From Apr ’08 Spotlight: Tal Grinfas-David from Emory University’s Institute for the Study of Modern Israel came to Spertus on February 24 to lecture on “A Century of Israeli Music.” She began by asking audience members how they defined Israeli music. Response from the mostly middle-aged participants focused on folksongs from the ‘60s, but after reminding us that Israel had been engaged in “ingathering of immigrants from the world over for over a century,” she started with “HaTikvah” (originally published in 1886).
Tal played Eastern European songs from the turn of the last century (heavy on the accordion), songs of loneliness and separation (idealistic teenagers making aliyah in the 1920s typically left their family members behind), and odes to the land (like “Ha Eucalyptus” from the 1950s). Sometime Tal made us sing along (standing for “Jerusalem of Gold”) and sometimes she made us dance. (It was hard not to when she played a new version of “HaTikvah” with a disco beat that most of us had never heard before.) Another great afternoon at Spertus!