Wednesday Video: Had Gadya

Today’s video features Shirana, the women’s choir of the Arab-Jewish Community Center in Jaffa, Israel sing Had Gadya.

Had Gadya (חד גדייא) is a folk song traditionally sung in Aramaic at the end of the Passover Seder (the liturgical meal that opens the week-long holiday). The lyrics are in Aramaic and are a kind of Middle Eastern “This is the House that Jack Built”.

In this video the choir sing a version of the song by Israeli singer-songwriter and cultural icon Chava Alberstein, with lyrics in Aramaic and Hebrew. The song was banned from Israeli radio during the 1980s. (You can read more about Alberstein in Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Archive, including reference to  the political songs on her controversial twenty-eighth album Mehagrim (Immigrants).

This is the last verse of the traditional song:

Then came the Holy One
Blessed be G-d
And destroyed the Angel of Death
That killed the butcher
That slew the ox
That drank the water
That quenched the fire
That burned the sticks
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the little goat
My father bought for two zuzim

In Alberstein’s version, in addition to having a different melody the song is sung in both Aramaic and Hebrew. Alberstein also added a final verse  in Hebrew and this is what led to the song’s banning from radio broadcast:

I questioned only four
Tonight I have one more:
How much longer will the circle of horror persist
Striker and stricken, beater and beaten,
When will this madness, when will it end,
And what is different for you, what is different?
I am different this year
I used to be a lamb and a peaceful goat
Today I am a tiger and a preying coyote
I was a dove already, and a ram
Today I dont know who I am
(My father bought for 2 zuzim)
And once more, we start from the beginning

I am pleased to present Shirana singing Had Gadya.

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Wednesday Video: Conservatory of Music – Laboratory of Peace

Today’s video is a presentation of one of my favorite coexistance and dialogue projects in Jerusalem: the Magnificat Institute of Jerusalem, a music conservatory where young Christians, Muslims and Jews study, play and perform together under the guidance of Christian, Muslim and Jewish teachers. The pupils have the possibility of earning a European Union-recognized diploma, as well. The Institute also participates in and hosts a number of international music competitions.

This video is a “medley” of promotional videos that introduce the Institute and some of its programs. I hope you enjoy it.

Added 18.04.2013: Comments on this post are now closed.

Birthday Week 2013 – Take 4

Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D Minor and the glass harp – if ever a piece of music and an instrument were made for each other… I gained a new appreciation and a different perspective on this familiar work.

The glass harp, invented in 1741 by the Irishman Richard Pockrich, consists of crystal goblets of varying size with water in them. Their unbelievably sweet tones inspired Benjamin Franklin to invent the glass harmonica in 1761, using nested glass bowls.

There is a wealth of information available on Robert Tiso’s site, which I strongly recommend, including tutorials on making and tuning a glass harp.

Please enjoy Robert Tiso playing the Toccata and Fugue in D Minor.

Birthday Week 2013 – Take 2

This is wonderful. Two days ago, students from the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance created a “flashwaltz” in the lobby of the new inpatient tower on Hadassah Hospital’s Ein Karem campus. This is the campus where the Sharett Institute of Oncology is located, where I receive treatment. I haven’t seen the new Davidson Tower yet, and am not especially anxious to sample its many amenities for inpatients!

With thanks to @ElaineSchattner, who tweeted the link yesterday, please enjoy Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers.

Birthday Week 2013 – Take 1

In keeping with a longstanding tradition that I established last year(*), I’m going to offer about a week of videos I like so that everyone can celebrate my birthday with me. For the record, on Thursday the 14th of March I will be 58 years old – and counting!

Today we’ll start off with a wonderful piece of modern dance, choreographed and performed by Milena Sidorova to “Anitra’s Dance” from a childhood favorite, Grieg’s The Peer Gynt Suite. I’m sure you’ll recognize the music even if the name doesn’t ring a bell.

(* If you would like to see last year’s videos, start here. I’m a lot more self-revealing this year, I see.)

Wednesday Video: Dave Brubeck in Moscow

On a visit to Moscow in the 1980s, Dave Brubeck was asked to improvise “on a Russian theme”. The audience laughed when he started to play “The Song of the Volga Boatmen”, but the laughter soon turned to appreciation when he started to blues and jazz it up. When a young Russian violinist stood up and joined in, the result was wonderful.

Christmas 2012

It is Christmas Eve in the Holy Land. I don’t often speak explicitly about my faith, but it’s no secret that I am a devoutly believing Christian. While the exact date is open to debate, Jesus was born – amazing event! – just about an hour’s walk from where I’m sitting.

Here is a modern take by the “Mediaeval Baebes” on a traditional Latin hymn, Gaudete!

Refrain:
Gaudete! gaudete! Christus est natus ex Maria Virgine. Gaudete!
(Rejoice! rejoice! Christ is born of the Virgin Mary! Rejoice!)
 
1. Tempus adest gratiæ hoc quod optabamus,
Carmina lætitiæ devote reddamus.
(Now is the time of grace for which we have been hoping,
Let us faithfully return songs of joy.)
 
2. Deus homo factus est natura mirante,
Mundus renovatus est a Christo regnante.
(God is become man, nature marvels,
The world is renewed by the reigning Christ.)
 
3. Ezechielis porta clausa pertransitur,
Unde lux est orta salus invenitur.
(Ezechiel’s closed gate has been breeched,
Where light is found, salvation is discovered.)
 
4. Ergo nostra contio psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino: salus Regi nostro.
(So let our gathering now sing brightly;
Praise the Lord, salute our King.)
 

RIP Dave Brubeck

I doubt that anyone who reads Telling Knots needs an introduction to the Dave Brubeck Quartet (but if you do, start here). “Take Five” from their 1959 album Time Out was the first jazz piece that I remember listening to and enjoying. I must have been in the first grade or so, and my late father gets the credit for expanding my musical horizons at an early age. “Take Five” was written by saxophonist Paul Desmond, here playing alto sax. Also heard in this video are Dave Brubeck (piano), Eugene Wright (bass) and Joe Morello (drums).

Dave Brubeck died yesterday, December 5th, 2012, at the age of 91. RIP.

Joy!

I love flash mobs, and this is one of the best I’ve ever seen. We I need something to lift me up this week, so here is “Som Sabadell” (We are Sabadell). A friend posted it on Facebook, and it is an instant mood elevator.

Like all the best flash mobs, it starts slow and builds and gets better and better and better and better. Watch the faces, watch the children and the babies. Let yourself be lifted up and become an Ode to Joy!

This is what BancSabadell wrote when uploading it to YouTube:

On the 130th anniversary of the founding of Banco Sabadell we wanted to pay homage to our city by means of the campaign “Som Sabadell” (We are Sabadell) . This is the flashmob that we arranged as a final culmination with the participation of 100 people from the Vallès Symphony Orchestra, the Lieder, Amics de l’Òpera and Coral Belles Arts choirs.

En el 130º aniversario de la creación de Banco Sabadell hemos querido rendir un homenaje a nuestra ciudad con la campaña “Som Sabadell”. Esta es la flashmob que realizamos como colofón final con la participación de más de 100 personas de la Orquestra Simfònica del Vallès y los coros Lieder y Amics de l’Òpera y la Coral Belles Arts.