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Lyr Add: Shir HaEmek - The Valley Song (Heb)

GUEST,Volgadon 20 Mar 08 - 11:15 PM
Rabbi-Sol 21 Mar 08 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,Volgadon 21 Mar 08 - 05:42 PM
Rabbi-Sol 22 Mar 08 - 09:10 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Shir HaEmek - The Valley Song (Heb)
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 20 Mar 08 - 11:15 PM

One of the classic Israeli songs. Surprised it hasn't made it's way to Mudcat before.
In the mid 1930s, a propoganda film called "LeChaim Chadashim" was made about pioneering Israel. A song was needed, so they asked the poet and lyricist Nathan Alterman to write the lyrics. The music was composed by Daniel Sambursky, a recent immigrant from Germany. He was one of the first to realise the danger posed by the Nazis.
The song Alterman and Sambursky came up with was called Shir HaEmek, the Valley Song. Sambursky performed the song along with members of Kibbutz Givat Brenner.
The valley is the Jezreel. Beit Alfa and Nahalal are settlements in the valley.
The original 'clip' can be watched here. It starts at around 4:20. The earlier bit is a different song by Sambursky. He was featured in an old Israeli TV prog.

Here is a more recent performance, though I was surprised to find that the singers were really Israeli.

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מ×", מ×"...

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מ×", מ×"...

Shir HaEmek

Ba'a m'nucha layage'a
umargo'a la'amel.
laila chiver mistare'a
al sdot emek Izra'el.
tal milmata ulevena ma'al
miBeit Alfa ad Nahalal.

Ma, ma laila mileil?
demama beIzra'el.
numa emek, eretz tif'eret
anu lecha mishemeret.

Yam hadagan mitnoe'a,
shir ha'eder metzaltzel,
zohi artzi usdoteha,
zehu Emek Izrae'l.
Tevorach artzi uteholal
miBeit Alfa ad Nahalal.


Ofel beHar haGilbo'a,
sus doher mitzel el tzel.
kol ze'aka af gavoha,
misdot Emek Izrae'l.
mi yara umi ze sham nafal
bein Beit Alfa uNahalal?


The Valley Song

Rest has come to the weary
and calm to the toiler.
A pale night unfolds
over the fields of the Jezreel Valley.
Dew below and a moon above
from Beit Alfa to Nahalal.

What, what from night to night?
Silence in the Jezreel.
Slumber valley, wondrous land,
we are your guard.

The sea of grain sways,
the song of the herd rings out,
this is my land and her fields,
this is the Jezreel Valley.
Blessed be my land and gloried
from Beit Alfa to Nahalal.


Gloom on Mount Gilboa,
a horse gallops from shade to shade.
A cry rises high,
from the fields of the Jezreel Valley.
Who fired and who fell
between Beit Alfa and Nahalal?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shir HaEmek - The Valley Song (Heb)
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 03:53 PM

I first learned this song in camp 57 years ago and it has always been one of my favorites. I always loved to sing it at a very slow tempo. It sounds much better that way than the current versions on Youtube. We only used to sing the first 2 stanzas and it is only recently that I discovered that a 3rd one existed.

The camp that I went to in the Catskills was Camp Maple Lake in Livingston Manor, NY. It was a very Zionist oriented camp and we learned many of the early songs of the pioneers (chalutzim), that dated back to when Israel first became a state. We had a music director at camp who was very famous in the field of Jewish music. His name was Seymour Silbermitz. He wrote a musical play for us to perform called "Song Of The Soil" and many of these songs were incorporated into that drama. Besides "Shir Haemek", others that come to mind are "Al Sfat Yam Kineret", "Kuma Echad", "B'Arvot Hanegev", "Shir Haavodah", "Yerushalayim (Me-al Pisgat Har Hatzofim)", "Havu Levenim", "Rad Halayla" "Shir Hapalmach" & Shir HaFinjan".

I particularly remember "Shir Haemek" because of the young pretty soloist who performed it. Her name was Norma Eilander and she had the sweetest alto voice that was as clear as a bell. A few years ago, at a camp reunion, I learned from her older sister that Norma has passed away, a victim of breats cancer. I was very saddened to learn about it and told her sister that Norma's performance of "Shir Haemek" will remain with me for as long as I live.

Sorry for the long and nostalgic ramble.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shir HaEmek - The Valley Song (Heb)
From: GUEST,Volgadon
Date: 21 Mar 08 - 05:42 PM

Interesting story, Sol. In the best versions I've heard, recorded and live, the tempo was slow, but still had a lilting feel. I'm not keen on the modern cover that I linked too, but it was the best available, apart from the original.
The 3rd verse is very Altermanish. He loved throwing in dramatic twists like that.
I went to school in Deganiya, a kibbutz on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. Seems like there wasn't an activity at which Saraleh Sharon, the grand dame of sing-alongs, didn't participate. We sang many of the songs you mentioned, especially "Al Sfat Yam Kinneret".
Every kid knows the Finjan song. If it doesn't qualify for folk-song, dunno what does.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Shir HaEmek - The Valley Song (Heb)
From: Rabbi-Sol
Date: 22 Mar 08 - 09:10 PM

I think that ALL of these songs should qualify as folk songs. And I am not saying that just because I am Jewish. I think that if Pete Seeger was still pro Israel as he was in his days back with The Weavers,many of thse songs would be more widely known as folk songs.


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