May 12, 2005

Old Country Music

Until I met Amritas on the Internet, I had only one friend who shared my interest in linguistics: Richard Isaac, whom I met in school at University of Pennsylvania. But, as fate would have it, I went east to Israel and he went west to Seattle, and I haven't seen him in close to twenty years. The years have taken us in different directions not only only of the compass. One thing I didn't know, though I should have been able to predict: he has a great radio personality.

Richard has recently hosted the KBCS radio show, "The Old Country" with an hour-long feature about Israeli music. You can listen to it here (or here) - you won't be disappointed!

Here are first lines of Biladi, a rap song, one of a wide variety of songs featured on the show:

אמא אדמה שלי
לא שלי כל מה שהיה שלי
אפילו המדינה שלי,סכנה שלי
הפכה להיות שק חבטות ליציאות
בינלאומיות שיקבעו לי אם להיות או לא להיות

Ima adama sheli
Lo sheli kol ma shehaya sheli
Afilu hamdina sheli, sakana sheli
Hafkha lihyot saq habatot lisi'ot
Beynl'umi'ot sheyiqb`u li im lihyot o lo' lihyot

Mother earth of mine
Not mine all that was mine
Even my country, my danger
Turned into a punching bag for goings-out
International [goings-out] that will determine for me if [I am] to be or not to be

Later in the song:

זה לא העם שלי יפי נפש, הזיות
יפי נפש, בתוך רפש לא יכול להיות
אבל אנחנו כאן ואף פעם לא נלך מכאן
הציונות בדם היהודי שמכבד איסלאם
וגם נצרות ובודהיזם גם כן את כולם

Ze lo' ha`am sheli y'fey nefesh, hazayot
Y'fey nefesh, b'tokh refesh lo' yakhol lihyot
Aval anahnu kan v'af pa`am lo' nelekh mikan
Hasiyonut badam hay'hudi shem'khabed islam
V'gam nasrut v'budhism gam ken et kulam

This is not my people beautiful souls, hallucinations
Beautiful souls, inside filth cannot be
But we are here and we will never go away from here
Zionism is in the blood the Jew that respects Islam
And also Christianity and Buddhism also all the rest

The term y'fey nefesh, which I translated (almost) literally as 'beautiful souls' (more literally: beauties of soul) might be more accurately translated in this context as 'bleeding hearts'. The word kulam can mean 'all of them' or 'everybody', I settled on 'all the rest' in this translation.

Posted by David Boxenhorn at May 12, 2005 12:20 AM | TrackBacks
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