In reaction to the latest intifada,
retro pop and community
singing are undergoing
Special to the Jewish News
t is no secret that war is an
ugly business. But, somehow,
when the confrontational going
gets tough, musicians have a
habit of rallying round to produce materi-
al tailor-made to enhance the national mood.
The songs they put out are often steeped in
heady yesteryear seasoning, harking back to when times
were better, or at least are perceived to have been so.
U.S. pop charts of the late 1960s and early '70s fea-
tured numerous ballads generated in response to
America's involvement in Vietnam while, in World
War II, Brits huddled in London's Underground train
stations singing rousing Vera Lynn songs as the
Germans unleashed the infamous Blitz on the capital.
Israel, of course, has had its fair share of conflict fallout
to deal with and the ongoing intifada (Palestinian upris-
ing) has impacted significantly on the Israeli entertainment
industry. On the down side, foreign artists are less inclined
to "risk" a Middle East jaunt, while concert organizers are
never sure what box office returns to expect.
But there have been some positive developments, too.
The last couple of years have seen Israelis — of all
ages, religious persuasions, walks of life and ethnic
backgrounds — take to the nostalgia trail. Community
once considered the
exclusive domain of kibbutzniks and
the over-50s, has made a spectacular comeback.
The Channel One TV network airs a popular weekly
show, Singing in Broadcast, with studio audiences happily
collaborating with contemporary artists singing numbers
with strikingly nostalgic themes.
Meanwhile, "grand dame of community singing"
Saraleh Sharon orchestrates mass singing sessions
attended by twentysomethings, yuppies, senior citizens,
Sepharadim and Ashkenazim alike.
Ehud Manor, 61, is one of Israel's most successful song-
writers. Since the mid-'60s, he has written the lyrics to
more than 1,000 popular songs, for the likes of local pop
and rock icons Arik Einstein, Yehudit Ravitz and Matti
ROOTS on page 64
Israel s Channel
One TV network
airs a popular weekly,
show, "Singing in
numbers with strikingly