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Life Lessons with Judy Simon
Torah Tidbits Audio
The Israel Beat blog is a place for poetry submission, concert announcemnets, upcoming shows and musings on Jewish music. The Israel Beat Jewish Music Podcast brings you live in-studio performances with up and coming Israeli musicians as well as interviews with the stars of the Jewish music world. Plus your music requests and the free CD give-away air live on the show. Past interviews have included Matisyahu, Avraham Fried, and Miri Ben-Ari. The Beat with Ben Bresky broadcasts live every Sunday from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Israel time on Arutz Sheva - Israel National Radio. For more info email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elul 27, 5768, 9/27/2008
20 minutes of droning, trance-inducing guitar distortion should put you in the Rosh HaShanah spirit. Special thanks to the Teruah Jewish music blog for reminding me about My Father My King by Mogwai. I originally found this song back in the olden days when Napster was still around and popular. I used to type in key words like "israel" or "jewish" and one day I found something called Jewish Hymn, which is officially entitled My Father My King. It is Mogwai's version of Avinu Malkeinu and is is about 20 minutes long. Avinu Malkeinu actually translates at Our Father Our King.
Elul 24, 5768, 9/24/2008
I have always been fascinated by the song Alei Barikadot by Michael Ashbel, which was an anthem for the Irgun underground in the 1940s in Israel. My friend Eitan called me the other day and we were chatting about current events. He told me that last year he attended the funeral of Sarah Livni. And then he started singing Alei Barikadot. The first line of the song is "today my little Sarah, I shall go to war..." I never knew this was referring to a specific person.
The following is a brief bio of Sarah Livni from this site
Sarah Livni was a member of the Irgun, a pre-state paramilitary organization, and was arrested by the British and imprisoned in Bethlehem. Sarah Livni was known as 'Little Sarah' during her Irgun days, and the famous song 'Alei Barikadot' begins with these words which was written by Michael Ashbel, another member of the Irgun. Sarah married Eitan, a fellow Irgun member, one day after Israel declared independence. The two were the first to be married in the modern state of Israel.
The following is a bio of Michael Ashbel from this site:
On March 6, 1946, he took part in the attack on the Sarafand army camp, and was injured in the exchange of fire, together with his friend, Yosef Simchon. They were loaded into a car, which set out for Tel Aviv in order to take them to hospital, but encountered a British roadblock on the way and were arrested. Two months later Ashbel and Simchon were placed on trial before a military tribunal and sentenced to death (June 13, 1946). However, the kidnapping of British officers by the Irgun forced the British High Commissioner to commute the death sentence to life imprisonment. Ashbel was wounded by British gunfire during the breakout of Acre jail and died of his injuries several hours later.
The lyrics of Alei Barikadot are from this site.
Today my little Sarah
I found the song on a couple albums, Songs of the Underground, Songs of the Etzel and Lechi and Betar Songs. But I don't like the renditions of it. Its a kind of a dated style with lots of instrumentation and a chorus. Not the way I imagined an underground anthem.
There is a cool album called Songs of Jabotinsky which has more modern versions of some 1940's songs, as peformed by Shlomo Artzi and other Israeli pop singers in the early 1970s.
Elul 11, 5768, 9/11/2008
Chaim Israel is, in my opinion, the ultimate crossover artist. About half of his new album Someone to Rely On is smooth, light, slow songs based on Psalms and other religious sources. I could see each one being played on a contemporary pop station. The other tracks on the album are fast paced and exciting with a Mediterranean beat.
Chaim Israel has previously released similar sounding albums as well as albums of only Mizrachi and Yemenite music. On this new one he also has that typical twangy oud, Middle Eastern sounding horns and other Mizrachi elements. Some tracks are in the Mizrachi style alone while others mix that sound with an electronic dance beat. The title track incorporates a klezmer sounding clarinet and has an "oy yoi yoi" chorus laid over a dance beat, but the breakdown in the middle is Mizrachi sounding. I played it on my show this week. Another track has a chant of "na nach nachman me uman".
Another Chaim Israel favorite of mine is Rak Elokim from his album Words of Prayer. He also has a couple Yiddish songs on other albums.
Elul 9, 5768, 9/9/2008
Here is an email I received about Sabaton, who recently performed here in Israel and had a nice article about them in the Jerusalem Post.
Topic: Heavy metal 'hasbara'
Hi Ben, Have you ever played this music on The Beat (I ask rhetorically)? Being 64 years old, it's not my type of music but when I read the lyrics, I was sold. If you do play this song, however, I would advise first reading the lyrics to the listening audience (in your best poet-reading voice). ;-) I also just came across Sabaton's "In The Name of God" at The lyrics are embedded in the video itself. Hmmm, I wonder if Walter would feed you chocolate for these two songs. Bet you he would! You might even turn him into a heavy-metal fan!
Regards, Gary (Gershon)
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Well, Gershon, I also just discovered Sabaton, and enjoyed their song Counterstrike which praises Israel's victory in the Six Day War. Here is one of the several videos for it (another one has lyrics). I'm actually disappointed that I never heard of them before because I was proud of the fact that I knew every obscure pro-Jewish song by non-Jewish artists. And now it seems one has slipped by my radar. So here is my new Israel National Radio iTunes iMix in which I tracked down as many as I could. The current iMix includes both non-Jewish musicians, musicians of Jewish heritage in the mainstream world, and Israeli musicians. I am in the process of making several iMixs. If you can think of any more or have any iTunes suggestion, let me know.
Elul 5, 5768, 9/5/2008
I used to do a radio show with Tzvi Turner who turned me on to a lot of hasidic pop. Because Tzvi lived in New York, he personally knew a lot of the top performers such as Shloime Dachs, Mendy Wald and Yosi Piamenta. I thought for sure a guy named Yeedle could never be cool. But as soon as Tzvi played the first couple seconds of Yeedle IV, I liked it. It was like a mix of acoustic guitar and hasidic pop. Catchy and cool. You can listen Tzvi's show at http://jewishcommunityradio.org/
Today I saw a bus in Jerusalem with a big ad for Yeedle's 5th album. It's enjoyable. Not too complicated. Very listenable. One track is a slow song in Yiddish. Most of the album is in the same upbeat, fast danceable, catchy style with a horn section, some sprinkles of electric guitar and some light electronic beats. But mostly the good old tried and true hasidic pop you know and love. The stuff pioneered by Yeedle's father, Modechai Ben David.
One last comment on the new Yeedle album. The cover has this moving image thing. It's like a hologram or something. I thought it was so cool, I went around the radio station showing it to everyone (and interrupting the news anchors). But I can't figure out what exactly to call it. Is it a hologram? Or what? Whoever can give me the correct technical name of it wins a free CD. You can email me at email@example.com.