Music connects people across borders, despite people’s many differences. It relaxes you, boosts happy thoughts, and makes you connect to the deep and meaningful lyrics. And if the words don’t resonate, the melody surely will!
Hebrew music can be very captivating, and if you’re not listening to it, you’re seriously missing out! Thankfully, it’s never too late to explore new music and bless your ears to the artistic treat. Here are some songs that are a favorite in nearly every Israeli household and need to be heard by the entire world. Click the headlines to hear each song respectivly on YouTube!
Much like the German astrophysicist, Arik Einstein is also regarded as a genius in music circles, especially in Israel! Arik Einstein is known to be one of the most influential and beloved artists of his time and was also proudly dubbed the ‘Voice of Israel.’ Throughout his career, he collaborated with nearly every Israeli talent imaginable.
Over the past five decades, Einstein has produced over 34 albums, with each song penetrating the heart of every music lover, Hebrew speaking or not! One of the most listened to and celebrated songs he has released is Ani Ve’Ata, which translates to ‘You and I.’ A powerful song, written about two friends who are set out to change the world for the better. The lyrics bring about feelings of empowerment, strength, and camaraderie, which will remind you of your friends from now and before, and might even prompt you to call them up for drinks or to discuss plans on changing the world!
If there’s one thing the Israelites love, it’s Eurovision! And that’s why it comes as no surprise that ‘Diva’, the winning song of the Eurovision Song Contest in 1998, is still celebrated in nearly every corner of Israel. Composed by prominent Israeli singer, writer, and composer Tzvika Pick, ‘Diva’ is a feminist anthem for many.
Despite the transphobic critiques regarding Dana International – a proud trans-woman and a leading voice of the Israeli homo-lesbian community – was singing the song on stage, the win resulted in a global hit reaching 11th place in the UK and sitting comfortably in the top ten music charts in Belgium, Ireland, Netherlands, Finland, and Sweden! The song celebrates women throughout history, mentioning prominent figures like Aphrodite and Cleopatra in the chorus. It boasts their accomplishment, their resilience, and their life even after death. ‘Viva la diva,’ the chorus belts. It’s a proud anthem for women and one that reminds all of what they’re capable of achieving!
Don’t worry; we haven’t forgotten the rock ‘n roll fanatics! After all, rock music has been a great outlet for many music enthusiasts, with special attention to the lyrics and the captivating instrumental that transports you to another realm. When Aviv Geffen released his album in 1993, he never expected his song Achshav Meunan to become so popular that it still gives listeners goosebumps in 2021!
A somewhat nihilistic song, Achshav Meunan is most known for a phrase in its chorus, “Anachnu dor mezuyan” which translates to ‘We are a f-cked up generation!” And for anyone downtrodden by the harsh society or the unfair treatment they have had to endure, these lyrics, along with the rest of the song, are essential to jam to when everything seems to be too rough to handle. And after all, what is rock and roll if it doesn’t come with a bit of angst and mental release?
Tired of our old-school recommendations and want something more contemporary? Then you simply can’t pass up on the ever-so-catchy hit of 2017, ‘Tudo Bom’! A viral sensation all across Israel, Tudo Bom broke records of plays per day on Israeli radio by being played for a whopping 66 times in under 24 hours! We’re not joking when we say everyone loves the song. In fact, it hadn’t left the top charts in Israel for months after its initial debut. ‘Tudo Bom’ became so popular, the performing artists, Static and Ben-El Tavori, released an extremely popular English cover of ‘Tudo Bom. We will let you decide which version do you like better.
“Tudo Bom” is all about letting loose, celebrating Tel Aviv’s beauty, and partying the time away. That’s something everyone can get behind. With Portuguese influences within the music, the phrase ‘Tudo Bom’ (translating to ‘it’s okay in Portuguese) became an overnight popular slang for many and is still used to push all the stress and worries of the day away! Catchy and optimistic, it’s definitely a great song to play at a party with Israelis present.
The best kind of music transports you to a place of positivity, hope, and love. And that’s exactly why we had to include Shlomo Arzi’s beautiful and melodic song ‘Tetaaru Lachem’, which translates from Hebrew to ‘Image a beautiful world.’ Shlomo Arzi is a household name in Israel and is known for composing melodic pieces that touch your heart and bring a smile to your face, and Tetaaru Lachem proves to be no different!
The lyrics speak of a beautiful world filled with joy, laughter, and happiness. It asks the listener to imagine themselves in a more tranquil state and of being with someone that gives you the reassurance and love you need in your life. Open to interpretation, this ‘other’ person can be anyone from a lover to a guardian angel. The moving lyrics paired with the gentle strumming of the guitar are bound to leave you with a happy smile on your face!
Recommend reading: Films That Tell You About Israeli Culture
Let’s travel back in time to 1973, when an Israeli band known as ‘Kaveret’ (which translates to ‘beehive’) released their debut album named ‘Poogy Tales’. An album filled with excellent music and tied with Israeli humor would immediately make the band and their album some of the most influential and significant albums to grace the Israeli music scene!
Right after the Yom Kippur War, Israelis were looking for a release from the trauma and grim atmosphere that surrounded them. ‘Poogy Tales’ was that outlet for many. Not only was the music good, but listening to it brought a smile to thousands of faces. The songs were laced with Israeli idioms, anecdotes, and phrases that would make sense to the community and felt personal. It gave the people what they needed, Jewish humor, which was also catchy and melodic. Yo Ya is a classic example of all the things people loved and celebrated about the Kaveret, and sits up there as one of Israel’s most beloved songs that brightened dark days!
If you’re the kind of person who places special attention to poetry in music, then it would be a sin not to listen to Meir Ariel. A man who strung together the most poetic and romantic songs in Hebrew. The Israeli singer and songwriter have always been lauded for his beautiful writing, and he particularly swept everyone off their feet when he released Lo Yachol Lehorid Mimech Et Hainaym, which is Hebrew for ‘I can’t take my eyes off of you’.
The song is about a man who is bewitched by his lover’s beauty and can’t look at anyone or anything but her. The lyrics go into detail about her looks and charm and how reclusive he has become because he can’t bring himself to do anything but look at her beautiful self. He even goes on to say that he’s chided for holding her captive, but he can’t help because he’s so enamored by her beauty! It’s a genuinely heart-warming and lovely song that will melt the coldest of hearts. And is the perfect dedication to someone you truly love!
Learn Hebrew Today!
While listening to these enchanting songs with translated lyrics can help you understand the words, it simply won’t help you connect and if you hear and understand the songs in Hebrew. Many references and idioms are exclusive to the language and can be lost in translation, making for clunky lyrics that lose the charm they possess. If you’re a music enthusiast who wants to not only listen to but experience these beloved Israeli songs, we strongly recommend learning the ancient language!
Not sure where to begin? We can help! At Ulpan-Or, we provide Hebrew language learning administered by native Israeli teachers. To begin, you will have to fill a form that helps us place you at the appropriate language level ranging from beginner to expert. This way, we can formulate a lesson plan that works best with your current language level and also helps us place you in a classroom with peers who are at the same progress level as you. Our online Hebrew classes have helped many individuals learn how to speak, read and write in Hebrew in record time!
Contact us today with any questions you may have about the classes, payment, or registration process for our online Hebrew courses. Happy learning!