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5 Israeli Eurovision Songs Posted by on May 8, 2017 in Music

Israel has preformed 40 songs since her first appearance in the Eurovision Songs Contest at 1973. Let’s listen to five of the greatest Israeli Eurovision songs:

Official logo of the Eurovision Song Contest

 

Ahava Hi Shir Lishnayim / Ilanit (1977)

Ilanit was the first Israeli singer to represent Israel at the Eurovision Contest in 1973. At the age of 25, with a unique voice and brilliant performance, she won fourth place. No wonder she was chosen to represent Israel again four years later. This time she didn’t score so high, but Israel gained an elegant ballad about love. The romantic title “Ahava Hi Shir Lishnayim” means ‛love is a song for two’. One of my favorite sentences from the song says: ‟I’m like a string, designed for one melody, your melody”.

Lyrics:

כן, כן, זה שוב מתנגן
זמר שיר ישן נושן
שנכתב מחדש בשבילך
אשיר אותו לך

ושוב עונים הכינורות
אף אני כמו מיתר שנועד למנגינה אחת –
למנגינה שלך

ישירו השמיים
אהבה היא שיר לשניים
העולם כולו צוחק אלי ושר
כמה טוב, כמה טוב!

ישירו השמיים
אהבה היא שיר לשניים
כי שירי הוא השיר שלך

כן, כן, זה שוב מתנגן
זמר שיר ישן נושן
שהיום פה בשניים נשיר,
בשניים נשיר
כי השיר לא נגמר
תמיד הוא יושר, תמיד!

ישירו השמיים…

Place: 11th

Interesting fact: the Israeli TV didn’t have enough budget to send backing vocalists with Ilanit; so they hired three British singers who had to twist their tongue and learn the song in Hebrew.

 

A-Ba-Ni-Bi / Izhar Cohen + Alpha Beta (1978)

The first Israeli song to win the Eurovision Contest was composed of not only Hebrew, but also the Bet language. Bet is the name of the second letter in the Hebrew Aleph Bet. The Bet language is a children’s language game where each syllable of the word is repeated with the letter Bet replacing the consonant. For example, in the title of the song: ani (‛I’ in Hebrew) becomes a-ba-ni-bi in this children’s language. I never played with this language as a child, but my parents – contemporaries of the singer – did and enjoyed it very much. The sweet melody about children’s love won first place at the Eurovision in 1978, and according to the contest rules, awarded Israel her first (and only) hosting of the contest the following year, marking the first time that the Eurovision would take place outside geographical Europe.

Lyrics:

א-ב-ני-בי או-בו-ה-בב
א-ב-ני-בי או-בו-ה-בב או-בו-ת-בך.

כשהיינו ילדים
אהבנו בסודי סודות.
אל מי היינו נחמדים?
רק לדודים ולדודות.

והבנות המסכנות סבלו,
המתוקות הן רק מכות קיבלו.
ואת מה שהרגשנו באמת
לחשנו רק בשפת ה”בית”.

א-ב-ני-בי…

אהבה,
היא מילה יפה,
היא תפילה יפה,
היא שפה.
אהבה,
היא אלי טובה,
היא תמיד תתגבר
ובשפת אהבה
נדבר.

א-ב-ני-בי…

אני חולם וקם שלוש מילים.
ומהו העולם? – שלוש מילים.
וזה מה שאני מרגיש כעת,
ממש כמו אז בשפת ה”בית”.

א-ב-ני-בי…

Place: 1st

Interesting fact: the Israeli songwriter didn’t believe the song would actually win. He came to the contest wearing jeans and sandals. When it became clear they won, he changed clothes with the composer’s husband before going on stage.

 

Hallelujah / Gali Atari and Milk & Honey (1979)

The only song in the history of the contest to bear a religious theme and to win the Eurovision. A year after her first winning in the contest, Israel hosted the contest in Jerusalem, and won again! Not with a bouncing children’s song composed of a specific Israeli children’s language, but with an exciting ballad composed of a universal religious word. Israel chose not to host the contest again in 1979, due to the high costs involved in producing this contest, and eventually didn’t even participate because it was conducted during the Day of the Memory for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel.

Lyrics:

הללויה לעולם,
הללויה ישירו כולם
במילה אחת בודדה
הלב מלא בהמון תודה
והולם גם הוא – איזה עולם נפלא.

הללויה עם השיר,
הללויה על יום שמאיר,
הללויה על מה שהיה,
ומה שעוד לא היה –
הללויה.

הללויה לעולם
הללויה ישירו כולם
והענבלים הגדולים
יהדהדו בהמון צלילים
ואתנו הם יאמרו, הללויה.

הללויה עם השיר…

הללויה על הכל
הללו על מחר ואתמול
הללויה, ותנו יד ביד
ושירו מלב אחד –
הללויה.

Place: 1st

Interesting fact: On Fool’s Day 1979, the Israeli Radio Station announced Hallelujah as the new national anthem.

 

Diva / Dana International (1998)

In 1998, Israel not only celebrated her 50th independence day, but also her third (and so far her last) winning at the Eurovision Song Contest. Dana International, the first transgender to perform on the Eurovision stage, got first place and brought pride to Israel and the LGBT community. 19 years after Hallelujah, Dana performed with a catchy pop song about girl power. Without the peace and harmony theme, but with short lyrics, lots of verses, international words and dance music, Diva became one of the Eurovision greatest hits.

Lyrics:

ש אישה גדולה מהחיים
יש חושים שיש רק לה
יש קסמים ויש ימים קשים
ובמה שהיא כולה שלה

למלאכים דיווה היא אימפריה
על הבמה דיווה היא היסטריה
היא כולה שיר אהבה

ויוה נריע, ויוה ויקטוריה, אפרודיטה
ויוה לדיווה, ויוה ויקטוריה, קליאופטרה

יש נשים, דמעות של החיים
הן ישאו תפילה ללא מילים

למלאכים דיווה היא אימפריה
על הבמה דיווה היא היסטריה
היא כולה שיר אהבה

ויוה נריע…

Place: 1st

Interesting fact: Like Ilanit, Dana was sent again to the Eurovision stage, 13 years after her great performance. Like Ilanit, she didn’t relive her success, and got only to the 15th place at the semi-finals.

 

Golden Boy / Nadav Guedj (2015)

Five Israeli reality TV show stars were sent to represent Israel in the Eurovision Contest between the years 2005-2014. Some of them succeeded better than professional singers did. This is why an Israeli interactive reality singing competition (The Next Star) was given the opportunity by the Israel Broadcasting Authority to declare its winners as Israel ’s representatives in Eurovision. The first winner was a 16-year-old boy named Nadav Guedj. His song was, in my opinion, the best one since Diva. It didn’t score like Diva though, but did become a hit. Judge by yourself:

Lyrics:

Mama, someone broke my heart again

Tell her I don’t think I can take it anymore

Mama, someone broke my heart again

Now I’m gonna ease my pain

Dancing on the floor

Take me out,
I’m not in the mood for a broken heart
Gonna dance tonight, forget her
No, she doesn’t know
What I’m doing on the floor
Did you say hello, my ladies?

Pull me baby, I’m your trigger
You know that my love is bigger
Love, Love, Love

Let the rhythm take us higher
You know when I’m on fire
Check me out (3-2-1 hey!)

I’m a golden boy
Come here to enjoy
I’m the king of fun
Let me show you how we do it
I’m a golden boy
Come here to enjoy
And before I leave
Let me show you Tel Aviv

Hold me tight,
We’re not going home tonight
Oh yeah, do you like my dancing?

Pull me baby, I’m your trigger
You know that my love is bigger
Check me out (3-2-1- hey!)

I’m a golden boy
Come here to enjoy
I’m the king of fun
Let me show you how we do it
I’m a golden boy
Come here to enjoy
And before I leave
Let me show you Tel Aviv

This is how we do it!
This is how we do it!
ok we gotta go three minutes bye bye

Place: 9th

Interesting fact: It’s the first Israeli song on the Eurovision Contest to be sung entirely in English.

 

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