Sunday, July 22, 2007



When I came here in 1975 I had no Hebrew at all. Well - technically that's not absolutely true. I could say "eema" (mother) and "abba" (father). "Ken" (yes) and "lo" (no). And I knew three sentences - which I had learned at the Ulpan at the Jewish Agency Building in New York. "Yesh po shemesh? Ken, yesh po shemesh rak ba boker." (Is there sun? Yes, there is sun only in the morning.) A sentence I have had one or two occasions to use - and a sentence I have never had occasion to use - never ever - "Ha gvina ha levana al ha shulchan ha katan". (The white cheese is on the small table.) That's sort of like the first sentence everyone learns in French "La plume de ma tante est sur la bureau de mon oncle" (My aunt's pen is on my uncle's desk.) - another of those sentences which no one ever uses.

I also had no idea who the popular music stars of the day were - except for Yoram Gaon, Yaffa Yarkoni and Shoshana Damari...whose music had made it to New York.

So that when I arrived here and began to listen to the radio and heard the popular songs and popular singers I became very excited with the music. And the first three records I bought -- 12 inch 33 1/3 LPs - no tapes or CDs then -- were by "Poogy", "Chocolat, Menta, Mastik" and Shalom Hanoch. "Poogy" and "Chocolat, Menta, Mastic" disbanded long ago - Shalom Hanoch is still going strong.

As I said, I had no Hebrew and so couldn't understand the words - and, therefore, had no idea what a fabulous songwriter Shalom Hanoch was/is - but his music really turned me on.

And so it was that last Thursday night Marallyn and Shosh and I went to a "live" Shalom Hanoch concert. The man has never been out of fashion - that's 32 years - and he was singing even before I got here.

There's a relatively new club across the road from my house called "Hamabada" (The Laboratory) which is a small and intimate venue and which I visited for the first time during the Film Festival a week or so ago.

It's a sort of theatre-in-the-"U" - not quite a theatre-in-the-round - and we were sitting along one side of the "U" so that we had a great view of the stage and also of the audience. What can I tell you - Shalom Hanoch and his accompanist, Moshe Levi - who is so much more than that, a really fabulously talented musician in his own right - sang and played for two hours without a break. And Israeli audiences being what we are - we sang along with him. And clapped in time to the music. And waved - well, at one time the audiences waved cigarette lighters and candles - but as that's not allowed anymore we waved lighted cell phones! Keeping up with the times, I guess. And no, we weren't being rude or disruptive - we were encouraged to participate.

There were two young boys - they couldn't have been more than about 16 years of age - sitting in the front row facing the stage - and they knew every single word of every single song - along with the appropriate hand gestures. The audience represented three generations!! Can you imagine such an evening? When I looked out over the audience I noticed that there was no one just sitting still - each and every one of us was moving in time to the music. I'm still on a high. He promised to come back to Jerusalem and sing for us again - I'll be first on line to buy tickets.

In the meantime, Marallyn and I are going to see Ninette next week - can anything measure up to Shalom?

Yalla, Bye.

shalom lekulam!
help me to write biographies of great personnalities of
You can also write a letter to this personnalities!
I post your letter for you
a bientot
marcel - France
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