Friday, 16 July 2010

From Schlock Rock to Idan Raichel


Idan Raichel: Min Nhar Li Mschiti (From the Day You Left)

My friend Sarah has pointed me to We've Got a Strong Desire (The history of the Jews in 4 minutes) by the brilliantly named Schlock Rock, from New York. It's a pastiche of We Didn't Start the Fire by Billy Joel; it's very funny, didactic, religious-rock, and only a teensy bit Zionist. I can live - and laugh - with that.

But it did get me thinking about the music I'd heard - and seen - in Israel last November. Jewish music, Arab music, Ethiopian music, and a whole lot more besides. This cultural kaleidoscope was embodied perfectly in the Idan Raichel Project, which melds music and musicians from all these cultures passionately and vibrantly together. I wrote a post about the concert we saw in the blog of the trip - Merkavah 09.

I've chosen a live performance of one of the songs that had been choreographed for our trip by the dance leaders, Frida Zalcman and Pablo Scornik: Min Nhar Li Mschiti. There are several versions of this song on YouTube, all beautifully done, by a number of different singers, but I particularly like this one because of the extended lute intro, and the power of the singing. 

It's not a professionally shot video - it's handheld, the camera moves to the side of the stage, there are no close-ups of the singer, the clip finishes before the end of the song - but the sound quality is not bad and it really gives the feeling of being there in the theatre. This other version also has a good live feel - the sound is good and there's a better view of the singer.

The song is sung in Moroccan Arabic; here's an English translation offered by a YouTube user:
Ho mama why did you leave
You are my soul and my life
My eyes to you mama
You thought me and worked hard for me
You're my beauty, The light in my eyes

My merciful mama, My loved mama
Only you, the light in my eyes
How much you ran for me and your life passed while concerning me
I miss your beauty, The light in my eyes

Ho mama, The light in my eyes, You left and left me, Ho mama
How did you leave me orphan without nothing
I die from sorrow, emptiness day and night
I, I that you cried for me and said: All my life I won't forget you my beauty

Where are you mama, We are you my love
I'm broken since the day you left
Bad people cause all this sorrow
Only god can heal me

Ho mama, The light in my eyes, left and left me ho mama
How did you leave me orphan without nothing
I die from sorrow, emptiness day and night
I, I that you cried for me and said: All my life I won't forget you my beauty

I won't forget you my love
I won't forget you my love
I won't forget you my love
The Idan Raichel Project gives us a foretaste of what Israel could be like if only its communities could bring themselves to accept each other's existence.

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