-Uma Madhu and Anna Christy, III Year B.A. English
Image Source: The Jewish Standard: Times of Israel
Four thousand years of Jewish wandering, dry, barren desert lands torn apart with political strife, brutal wars, bloodshed and oppression – these are the images we associate with Israel, a true, but rather limited view of the country. There is so much more to this country, with friendships that defy race and language, the deserts speckled with banners and the sprawling fields of strawberry- and of course, music.
Modern Israeli music evolved from the happy mingling of the Israelis’ many combined heritages. Socially charged political commentary in the form of happy bubblegum pop, or heavy metal music on joy and truth are not uncommon here. Here is our pick of five songs that tell you that Israel is not synonymous with war and wandering; it’s also a cheerful voice ringing across the streets of Tel Aviv saying “Oy, Hakol Beseder!” “Look, All is well!”
- Intentional Moment- Yonina
Yoni and Nina often remind us that they were musicians far before they met each other. But it is the sheer love, the sublime happiness that they exude in each other’s company that adds to their melody, making it truly beautiful. The lovely young couple became internet stars overnight with their cover of Matisyahu’s One Day.
Intentional Moment is a melody reminiscent of Disney’s most beloved love songs. The simple lyrics speak of forgetting pain and conflict, and living in the present, with a happy, meaningful existence. Simplicity is key to their aesthetic. Yoni’s husky voice flows gently, ever-so-tenderly over Nina’s richly sweet one.
The music video shows them looking into each other’s eyes, while the world swirls around them at a dizzying speed. Their smiles, and the look in their eyes reveal again what their lyrics tell us – “See good, see only the good,” and when we look at them, no matter how down or lonely we may be, we believe in love again.
- Bo’ee – Idan Raichel Project
Idan Raichel presents himself as a musical ambassador, travelling the world and collaborating with artists across countries, backgrounds and genres. ‘Bo’ee’, his breakthrough single is true to the Idan Raichel style- an indie meets soul meets light electronica number.
He ties together poetic Hebrew and haunting Ethiopian chanting. “Come, let us embrace,” say the lyrics, indicating Raichel’s vision of coming together, forgetting animosity and boundaries, and moving towards an ideal serenity.
The shift from the strong Hebrew vocals to the soft Ethiopian chanting is a characteristic feature in his songs. It is a shift that dips, unexpectedly but gracefully, nonetheless. At its heart, Bo’ee is peaceful, a tribute to the beauty of collaboration.
- Journey- Mark Eliyahu
If you’re a fan of instrumental music, you will definitely love Mark Eliyahu. And if you aren’t, this is an excellent place to start. Eliyahu plays the kamancheh, an Iranian string instrument. The melancholy strains of Journey are both enticing and calming at the same time, an oriental dream, a distant but tangible fantasy.
If you are not entirely sure about your fondness for instrumental music, Eliyahu plays with a zest and passion so pronounced that you will never feel the lack of lyrics. Journey takes you by the hand on a journey to another world. It is a perfect track to relax to, to accompany walks and a good book. The calm is never mindless, it is imbued with profound emotion and that is what makes Eliyahu unique and relevant.
- Laylotai – Yuval Dayan
Yuval Dayan’s haunting voice took Israeli media by storm with her stunning audition for The Voice Israel. After her resignation from the show, the young artist had taken respite from the mainstream media.Perhaps that is why her music is still so raw, fresh and original. Her husky voice reminds us of Lorde, but softer, more calming and comforting, while Lorde can sound intimidating.
Laylotai is Dayan’s most popular single. It combines the imagery and weight of Hebrew lyrical poetry and the light and calm sound of a deep indie ballad. Her lyrics speak of wistfulness, and coming to terms with longing (even the longing that could never be realized). “I do not understand anything, but slowly I learn”.
Laylotai is steeped in the kind of self-possessed calm that befits Dayan’s personality. (“Everything is moving too fast for me. I do not like it”, she said, before stepping down from The Voice, even in the face of assured victory).
The sounds of violin, piano and soft guitar weaves beautifully through her voice. They become as whole and pure as moonlight on water. It is something otherworldly, something sublime.
- TudoBom- Static and BenelTavori
Now, don’t get us wrong. TudoBom isn’t just our top Israeli pick because of Static and Tavori’s boyish charm and charisma. Frankly, it’s just sheer musical genius.
A dance song that combines the Latin American beat of the samba and the Middle-Eastern music, it’s no wonder that TudoBom won the duo a great deal of acclaim around the world, reaffirming Static and Benel’s position as one of Israel’s most influential artists.
They are versatile, and their talent spans across many genres from ballads to soul to dance and just sheer fun. They manage to bring in the ‘Israel’ of the young Israeli’s dream- a happy place, somewhere without war and strife, somewhere where diversity is celebrated. The desert becomes a dance floor. And this versatility shines through in TudoBom, where they say “In Tel Aviv, everything is fair.”
The music video combines cops and beautiful samba sequences as two parts of Israeli identity. It shows that all is well, that people are still capable of joy, pride and jubilation no matter where they are. The beat is infectious. The video shows people involuntarily moving to the beat, and this isn’t far from reality. You cannot listen to TudoBom and be still (From experience, please do not listen to this in public transport if you don’t want to be seen dancing happily by everyone around you).
The song, produced by Jordi, mixes and matches beats and shifts styles in the drop of a hat, and that makes TudoBom not just a catchy song, but a work of genuine talent. TudoBom isn’t a song to be brought to a party. TudoBom brings the party to whoever plays it. Honestly, at this point, what are you waiting for? Forget everything else, and dance to TudoBom!