Alongside the composition of original Hebrew songs, Israeli musicians invested heavily in the translation of foreign works into the language of modern Israel. Yehoram Gaon based his "Shalom Lakh Eretz Nehederet" on Arlo Guthrie's "City of New Orleans," Naomi Shemer transformed the Beatles' "Let it Be" into "Lu Yehi," and the hit duo the "Parvarim" even produced an entire album of Simon and Garfunkel sung in the language of Bialik and Agnon. What accounts for this vast corpus of foreign songs in Israeli music and what impact have such translations had on the development of Israeli culture? After surveying this significant, yet largely overlooked, phenomenon, this presentation will focus on a series of test cases and argue that the extensive translation of foreign songs into Hebrew paradoxically played a key role in the creation of an autonomous Israeli musical culture.
Found in Translation? Foreign Songs and the Creation of Israel Musical Culture
Daniel Stein Kokin
First Annual Program in Memory of Bernard Gilmore (z"l) sponsored by Phyllis Gilmore
Sponsor: Community Scholar Program (CSP)