Singing (With Sirens) in the South

Singing (With Sirens) in the South

Sep 12

One of the things I like about living in a tiny country like Israel is that you can be a nationally-touring folksinger, and always get home in time to drive carpool in the morning. This morning this trusty one-liner proved true yet again… I’m back home at the computer at 8 AM after last night’s show in the southern town of Beer Sheva.

Last night’s show marked the first time I performed two of my most recent songs — both already recorded on my latest disc, Voices From the Other Side — before a live audience. It’s rare that I rush new compositions into the studio before I’ve tried them out in concert (and tweaked them based on the reaction). But these two songs – Freeze Frame Truth and Song of Zion – capture what I feel about what Israel is going through right now… and I didn’t want these stories to slip away.

Song of Zion (read lyrics here) went over particularly well with the audience, probably thanks to Hilary Clinton. Earlier that day the American Secretary of State had starred in the local headlines, due to her statement that the US does not plan to set deadlines or give ultimatums regarding Tehran’s refusal to curb its nuclear program. My song was conceived as a veiled reference to the difficulty Israel faces trying to get the world to wake up to this threat to its very existence. But last night the veil was off (no Middle East fashion pun intended)… for this group of listeners, the meaning of the words came through loud and clear:

“…But if I said, ‘I lost her’
I get you’d come around
To admire the wheels of justice
Turning over new-scorched ground…”

Ironically, someone came up to me after the show and apologized for what she considered a low turn-out (I didn’t agree!), which she attributed to the missile siren that had sent Beer Sheva residents scurrying to their reinforced rooms earlier that evening. Turns out it was a false alarm, but I missed it while driving down to the gig. I had been listening to the BBC at the time, following the coverage of September 11 memorial ceremonies in the United States. Different countries, a variation on the same sad theme.

Later, as my crowd cleared out the bar began to fill with the much-younger clientele — mostly students — who live in the neighborhood. There’s no reinforced room in this particular bar, but for these folks, the possibility of another siren going off is no reason not to step out for a beer.