Israel’s Army Singing Bands – A window into the Israeli Society

The road to understand Israel goes through its military singing bands. The history of Israel, its humor, its pain, its hope, and its evolution is all reflected in songs performed by  young Israeli performers at the beginning of their careers.

The history of the Israeli army singing bands began in WWII, before the State of Israel existed, when they performed in front of Israeli Jewish soldiers. The popularity of the army’s singing bands reached its peak in the 60s and 70s, when they dominated the Israeli music industry. Most of the top Israeli actors, singers, and musicians from that period, received their initial training in one of the army ‘s singing bands.

Outside Israel, one of the most famous actor-singer of that period is the Chaim Topol, who later played the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof on the world’s largest stages.

In Israel, even today, many of the country’s young performers still get their initial training in military bands. However, they do not get the instant push to the top of music industry that their predecessors received in the 60s and 70s. For them, it is just a first step in an uphill climb in the crowded Israeli music world .

Getting to know Israel, is getting to know its songs.

The videos below include some of the most famous performances of Israeli military bands from different periods.

 

 

Hallelujah (Hebrew translation)

 

Shivchey Maoz

 

Winter ’73 (Choref  Shivim veshalosh)

Winter 1973

We are the children of winter 1973

You dreamed us first at dawn at the end of the battles

You were tired men that thanked their good luck

You were worried young women and you wanted so much to love

When you conceived us with love in winter 1973

You wanted to fill up with your bodies that what the war finished

And we were born the country was wounded and sad

You looked at us you hugged us you were trying to find comfort

When we were born the elders blessed with tears in their eyes

They said:” we wish those kids will not have to go to the army”

And your faces in the old picture prove

That you said it form the bottom of your hearts

When you promised to do every thing for us

To make an enemy into a loved one

You promised a dove,

an olive tree leaf,

you promised peace

You promised spring at home and blossoms

You promised to fulfill promises, you promised a dove

We are the children of winter 1973

We grew up and now in the army

with our weapon and helmet on our heads

We know how to make love to laugh and cry

We are men we are women

and we too dream about babies

This is why we will not pressure you we will demand of you

And we will not threaten you

When we were young you said promises need to be kept

We will give you strength if that is what you need

We will not hold back

We just wanted to whisper

We are the children of that winter in the year 1973

You promised a dove,

an olive tree leaf,

you promised peace

You promised spring at home and blossoms

You promised to fulfill promises,

you promised a dove

 

Haiti Naar (I was a boy)

 

Ma Avarech  (with what shall I bless him)

with what shall I bless him

with What shall I bless him, how should he be blessed, this child? demanded the angel
with What shall I bless him, how should he be blessed, this child? demanded the angel

And he blessed with a smile as pure as light. and he blessed with eyes, big and seeing, to grasp every flower, and life and bird. and he blessed him with a heart to feel all these sights.

What shall I bless him, how he should be blessed, this youth? demanded the angel
What shall I bless him, how he should be blessed, this youth? demanded the angel

So he blessed him with legs to dance to the end, a soul to remember all the compositions, a hand that gathers shells on the beach and a tentative ear to listen to the young and the old

What shall I bless him, how he should be blessed, this young man? demanded the angel
What shall I bless him, how he should be blessed, this young man? demanded the angel

and he blessed that his flower used hands, will manage to learn the force of the steal, his legs will dance the dust of the roads, and lips will sing the rhythm of commands.

What shall I bless him, how he should be blessed, this man? demanded the angel
What shall I bless him, how he should be blessed, this man? demanded the angel

I’ve given him all that I can,
a song, a smile, legs to dance, a gentle hand and a singing heart,
with what more could I bless him?

What shall I bless him, how he should be blessed, this child, this gentle youth?
What shall I bless him, how he should be blessed, this child, this gentle youth?

this boy, now he is an angel,
no one will bless him again, and he will never be blessed.
oh, god, god, god, if you only blessed him with – life.

 

A Paratrooper Song

 

Carnaval

 

Friendship (Reut)

Friendship
On the Negev an autumn night drops
And lighting the stars quietly
While the wind pass on the threshold
Clouds walk on the rode.
Already a year, we almost didn’t noticed
How times have passed in our fields
Already a year, we remained so few
So many are no longer among us.
But we’ll remember them all
Their forelock and good looking
Because friendship like this will never
Permit our heart to forget
Love sacred with blood
You will ones more bloom among us
Friendship, we bear you with no words
Gray, stubborn and silent
From the nights of terrible terror
You Remained clear and lighten
Friendship, as all of your youths
Again in your name we will smile and go foreword
Because friends that have fallen on their sword
Left your life as a monument
And we’ll remember them all…

Come to the Sea

 

Flowers in the gun

 

Tribute to the army singing bands

 

 

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