Ibn Gabirol Meets Rock ‘n Roll
The Forward has an article about an increased use of classical Jewish texts by Israeli musicians. Israeli music has always found inspiration in classical Jewish sources, both lyrically and thematically. One recent example is Berry Sakharof (Wikipedia entry: English, Hebrew) and Rea Mochiach’s recently released album Adumei ha-Sefatot. What makes this album unique is that all of the lyrics are poems by Shelomo ibn Gabriol, the 11th century intellectual giant who was a philosopher and Hebrew poet. You can read reviews of the album here in English, and here and here in Hebrew. Some of his poems can be found here in Hebrew and here in an older English translation, with a newer translation of them in Peter Cole’s Selected Poems of Solomon Ibn Gabirol. Here is an informative site with poems, biographical, and bibliographical information on Ibn Gabirol and other medieval Hebrew poets. Bialik and Ravinitzky’s collection of his poems in Hebrew can be found in PDF format here (nos. 117-121).
If you were wondering what makes Israeli music Jewish, this is a loud and clear example. On Friday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. Israel time, Sakharof will speak about Ibn Gabirol’s poetry on Galei Tzahal which can be heard here on streaming audio. Listen here for a preview.