Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Second childhood

I drove up with Duyvken to the mountains on Moday to visit Mary. I sat in the front of Duyvken's van and listened to her three children talking, singing, crying, arguing, explaining, asking, giggling, laughing and much much more. They are a special cache of jewels that Duyvken gang. Still haven't met Garnet (she's at school these days), but Gem, Charm and Jewel certainly kept me entertained.

After a hug with Mary and a cup of tea in her beautiful home Kim arrived with her two youngest lovies - Jasper and Grover. A couple of dimpled darlings those boys are, scrumptious vanilla puddings. Yum.

Being surrounded by these little ones made me reminisce about my own children's earlier days, and also about my own childhood. I had a very happy childhood, and many of my best memories are from the years I spent in Israel (until I was 8 years old). I had the good luck to have been a child during the years that Ehud Manor was writing songs for and about his own children. In fact, most of the greatest popular Israeli musicians of the 1970s wrote for children as well as for adults, without bright colours or branding or cutesy names, they simply wrote and performed from their heart and captured the essence of childhood, thereby entertaining young and old alike. I had an extraordinarily innocent childhood.

Ehud Manor wrote many songs about his daughters and son - Gali, Libby and Yehuda. I couldn't find many of my favourites, but I did find this one titled "Son." This was a song which I remember loving and singing when I was probably under 10 years old, and yet now I listen to the words and I marvel at the adult beauty of the lyrics. The song is sung directly by a parent to his/her son, who is up in the middle of the night, explaining to him why he mustn't wake the girls up and why he must understand that he won't always be able to get his own way, and then giving up and saying "All right, let's go look at the sunrise together." Ehud Manor wrote "Ben" for his son decades ago, and yet it is still such a beautiful part of my parenting psyche.

Anybody still watch the Eurovision? Well...I clearly remember a time when the Eurivision was the highlight of my year, when the songs spoke to me and made me happy...even as a young girl. Ehud Manor wrote this song ("Abanibi") and I think it may have won that year. The chorus is made up of a type of Hebrew pig latin and means "I love you." That was my favourite song for an entire year.

Ehud Manor was also famous for his collaboration with another Israeli musician - Matti Caspi. Many of the most-loved songs of the 70s and 80s were a combination of Caspi's music and Manor's lyrics. "Binyamina" is a song which I found myself humming on the way back home from the mountains on Monday. Binyamina is the village where Ehud Manor grew up, and the song is a love song to his "barefoot days" there - where people said hello, where a friend was a friend, where someone would invite you in to taste some of their home-made jam (hello Kim!). In this clip I think Caspi was overseas so he sang the song for Manor long-distance. These two men wrote this song together, and here one is performing it for the other. I think that the look on Manor's face sums up everything I feel about the magic of childhood and the hold it has on one's adult life.

When Ehud Manor died 4 years ago he was buried in Binyamina and his fellow musicians played his songs for him.


kim at allconsuming said...

You are so funny.

You know, not in my wildest dreams would I have been able to tie together a visit to Mary in the Mountains with some Israeli singer, let alone Eurovision.


Meanwhile, my post is all about how to head west by going north.

Eleanor said...

You know Kim, as I was about to publish this post I thought to myself "I bet I get some very funny comments." It's YOU who are funny, I'm the straight man!

Blue Mountains Mary said...

Oh see I was very moved by this post - that last song I played twice - and the emotion on the older man's face brought tears to my eyes.

Such a loving post Eleanor.

Duyvken said...

Beautiful, Eleanor. You are so polite about my children, I can't stand it. I, of course, think they are divine and love all the banter and interruptions and craziness but I have that dna connection with them that drives me to protect them and not leave them on the side of the road :-)

Hopefully our next road trip (oh yes, there will be another) will be a more peaceful affair and we'll actually get to chat.

Eleanor said...

Mary - I was hoping that the music would touch people no matter the language of the words, and I am so very pleased that you were moved by it.

Duyvken - Next time...I want to drive...just for the fun and craziness of having J give me directions!!

eurolush said...

Sounds like a fun day.

Not jealous!

Not jealous!

Still not jealous!

Okay, I'm jealous. Hugs to all!

Tuli said...

I loved that last song!