I was listening to a music program of Middle Eastern music on KEXP the other day when this incredibly jaunty, joyful song aired. You don’t hear Hebrew too much on the public airwaves so I was immediately struck by this lovely Israeli song. After calling the DJ, I discovered that it was Mosh Ben Ari’s Im Rak Na’iz (hear it) from the new Putumayo Presents Israel collection. The song originally appeared on Ben Ari’s album, Derech (“Path”).
One thing that immediately struck me about the lyrics was that they were overtly political though not stridently so. And I always enjoy hearing popular music which addresses the Israeli-Arab conflict in a constructive way. The song is infectious with the repeating phrase “If We Only Dare” setting the tone of courage and hope.
OySongs provides this background on the performer:
Mosh Ben-Ari was born in Israel in 1970 from a Yemenite and Iraqi background. He first discovered music at the age of 16 through the traditional Jewish and ethnic chants that were part of his everyday life.
He studied music in many countries including India, the Sahara, and Sinai, learning string instruments such as acoustic & classic guitar, Indian sarod, Persian tar, Turkish jumbush, Moroccan ginberi, and bass. In 1997 he founded the world music ensemble Sheva, which has released 4 albums and continues to tour the world, playing the most prestigious festivals & events.
In 2001 Mosh’s debut album Ad Elay was released and followed by 2004’s Israeli Gold Album Derech. In 2006, Mosh’s third album Masa Umatan was released and was a great success.
Mosh’s music is a celebration of groove and spirit, blending rock, soul, reggae, and world music together with his rich, unique voice.
Here’s my rough translation of the lyrics (Hebrew lyrics):
O how we look and look again
The day flows by like yesterday and the day before
This is the same blue, the same bird in the sky
The same olive leaf which tomorrow may fall.
Come solve, rend the illusion of borders
That prevent the eyes from touching, from seeing
That finally the path flows to the same sea
And what is here between us is one great God.
If we only dare to look well into the eyes
To the place [from which] The One speaks
If we only dare to understand that in the meanwhile
To cry about it all
To laugh about it all…
When I hear such music I remain hopeful that peace can come despite all the bloodshed, despite all the hate.
Thanks for Richard Isaac’s translation and lyrics-finding help in preparing this post.