D’ror Yikra (Cry Freedom)

The first time I heard D’ror Yikra, it was on an Erev Shabbat in Rehavia (West Jerusalem). It was sung horribly by a friend of mine, who as it turned out, opened for me, doors into an incredible world for which I will be ever grateful. The tune is a powerful 10th century Iraqi-Jewish melody written by the Jewish grammarian Dunash Ben Lavrat with a Hebrew acrostic of his name embedded into the lyrics. The content is timely and profoundly moving. Its music, too, is a good example of powerful Sephardic stylings. There is no “C” or “bridge” section to the original tune, so we added a additional part. It has also brings with it the hope of the future redemption of Israel and a Messianic Age, similar, I feel, to the traditional prayer from the Siddur, “V’Techezena.” We only did the first 2 of a potential 80 million verses.

 

Intro Instrumental

D’ror yeekra... L’ven eem vat V’yeentsarchem... K’mo vavat

Na’eem sheemchem... v’lo yooshbat Sh’voo v’noochoo...
b’yom Shabbat!

 

D’rosh navee... v’oolamee V’ot yesha... ’aseh eemee

Neta sorek b’tock karmee She’ah shevat b’nai amee

- - - - -

(Cry out freedom... to sons and daughters, And he will keep you as the apple of his eye, Pleasant is your name and will not be destroyed

Sit (dwell) and relax/rest on the day of Shabbat.

 

Seek my sanctuary and my home, Give me a sign of deliverance

[and a sign of salvation make to me], Plant a vine in my vineyard

Look to my people, hear their laments)

Beige, Blue and Gold (The Cable song)

(True story—see to the right)

 

Buried (in)to the wall

And hanging high above my head

Is this woven steel cable

And this is what is said

 

It is pulled down in the daytime

It is pulled up in the night

And on its shoulders

Soldiers ride to safety in the fight

 

Chorus

I'd forgotten how I loved you...  But I loved you from of old

Pine and Dill and Cumin...  Beige and blue and gold

 

And not too far beneath

On the hillside in the scrub

Are two-thousand year old tiles

You can kick as well as rub

 

Up and down the hills

Are these twisty windy streets

All the living quarters touch

And the past and present meets

 

Chorus

Still can see that cable

Hang against the sky

It's silently a witness

Of a longing and a cry

 

That runs across this valley

That runs deep across this place

In years to come as well as done

This remains a sacred place

 

Chorus

...Yerushalayim of old  (Continued on right.)

 

Number Our Days

This song is inspired from Psalm 90 (“Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom”).

 

Teach us to number our days, Teach us to number our days,

Reach us in slumber (and) we’ll run unencumbered

Never to fall from your gaze...

 

 

(Beige, Blue and Gold, the Cable song Continued.)

A couple years ago we went back to visit Israel again. I saw old friends and realized slowly but powerfully, how the sites, the sounds, the smells, the kind of light in the area, the materials—and mostly the people who forever impacted me—had irrevocably changed me. I realized I was still there and that I never left. I also realized something about where I had lived (see below) and wanted to try to capture this all in a song:

          When I lived in Jerusalem, I was situated in a very unique area that was yards from the Tomb of David, the Diaspora Yeshiva and the Kotel (Western wall). That area, Har Zion (“Mt. Zion”) was super rich in history where one could literally find spent shell casings from the '48 war along side p’sifas, (Herodian 2000 year-old mosaic tiles) on the ground in the weeds next to the beer cans. And I found tons of stuff there.

        In my room for one inexplicable reason was anchored into the bedrock behind the wall, this huge braided steel cable that literally stretch across the valley. I never saw exactly where it ended on the other side and we hung our laundry to dry on that thing. Years later I did a little research and found out.

 

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3769054,00.html

 

        Bottom line: Everything in Israel—and especially Yerushalayim—is embedded with history and meaning, from the cigarettes sprinkled among the 2,000 year-old p’sifas / Herodian tiles, to the spent bullets from the 1948 war.

Blue Tubes

Years ago there was this movie on the inevitable Nuclear conflagration. I started thinking about all the people living on auto-pilot, going to work, coming home from work, living as automatons, exhausted, never living beyond the corporate nipple, never thinking about things beyond mortgage payments and Super Bowls. Blue tubes of TVs flickering in the dark streets in the silence at three am. Then a white flash.

- - - - -

Put your mind on automatic pilot;

And your body on cruise control,

And go thru the motions of another day—

Don’t let them drug your soul (o-ol)

 

Peel your eyes in the blackness;

And seal your dreams in a jar

And feel your way in a darkened room—

But don’t forget who you are (a-are)

 

Blue tubes flicker,

Rupturing the darkness

Structuring the silence

In a million living rooms...

 

Blue tubes flicker,

Novocaine the present

Portend for the future

Apocalypse is dancing,

Gold mushrooms...

 

Peel your eyes in the blackness...

Techezena

A few years ago I was introduced into parts of the Shemoneh esrei and was inexplicably drawn to a phrase with the words, “V’techezena…” based on the sound alone. Later the actual meaning hit me with full force since I had been involved in something previous called Chazon and between that and its meaning felt compelled to learn more. Below is a transliteration and then a translation. I feel this is a prayer of hope.

 

Here's what it means:  May our eyes envision/see

Your return to Zion in compassion, praise you G-d

(The) return of his Sh'china [presence] to Zion.

 

 

Check back for more tunes (there are hundreds and new ones in the works!

 

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