, it appears that the lullaby was performed by Spanish singer, Paco Ibáñez (b. 1934), in a concert that took place in Jerusalem in 1962:

Ibáñez said yesterday that he was saddened to hear of Shemer’s guilt feelings over basing the song on the Basque folk melody and not admitting it. “It is a shame. She had no reason to feel guilty,” he said yesterday. “True, I think she heard the song from me, but that’s life and that’s how I see it. It wasn’t even a secret. I spoke to friends about it and mentioned it in conversations with people. I didn’t speak to Naomi Shemer since then because I didn’t see her again, and it didn’t really matter to me. If I had seen her, I certainly would have mentioned it, but of course, without anger.” Ibáñez said his mother would sing the lullaby to him when he was little and sat in her lap. He recorded the song, which is based on a folk tune, in his volume Songs I Heard from My Mother. Ibáñez said he first heard Shemer’s song in the summer of 1967, shortly after it was written. He immediately recognized it as his song, “Joseph’s hair.” “I didn’t consider this plagiarism but rather felt a lot of empathy for Shemer. Was I angry? Not at all. On the contrary, I was glad it helped in some way.” (Idit Avrahami, Nurit Wurgaft, “Shemer had no reason to feel bad, says Basque singer of copied tune, Haaretz, May 6, 2005, http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/news/shemer-had-no-reason-to-feel-bad-says-basque-singer-of-copied-tune-1.157853, accessed 10/13/2013).


The singer continues to perform the song as part of his repertoire: 

Despite Ibáñez’s statements, Shemer’s posthumous admission has since given rise to a series of accusations, which at times turn into veritable indictments against the “authenticity” (or lack of) of Israeli culture as a whole.  
Avnery, for example, renewed his proposal to promote yerushalayim shel zahav to the role of Israel’s national anthem immediately after Shemer’s “appropriation” hit the news cycle, this time with the intent of attacking Israel’s own “myths,” including those connected with the Six Day War:

Israel is a country built on many symbols and myths. What could be more symbolic than the destruction of the myth of the Six-Day war, now followed by the collapse of the myth of “Jerusalem of Gold”, that war’s symbol in song? (Uri Avnery, “Death of a Myth,” 14/05/05, http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1115987772/, accessed on 10/13/2013).

The saga continues…

 

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Interestingly enough, as we attempt to define our topic, “music in Israel,” and the related topics of Israel/Palestine/State of Israel/Land of Israel/Promised Land, we also gain a more distinct understanding of the related, and not necessarily antagonistic, notions of Diaspora…

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