Friday, May 15, 2015

Mishehu Pa'am, Someone Once

In the coming months you'll be hearing even more than previously about nationalist, chauvinist, nigh-fascist and of course extreme far-right Israel and its ghastly government and policies. Since I'm forbidden to deal with overtly poitical issues, I won't be required to pontificate about any or it. To be honest, I don't even expect to spend much time listening to the cacaphony, nor worrying about it. I'm too busy, at work and in life, and am slowly weaning myself from decades of political junkie-ism. It's not that I no longer care, but I'm learning to control my need for a permanent stream of poitical data. Better to wait a bit and think, rather than inbibe limitless quantities.

(Followers of my Twitter account will have noticed that I'm much less active than previously. About two months ago I experimentally deleted it from by mobile phone, and have never looked back.)

So here's an installment in the Shirim Ivri'im thread that was once popular on this blog. (Explanation here and here). I present it because it's an interesting shir, but mostly because it's from one of the many parts of Israeli life which aren't about the stuff you get from the media.

Ivri Lider Is a talented and popular writer and preformer of Hebrew songs. Here's his website. The piece is called Mishehu Pa'am, Someone once. It has nine stanzas, eight of which begin with the line Mishehu pa'am ahav oti kacha, which seems a straightforward sentence until you look closely. It means someone once loved me this way. Or perhaps loved me as I am. Or loved me in the way I'm about to tell. Or even, possibly, someone once loved me in spite of (our difference in age, or our incompatability, or the sheer recklesness of it all, or...)

Not a bad trick, to have more than seven or eight possible meanings to a three-word half-sentence. Upon reflection, even the first unequivoal two words, Mishehu paam, aren't that unequivocal. They mean a man once loved me, a woman (the gender formultion is clear). Or do they? Lider is unabashed about his homosexuality, and his voice is a bit feminine. So who is he really talking about?

The first seven stanzas describe the evolving relationship they once had, in which the un-named Someone pursued Me intensely and in spite of all obstacles, and it was nice, and powerful, and wonderful, and complicated, and painful. The eighth stanza says "so somone once left me kacha and got on a plane and went to live his full life elsewhere". Which brings us to the final, subdued and sad stanza, about someone who once loved me kacha and played me Mozart from old records, but I wasn't listening to the music...

Now watch the official Youtube version. It has been watched two and a half million times, mostly by Hebrew spearkers I assume, so the number is all the more impressive, though it really does speak for itself in a universal language. And remind yourself how silly those media reports are, how narrow-minded and blinkered.


Barry Meislin said...

"Kacha" could also mean "so-so" (that is, in a ho-hum kind of way, or not very specially).

File under: Ashrei ha'am sheh-kacha lo..."(?)

David said...

What a beautiful song, and the video transforms gives it dimensions that words alone cannot provide: The people of all ages and many races, all physically vulnerable in their apparent nakedness and many visibly emotionally vulnerable.

Thanks so much for posting this.