Arik Einstein – The soundtrack to the country

“I just heard on the news that AriK Einstein was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition, my daughter texted me from Tel Aviv, a year ago, almost to the date. Shortly after that she texted me again “ They just announced that he died in the hospital from a ruptured aneurysm.”

I was surprised that she knew who he was since for most of her life she grew up in America. Yet, one couldn’t live in Israel, even for a short period of time, without hearing his songs and not falling in love with them and with him.

Arik Einstein, the legendary Israeli singer, passes away at age of 74, on November 26, 2013.  Arik Einstein, was considered Israel’s most popular singer and songwriter. His sudden death caused a national outpouring of grief and nostalgia. Following his death, on the following  day, over ten thousands people gathered in Rabin Square in Tel-Aviv to say goodbye to him.

Arik Einstein was hardly known outside of Israel. In Israel, however, he was extremely popular. A year before his death, he was voted in Israel as the best Israeli singer of all time.

While still in high school, he became Israel’s champion in High Jump.  He remained an avid sport fan for the rest of his life, however, he abandoned sport to focus on his career as performing artist. He started recording in the 1960s.

Throughout his career he recorded close to 50 records. His songs collection included, funny songs, love songs, children songs, and songs about painful subjects such as saying goodbye to prime minister Itzhak Rabin after he was murdered. We all grew up on his songs. He was the Israeli Bob Dylen and much more.

He was known for his modesty, his great sense of humor and his down-to-earth lifestyle. Arik Einstein was an actor, a singer, and a songwriter. He had a talent for recognizing highly talented unknown musicians and boost their careers by recording and performing with them as equals.

In 1981 he stopped performing in front of live audiences. In interviews he later said that he was a shy person and that live performances were just too difficult for him. He turned down million dollars live concerts offers. He lived a humble life in a small modest apartment in Tel Aviv where he continued to write songs.

His songs were unique in a sense that they were about topics that many people could relate to and feel that he was one of their closest friends. Generations of Israelis were raised on his songs.

After his death, Prime Minister Netanyahu said that  Einstein’s songs were “the soundtrack to the country.”

Below are some of his most famous songs (lyrics and videos):

 

Uf Gozal  (Fly, little bird)

My little birds have left the nest

Spread their wings and flew away

And I, an old bird, remained in the nest

Really hoping that everything will be alright.

I always knew the day would come

When we’d have to part

But now it came to me so suddenly

So what’s the wonder that I’m a bit concerned.

Fly, little bird

Cut through the sky

Fly to wherever you want

Just don’t forget

There’s an eagle in the sky

Be cautious…

We are now alone in the nest

But we are together

Hold me tight and tell me yes

Do not worry, it’s fun to grow old together

Fly, little bird…

I know that it’s just nature

I also left a nest

But now when he comes the moment

I get choked up (in the throat)

I get choked up…

Fly, little bird…

UF GOZAL

 

ZEMER NUGE (A SAD MELODY)

Will you hear my voice my far-away one
Will you hear my voice where-ever you are
A voice calling with strength, crying in my blood.
Over time it sends a blessing.

Planet/land so big and has many roads
we meet for a moment, separate forever.
A man asks, but his legs fail,
He can never find that which he has lost.

The last of my days is already/so close perhaps
Already/so near is the day of goodbye tears.
I will wait for you until my life will end ,
like Rachel’s wait for her lover.

ZEMER NUGE (A SAD MELODY)

 

San Francisco

Chorus:

Sitting in San Francisco by the water

I rinse my eyes in blue and green

It’s beautiful in San Francisco by the water

so how is it that I feel so far away.

 

In front of me the ducks,

roaming amongst the boats

and the Golden Gate Bridge,

beautiful like in a movie

it’s a shame you’re not here with me to see

you’d say you’re not returning from here

Chorus…

I see Doctor J, tear down the nets

and Kareem Abdul Jabbar, touching the sky

it’s a shame you’re not here with me to see

It’s so beautiful in San Francisco by the water

Chorus…

Suddenly I want to go home, back to the swamp

to sit in Kasit and laugh with Moshe and Chatskl

Give me a pieace of Mount Tabor and Kinneret

I love to fall in love with my little land of Israel

warm

and charming

Chorus…

SAN FRANCISCO

 

ATUR MITZCHECH (YOUR FOREHEAD IS DECORATED)

Your forehead is gold black
(I don’t remember if they wrote thus in a song)
Your forehead is threaded with eyes and light
(I don’t remember if they rhymed thus in a song)
But for whom you will be
His life is full of song.

Your pink robe is woolly and soft
You wrap yourself in it always in the time of night.
I would not like to be a brother to you.
Not a monk praying to his effigy of an angel.
And seeing sad dreams of holiness
And opposite him, you are a woman…

You love to be
sad and silent
To hear a story about a relative or distance.
And I, that not once will look at you quietly
Have no voice and words
Forget everything about others.
My soul lives between the walls of your house
And is captured between your walls
Is separated from me.
When I in my body are separated from you.

Spread out is my dream like a carpet for your feet.
Step, oh Loved One, on its flowers your steps
Wear your pink robe for the time of night
Yet a little [time] and I will come to you.

And your forehead is adorned gold and black
It will come near to my lip like a rhyme to a song
Then I will whisper in your ears till morning, till light
Like someone drunk…
Your forehead is gold black

ATUR MITZCHECH (YOUR FOREHEAD IS DECORATED) 

 SHALOM CHAVER

KOL ECHAD ROTZE (EVERYONE WANTS)

ANI VE ATA (YOU AND I) 

You and I we’ll change the world

you and I by then all will follow

Others have said it before me but

doesn’t matter you and I we’ll change the world.

 

You and I we’ll try from the beginning

it will be tough for us, no matter, it’s not too bad!

Others have said it before me but it

doesn’t matter you and I we’ll change the world.

ANI VE ATA (YOU AND I) 

 

AGADAT DESHEH (TALE OF GRASS)

There’s a pile of young people on the grass

I like these kind of things

Boys & girls together, it’s nice that

There’s courage sometimes to mix

 

Singing songs and looking up above

A cloud up there in the moon is soaping up

Thinking who to fall in love with tonight

Though this kind of pondering is nothing but annoying

 

Under my head lies a thigh

And on my belly a bundle of curls is tossed

Slowly hands going down the road

And their path is long and complicated

 

We finish singing and listen intently

Between us whispers wriggle

There are infiltrations among the grass

Becuase there are all kinds of bumps in it

 

Because sleep falls on me

I can’t locate once more

Whose hand is the one which crawled over me

And turns my body into a piano

 

And when I wake up no one’s on the grass

Just a little chilly and wet from dew

And to my surprise I see that

The same bundle of curls is tossed across me

 

And from it eye laugh at me

And from it a neck shines

I ask, “hey, what’s up?”

She, smiling, answers: “nothing…”

Asking: “You slept as well?”, she answers: “not really.”

And her answer embarrasses me

Asking: “So what are you actually doing here?”

Her lips whisper, “I’m with you…”

 

I keep quiet, she bites her lips

I keep quiet and my hands are so heavy

Suddenly she turns and walks away

And I still keep quiet there…


Come on, enough…..

 

AGADAT DESHEH

 

Prague

on the dreaming city
a heavy and unfamiliar shadow has emerged
and the moon is in red
dipped his glory in soot

he who did not close his eyes
hurt the bitter night
silence of surrender with no battle
men locked their weapons till death

how on prague the dawn never came
on the third it’s power was gone
how quiet the busy square had become
a song i’ve been dreaming of prague
a song i’ve been dreaming of prague
there the dawn would come
there the dawn would come

like an old yellow photo
a city of ghosts rests
at the foot of deaf bears
and to her neck the slaughtering knife

no one leaves home
salty smell of ghettos
from one edge to the other
carried by the wind throughout the town

how on prague the dawn never came…

only the silence is left in her
a young man suddenly evades
then a strange light arose
there, at the dead city square

a song i’ve been dreaming of prague..

Prague

 

OD NIPAGESH (WE WILL MEET AGAIN)

 

A MEMORIAL SPECIAL FOR ARIK EINSTEIN (IN HEBREW)

 

A RARE INTERVIEW WITH ARIK EINSTEIN IN 2000 (IN HEBREW)

 

Tribute to Arik Einstein in 2011

 

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