J.J. Goldberg

Arik Einstein: A Few of My Faves (with Translation)

By J.J. Goldberg

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Arik Einstein 1939-2013

It’s tough picking out the best, the most representative and my own favorites, so I went with my favorites and then narrowed it down. If you want a few more, try this selection from Haaretz or, if you don’t need translation, just check out YouTube (though if you don’t need translation there’s a pretty good chance you know the stuff anyway). Anyhow, here are my top eight:

Ani ve-Ata (You and I will change the world)

Words: Arik Einstein / Music: Miki Gavrielov

You and I will change the world / You and I, and then they’ll all follow / They’ve said it before, but that doesn’t matter / You and I will change the world.

You and I will try from the beginning / We’ll have it rough / But that doesn’t matter. It’s not so bad / Others have said it before, but that doesn’t matter / You and I will change the world.

x x x x x

Yachol Lihiyot Shezeh Nigmar (It could be it’s all over)

Yehonatan Gefen / Shem Tov Levy

They say things were happy here before I was born / And everything was wonderful until I arrived / A Hebrew watchman on a white horse in darkest night / On the shores of Lake Kinneret, Trumpeldor was a hero.

Little Tel-Aviv, red sands, one Bialik / Two sycamores, / Beautiful people / Full of dreams.

We came to the Land / To build and to be built, / Because this land is for us, for us, for us.

Here, where you see the grass, / It used to be only mosquitoes and swamps. / Once, they say, there was a wonderful dream here / But when I came to look, I didn’t find a thing.

It could be that it’s all over / It could be that it’s all over.

They say things were happy here before I was born / And everything was marvelous until I arrived / Palmach, campfire, black coffee and stars / The English, the underground and ‘The Palmach Pack of Tall Tales’ / A mustache and wild curls, a kafiyah ’round the neck, The Tales of Yaron Zahavi / (Natan) Alterman, The Adventures of Tamar, beautiful girls and short pants,

They had a reason to get up in the morning / Because this land is for us, for us, for us.

Here, where you see the grass, / It used to be only mosquitoes and swamps. / Once, they say, there was a wonderful dream here / But when I came to look, I didn’t find a thing.

It could be that it’s all over / It could be that it’s all over.

x x x x x

Uf Gozal (Fly, little bird)

Arik Einstein / Miki Gavrielov

My little birds have left the nest / Spread their wings and flew away / And I, an old bird, remained in the nest / Really hoping that everything will be alright.

I always knew the day would come / When we’d have to part / But now it came to me so suddenly / So what’s the wonder that I’m a bit concerned.

Fly, little bird / Slice the sky / Fly to wherever you want / Just don’t forget / There’s an eagle in the sky / Be careful…

We are now alone in the nest / But we are together / Hold me tight and tell me yes Do not worry, it’s fun to grow old together

Fly, little bird…

I know that it’s just nature / I also left a nest / But now when he comes the moment / I get choked up / I get choked up…

Fly, little bird…

x x x x x

Sa L’at (Drive slow) (en route to a concert at Kfar Aza, 1974)

Arik Einstein / Miki Gavrielov

We’re driving in the old car through the wet night / The rain got heavy again and you can’t see a meter ahead / Drive slow. / Zvi says rain like this hurts the farmers / And I think how warm it is at home / And the poor soldiers lying in the mud right now. / Drive slow, drive slow.

On the radio, a routine by the Gashash and suddenly the news comes on / Tonight there’ll be heavy hail. My windshield-wiper just died / Zvi says his head is getting cold, close a window / And I think, Hapoel lost again, and the poor fans eating their hearts out / Drive slow, drive slow.

Let your thoughts run free. They won’t start without us. / Drive slow, drive slow.

We’re driving in the old car through the wet night / Tomorrow I’ll get up early, you’ll see – it’ll be alright / Zvi says it’s hard for him to breathe and his drops ran out / And I think, I think about you and how you know how to spoil me. I love you / Drive slow, drive slow

Do you remember when we drove to Eilat / We went down to the water / Everybody was on the same wavelength / We sang Beatles in harmony /

We’re driving in the old car through the wet night / The rain got heavy again and you can’t see a meter ahead / Zvi says they discovered a planet with life on it / And I think, we’re getting near (G)Aza / And just don’t let some grenade come flying and blow us to Azazel (Hell) / Drive slow, drive slow

Let your thoughts run free. They won’t start without us. / Drive slow, drive slow.

We’re driving in the old car through the wet night.

x x x x x

Yeladim Shel Hachayim (Children of life)

Shalom Hanoch / Shalom Hanoch

My eyes are open without seeing the sky / Without seeing the blue of the sea, the green of a tree / Without hearing lovely melodies as I did before / Without seeing things as they are.

Little children / Big children / Good children / Bad children / You know, Mother / We’re all children of life.

I breathe, I’m wrapped in your arms / I see in you a warm home and a family / And a clear light in the windows that you open / I’m free, but I have no rest.

Little children…

The doctor is already speaking about the end of the road / But I can put an end to fear / My eyes are open to see the sky / To see the blue of the sea, the green of a tree.

Little children…

x x x x x

Ohev Lihiyot Babayit (I love to be home)

Arik Einstein / Miki Gavrielov

There are people who climb mountains / And people who jump from airplanes / There are people who ride horses / And those who burn up the miles.

But I love to be home / With tea and lemon and my old books / Yes, I love to be home / With the same old love and the same old habits / I love to be home.

There are people who hunt tigers / And people who dive for pearls / There are people who build towers / And those who fast for months.

But I love to be home…

There are people who are always searching / And people who are always discovering / There are people who walk tall / And never give up and want it all.

But I love to be home…

x x x x x

Yatzanu At (We went slowly out) (A song of 1948)

Haim Hefer / David Zahavi

We went slowly out / The night was pale / In the distances the lights shimmered / And you were as beautiful as your eyes / At that moment that you held back the tears.

The jackal howled and you went to the vineyard / And your tear flowed, burning like an angel’s wing / And you remembered the hours before / We followed the narrow path out to battle. (x2)

And you remembered our laughter, so like a stream / And you remembered the harmonica and the dance / And you remembered the haystacks / And the touch of the hand of the only one.

And if you’re left behind and loneliness closes in / And you step slowly through the vineyard / You’ll wait, then, so quietly. / We parted, gazing, with a smile. (x2)

x x x x x

Yesh Li Ach Katan (I have a little brother)

Arik Einstein / Shem Tov Levy

I have a little brother who just came into the world / Doesn’t talk, doesn’t walk, a little brother. / He has blue eyes that laugh and cry / a button nose, golden curls much loved.

And everybody loves him and plays with him / They don’t seem to know that I’m still little. / Everybody loves him and forgets about me / Because I’m a little too grown up for the grown-ups.

I have a little brother who doesn’t go to kindergarten yet / He just plays all day, just so / I can fly a balloon and I finish kindergarten today / Tie my own shoelaces and build houses much faster than a baby.

And everybody loves him …

I have a little brother who just came into the world / Button nose, golden curls, a much-loved brother.

x x x x x

Ve’ulai (And perhaps) (A remembrance of Degania)

Rachel Bluwstein / Yehuda Sharett

And perhaps these things never were / And perhaps / I never rose at dawn to the garden / To work it by the sweat of my brow / Never, on long days, on long, hot days of harvest / From high atop a wagon loaded with sheaves / Did I raise my voice in song / Never did I wash in the peaceful blue, and the innocence / Of my Kinneret / O, my Kinneret / Did you exist, or did I dream a dream?


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