MUSIC 74 & 139: MUSIC IN ISRAEL

WEEKLY LISTENING ASSIGNMENTS

Week 11 (April 3 and 5)
We have examined the different musical and cultural forces (and conflicts) at work in Palestine before the independence of the State of Israel in 1948. We have looked into the influence of statehood on popular music, for example through the Army and the institution of the army ensembles. We have listened to the many facets of musical Orientalism (and mizrachiyut) and of “ethnic/world music.” We have seen how the attempt to create a new Israeli music is also based on pre-existing musical cultures: Jewish, non-Jewish, traditional, popular and art music, all play a role in this endeavor. We now explore how Israeli popular music, in the decades following the creation of the State, integrates specifically “Western” influences. This is expressed in the “pop scene” of the early days of the State, in the promotion of Israeli pop through a host of music festivals, and in the participation of Israeli musicians to the European song contest (Eurovision). Keep in mind the various “ingredients” that form a popular song, as we have often discussed in class: • Melodic line • Refrain (chorus) • Rhythm • Vocal style • Instrumentation/Arrangements Following the work we did in class, it is now clear that in Israeli music, these elements may originate from a host of diverse musical cultures, and merge into a single popular song. Among these musical cultures, we can highlight the following: • Jewish musical traditions from the Diaspora • SLI (Songs of the Land of Israel) • East European popular music • Western popular music (i.e., French chanson, or British and American Rock) • Arabic music • “Exotic” musical cultures (i.e., Afro-Cuban traits, Tango, Greek or Asian elements) Our source for this week is the anthology Gadalnu Yachad, accompanied by chapters 6 and 7 of the book by Regev-Seroussi. Gadalnu Yachad. Osef hayovel shel yisrael – Israel’s 240 Greatest Songs in Celebration of Its 50th Anniversary, Hed Artzi Music, Acum 15950 (1998), LCD6693 (available as ITunes files) a) CD 4 in the anthology is entirely devoted to the beginnings of Israeli pop and rock in the 1960’s. Use your investigative instincts, scan through the songs in the CD, and attempt to describe at least one of them according to the parameters listed above. Regev-Seroussi, chapter 6, deals with Israeli Popular Songs Festivals. Several of the hit songs produced and celebrated during these media events mentioned in the chapter appear in Gadalnu Yachad. Listen to those connected in various ways with the Eurovision song festival (p. 119-121): Abanibi (CD 5, tr. 21); Halleluyah (CD 5, tr. 22); Hora (CD 7, tr. 5); Hai (CD 7, tr. 6); Kan (CD 11, tr. 1); Ani lo yechola biladecha (“I Can’t Without Your,” by 1998 Eurovision winner Dana International, CD 9, tr. 13); Selichot (CD 5, tr. 19). c) Regev-Seroussi, chapter 7, focuses on how rock was established in Israel as a musical style. Among the several artists mentioned, some are well represented in Gadalnu Yachad: Focus on the sounds (again, not on the lyrics) of one of the artists/groups included in the “elite” of Israeli rock (p. 144-160), such as the following: Arik Einstein (CD 2, tr. 26; CD 4, tr. 12 and 16); Kaveret (CD 7, tr. 10); Gidi Gov (CD 6, tr. 16; CD 8, tr. 15); Alon Olearchik (CD 8, tr. 12); Ariel Zilber (CD 6, tr. 13; CD 8, tr. 6); Shlomo Gronich (CD 8, tr. 7; CD 11, tr. 14); Yoni Rechter (CD 6, tr. 19); Shem Tov Levy (CD 8, tr. 3); Matti Caspi (CD 6, tr. 5). You may also note that Gadalnu Yachad presents several songs by some of “the ‘best’ musicians of Israel according to the media and relevant professionals […] whose careers are closely associated with the sound idioms of rock, […] such as Arik Einstein, Shalom Hanoch, Yehuda Poliker, Yehudit Ravitz, and Shlomo Artzi” (Regev-Seroussi, p. 137). Hopefully, you’ll be tempted to explore their songs on your own (in that case, refer also to Regev-Seroussi, chapter 8)…

b)

Note: All required sound files and CD booklets available on bSpace.

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