Dear Readers: Israel in the cross hairs, as my greatest fear for Egypt has been realized — the country has subsumed its ancient roots to toxic Saudi theocrats. It seems the Muslim Brotherhood has won the “Presidential Election” and their President-Elect has set-out the next goal: Make Jerusalem the capital.
So, in honor of Israel, I thought I would share the songs that started my passion for World Music, which many of you have indicated is an enjoyable aspect of the Shrine. First, I am featuring the Israeli singer Ofra Haza’s version of “Love Story” from the “Song of Songs“. It is sung a capella in Hebrew, and is fresh and amazing to hear today as it was when sung 20 years ago):
A translation (MUT Note – the term “Pharaoh” is used, a hat-tip to the Egyptophiles in the audience):
UPDATE: Courtesy of a comment from Lee, here is the passage:
The part of Song of Songs that Ofra Haza sings is from Chapter 8 (for 8.6, click HERE):
Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
And some background:
Set me as a seal upon thine heart – It was customary in the Levant and other places to make impressions of various kinds upon the arms, the breast, and other parts. I have seen these often: some slight punctures are made, and the place rubbed over with a sort of blue powder that, getting between the cuticle and cutis, is never discharged; it continues in all its distinctness throughout life. The figures of young women are frequently thus impressed on the arms and on the breasts. If the bride alludes to any thing of this kind, which is very probable, the interpretation is easy. Let me be thus depicted upon thine arm, which being constantly before thy eyes, thou wilt never forget me; and let me be thus depicted upon thy breast, the emblem of the share I have in thy heart and affections. Do this as a proof of the love I bear to thee, which is such as nothing but death can destroy; and do it to prevent any jealousy I might feel, which is as cruel as the grave, and as deadly as fiery arrows or poisoned darts shot into the body.
Haza was an Israeli singer of Yemenite Jewish origin, an actress and international recording star. I cannot stress how influential she was in initiating the “World Music” movement that many of us enjoy today! A review of her career is a must-read for any music aficionado — the Wiki entry provides an overview (another can be found HERE). A brief summary –
Inspired by a love of her Yemenite Jewish culture, the appeal of her musical art quickly spread to a wider Middle Eastern audience, somehow bridging the divide between Israel and the Arab countries. As her career progressed, Haza was able to switch between traditional and more commercial singing styles without jeopardizing her credibility. Her music fused elements of Eastern and Western instrumentation, orchestration and dance-beat. She became successful in Europe and the Americas; during her singing career, she earned many platinum and gold discs.
During the 80’s and 90’s she collaborated with many artists famous during this era — Thomas Dolby, Paula Abdul, Sarah Brightman, and Iggy Pop. Her work is featured on many soundtracks, several of which I own and highly recommend:
Sadly, she died in 2000 at the age of 42 of complications due AIDS frm an apparent blood transfusion. However, courtesy of YouTube and modern technology, her influence lives on. I am sure you will be seeing more of her songs in future editions. However, in light of the events in Egypt, I would like to give everyone an idea of the “new world order” in that country, courtesy of the second featured song “Daw Da Hiya”:
The song tells the story of Daw Da Hiya who was the youngest daughter and fell in love. Tradition demanded that she must wait until all her sisters were married before she could marry but her love was so great that she married anyway and soon became pregnant. As a result she was brought before the religious courts to face the judges who pronounced that for her crime she must die.
UPDATE – a side of Egyptology news that is related to all the chaos described in the first paragraph: Seventy Egyptian artefacts found in illegal possession are authenticated
The archaeological committee of the central administration for confiscated antiquities, led by Youssef Khalifa, verified the authenticity of a collection of ancient Egyptian objects that were found in the possession of three people in Giza… Minister of State for Antiquities Mohamed Ibrahim revealed on Monday that 70 out of the more than 110 objects found were authenticated, including:
- A collection of 17 late pharaonic period amulets, depicting the lioness goddess of joy and blessings, Sekhmet; the god of the universe, Toth; goddess of magic and life, Isis; god of the afterlife, Osiris and the fertility goddess, Tawert
- nine eye scarabs
- bronze spoons
- many coloured seeds of different shapes and sizes
- two sets of Roman and Islamic bronze coins
- glass bottles
Khalifa said that these objects were not registered with the ministry’s antiquities list, which means that they were stolen from illicit digging in archaeological sites.