Friday, April 2, 2010


Yesterday I linked to Hannah Szenes' poem about walkng on the beach, so that led rather obviously to the shir titled Beaches (Chofim). I fear many of the shirim we'll be encountering will be a bit heavy on history, since much of the canon is; all the more reason to demonstrate that some of it is simply poetry+moving music=popular songs.

Chofim is sort of a love song, but mostly it's about the pain of love lost. It was written by Natan Yonatan (1923-2004), one of the most prolific authors of shirim - hundreds of his poems were put to music; this is one of the more famous of them. The music is by Nachum Heiman (born 1934), also one of the most popular creators of shirim.

Nycerbarb was so helpful as to point us at this website which offers translations of shirim, so here are the words of Chofim:

חופים הם לפעמים געגועים לנחל.
ראיתי פעם חוף
שנחל עזבו
עם לב שבור של חול ואבן.
והאדם, והאדם הוא לפעמים גם כן יכול
להישאר נטוש ובלי כוחות
ממש כמו חוף.

גם הצדפים
כמו חופים, כמו הרוח
גם הצדפים הם לפעמים געגועים
לבית שתמיד אהבנו
אשר היה ורק הים
שר לבדו שם את שיריו.

כך בין צדפי ליבו של האדם שרים לו נעוריו.

Shores are sometimes yearning to the river.
I once saw a shore
That the river had abandoned
With a broken heart of sand and stone
And man, and man
Can sometimes also end up
Abandoned and without strength, just like a shore.

Also shells,
Just like shores and the wind
Also shells are sometimes yearning
The home we have always loved
When it was and only the sea
Sings there by itself its songs
Thus, between the shellsof man's heart
his youth sings to him.

The earliest version of the shir (I think) was done by Chava Alberstein (born 1947), in about 1970

Alberstein is one of the most important Israeli singers, and she's been creative since the mid 1960s. I expect we'll meet her again in this series.

Then we've got this version, by Lahakat HaNachal, from 1970 or '71. Lahakat HaNachal means the military band of the Nachal brigade, and this particular group was one of the most important, and produced many long-standing creators. This particular clip, filmed on the shore of the Dead Sea, focuses on Yardena Arazi (Born 1951), who is still creative tho not of Alberstein's stature. The idiotic looking chap behind her is Efraim Shamir, who was later a member of the fantastic Kaveret group, about whom I'll have to write some other time. By then he didn't look quite so silly anymore.


Anonymous said...

thanks yaacov for that songs, I love them and did an advise to my friends.
johannes, vienna

AKUS said...

Strange to hear Chava singing it in that early version - later she softened her tone much more.

This song always reminds me of miluim near Yamit - it was so wonderful most of us didn't want to go home for chofesh - just lie on the beautiful beach.

I always think that Begin's willingness to give Sinai to the Egyptians was due to the fact that he had never been there, and had no idrea how beautiful it is.

Alex Stein said...

These are brilliant. Can you put up רק בארץ ישראל please?

Alex Stein said...

I mean רק בישראל

Anonymous said...

Thanks for these. It's so cool, the tags identifying the people. Loved the mini-skirts!


Anonymous said...

Thank you
I object to any singer being judged on his/her looks

when Pavarotti sings Rodolfo in case you have ears to hear you forget his girth with the first sound

I feel so passionate about it because there is this wonderful Thomas Quasthoff whom one can't hear as a vouthful lover on stage because of his body
... and are there black singers allowed to perform as Rodolfo?
All this labelled progressive nudity on stage hasn't come up with ideas to overcome these stupidities

Yaacov said...

Alex -

No problem. If you send me a blurb I'll post that, with it.

Alex Stein said...

I think I'll leave the blurbs to the experts!

Gavin said...

I'm quite taken with the Lahakat HaNachal version. That Yardena Arazi is a bit of a hottie.... not bad harmony either.