Sunday, April 25, 2010

Subliminal

As you know, I recently joined in on Yaacov's "Songs of the Jews" thread. In going through the music he chose to emphasize, particularly in light of Israel's Independence Day last week, I noticed a serious omission, certainly from this side of the Atlantic.

Subliminal was a revelation when he came on the scene in the early years of this century. His first album, The Light and the Shadow, released in 2003, coincided with the great experiment of Birthright Israel, which brought tens of thousands of young Diaspora Jews to Israel on ten day trips to rekindle their spark of identity and affinity for the land, myself among them.

Coming of age through the meltdown of hope and the despair of savage brutality brought about by the Palestinian terrorist war, Subliminal identified with the youth of Israel in a way that Israel's politicians - hawks and doves alike - couldn't, and they identified with him. This was to be their century, their future, their peace. The sheer brutality of Arab terror, in one case butchering two dozen young people who had lined up to dance the night away at the Dolfinarium, pierced the bubble of youth.

The cover for that first album says it all. Subliminal made it fashionable (cool, some might say) to be a proud, strong Zionist again, in a post-Zionist era, and we diaspora Jews listened. His was the first Israeli CD that I owned - pirated and copied over and over, passing from Jewish friend to Jewish friend. Hey, I said we were Zionists, not saints! Sure, there are songs are about drinking, partying and girls - all popular themes - but we couldn't understand most of the Hebrew anyway. The one song I bothered to learn the lyrics for, the one I looked forward to, the one that pulled at me strongest, was Tikvah. It still does.

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