Show #5: ELIEZER ADORAM #2 of 2 - Full Audio & Transcript
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The following interview with folk music legend Eliezer Adoram was broadcast June 1 & 4, 1963 from New York City on worldwide short-wave radio. This historic radio interview was transmitted from the studios of Radio New York Worldwide on the show Folk Music Worldwide hosted by newsman Alan Wasser. This is interview #2 of 2 with Mr. Adoram. (The first interview can be found here.)

Featuring three song performances: "Rad Halayla"; "Ve David Yafe Einayim"; and "Dodi Li".


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MEL BERNAM (ANNOUNCER): Here is Radio New York Folk Music Worldwide. A program devoted to the best in folk music throughout the world. Showcasing the top performers and authorities in the field. Now your host for Folk Music Worldwide, Alan Wasser.

ALAN WASSER (HOST): Once again we are talking with Eliezer Adoram, well known Israeli singer and musician.

We were talking with him last week and we were just finishing discussing Rad Halayla. Which, incidentally, I've listened to since then and had before.

I think you're really going to enjoy it. We promised faithfully that we would play it first thing on the show so here is Rad Halayla.

(Song performance 1 of 3: "Rad Halayla" by Eliezer Adoram, 00:01:02)

ALAN: Well that was Rad Halayla, a modern Israeli song. There are an awful lot of good modern Israeli songs but they all seem to have a traditional background, don't they?

ELIEZER ADORAM (GUEST): Well not all of them, not all of them. Many of them are very original.

As a matter of fact, the new trend of young Israeli composers is to go away from this type of music like Rad Halayla and to compose something more in the Chanson or a Greek type of music.

Of course, it's composed by Israelis, and it's sung in Hebrew, but the feeling is completely different. As a matter of fact, there is a lot of rock and roll in Israel, too.

I want to mention because I think it's very important. Classical music is very liked in Israel and when Israeli Philharmonic plays, it's very difficult to get tickets to it and there are always lines.

The radio plays a lot of classical music, as well, with the rock and roll. Still there is a kind of conservatism about classical music and the philharmonic orchestra in Israel is considered to be one of the top in the world not only in Israel. And..

ALAN: Quite a lot in different kinds of music in one little country.


ALAN: Well, getting back to folk singing, at the beginning of last week's show we did one song where the words were taken from the Bible and the theme was taken from the Bible with a new kind of music. Now, I gather there are quite a few of this kind of song.

ELIEZER ADORAM: Yes, there are many of these. As I said, I think, last week, many Israeli young composers are using the Bible as a source.

There is even a joke in it. The reason that they use the Bible so much is so they won't have to pay royalties. Of course, I think it's really only a joke.

Here is for example a song, it's called Ve David Yafe Einayim, which really tells a little of the story of David and Saul. Roughly the translation would say, "David was bright of eye, a shepherd among the roses, Saul slew his thousands. David his tens of thousands. Long live the son of Isai {Jesse}."

Which of course started a big war between Saul and David. This was after David killed Goliath...

ALAN: Oh yes when the people were singing about this and Saul got jealous.

ELIEZER ADORAM: Yes, when they got back from this battle, that's what the Bible tells us. Of course, the melody composed by an Israeli but this is also have a kind of a trend towards approach of Hasidic music. By the way, USY, the record of the USY.

ALAN: Oh yes, we haven't identified this record. This is an album we've taken several songs from called "Sing Along with USY" which Eliezer Adoram appears and quite a few other well known Israeli singers.

ELIEZER ADORAM: Yes, we grouped up especially for this record and each one who performs in the record is really an artist by himself.

ALAN: Well let's hear from that album. Let's hear Ve David Yafe Einayim. I'm not sure I'm pronouncing it...

ELIEZER ADORAM: Well Ve David Yafe Einayim, really.

ALAN: Yafe Einayim. I can't pronounce it, but I certainly do enjoy it.

(Song performance 2 of 3: "Ve David Yafe Einayim" by Eliezer Adoram, 00:08:28)

ALAN: Well I'm not going to be foolhardy enough to try pronouncing it again, but that was a song about David and Saul.

Before we discuss more with Eliezer Adoram...I'd like to talk to him something about his life and his experience in Israel. Let's just take a moment out for a message here.

(commercial break)

Well, now we can go back to talking about Eliezer Adoram, his life, his music. One thing, before we do by the way, if any of the listening audience has any questions or any comments to make we'd love to hear from them.

We're always interested in getting letters here. Just write to me, Alan Wasser, or to the show Folk Music World Wide, Radio New York World Wide, New York 19 New York.

Well, Eliezer Adoram, you're originally from Israel right?

ELIEZER ADORAM: Yes I'm a native Israeli which we call sabra.

ALAN: What does sabra mean originally?

ELIEZER ADORAM: Sabra, it's tzabar. Yes, Sabra is a cactus. It's typical ..

ALAN: Oh, a cactus!

ELIEZER ADORAM: Right. It's typical to the Middle Eastern countries and it has a fruit. A fruit supposed to be symbolizing the Israeli youth.

It's very needle-ish outside. If you touch it, you are going to be full with small needles but the fruit inside is marvelous, especially in the hot summer day when it's cold, being iced, it's very juicy and sweet.

It's really marvelous and it's supposed to symbolize an Israeli who is rough outside and tough, but inside it's really sweet and has a...

ALAN: Well that is a very good way to describe it. Well, as a sabra, have you ever had much experience with what the other term that most non-Israelis know about Israel, the kibbutz?

ELIEZER ADORAM: Oh yes, yes. Iíve been lucky, I've lived six years in the kibbutz during the Second World War, mostly.

My father was in the British army at the time and my mother, my brother and me were in the kibbutz. When my father came out of the British army and he wanted to move from the kibbutz I had a very big fight. I definitely didn't [want to?] go.

I liked it very much. Really the experience in the kibbutz was very, very beneficial to me.

ALAN: Is the work as hard as they say?

ELIEZER ADORAM: Everybody have to work and you work hard. The only difference is that there you work for yourself and for the community. You are part of community. Here you are mostly an individual in the outside society.

ALAN: In case any members of the kibbutz that you worked on are listening, why don't you mention it to them just to see if they heard you.

ELIEZER ADORAM: The kibbutz was Tel Yosef, and it's in the Emek Israel.

ALAN: The Emek?

ELIEZER ADORAM: It's the valley of Jezreel. This is in the northern part.

ALAN: The northern part?

ELIEZER ADORAM: In the northern part of Israel. It's rainy during the winter, and the land is very good for agriculture.

ALAN: It'd be interesting to see if any kibbutzniks heard themselves being plugged on the air.

ELIEZER ADORAM: No, their English mostly is very poor, the kibbutzniks ..

ALAN: You came to the United States how long ago?

ELIEZER ADORAM: Quite few years ago, I came to study. I did study in the United States.

Originally I am graduate of the Neighborhood Playhouse. As a matter of fact, before I went into folk music I was an actor in my profession.

I was three years in the Habima Theater in Israel which turned now to become the Israeli National Theater. We had quite few directors from the United States coming as guest directors to direct shows in Israel. That's the way I met Mr. Harold Clurman at the time...

ALAN: Who is Harold Clurman?

ELIEZER ADORAM: He is an American director. He had quite quite a name in the United States as well. Also Lee Strasberg...

ALAN: Yes, Lee Strasberg I know. One of the great names of the theater.

ELIEZER ADORAM: Mr. Clurman helped me with the Neighborhood Playhouse.

ALAN: How did you decide to give up acting and go into folk music, or have you actually, are you doing both?

ELIEZER ADORAM: Well I did both, but at the present I'm mostly doing music playing, singing, and performing. I'm working with a dance group.

We have a mixture of dance and song. I like this group particularly because it's not a folk group. The director of the group Francis Helenico [spelling?], she is a choreographer and a dancer.

The approach is more on Jewish culture as a whole and not particular folk dances and the dances are being directed especially for the program. Though the music is completely folk music based on Israeli, Hasidic Jewish, Eastern European approach.

So here is a combination of modern dance based upon folk themes, holidays, Eastern European modern Israeli shepherd dances, but they are not folk dances.

ALAN: Most of our listeners are overseas, although we do have some in the Unites States. I'm just wondering, are you planning to go overseas at all, do any tours outside of the United States where they might be able to see you?

ELIEZER ADORAM: Well, we have been outside of the United States already a few times. We've just been last year in Chile.

We went on a tour down there, but mostly we performed around the United States, Canada, coast to coast touring a lot. We gave concerts in the West Coast as well as on the east coast and also in Canada coast to coast.

ALAN: Well we are getting short of time again, and there is one song I really want to get in, because it'd have to be one of my favorites. Dodi Li, perhaps you'd want to say something briefly about it before we play it.

ELIEZER ADORAM: Well, Dodi Li is a song, taken from Song of Songs, maybe it's the greatest love song ever written. Again, it's from the Bible and in one sentence I will say "My lover is mine, and I'm his".

(Song performance 3 of 3: "Dodi Li", by Eliezer Adoram 00:18:04)

ALAN: That was Dodi Li as sung by Eliezer Adoram. That song is something of an Israeli classic by now isn't it?

ELIEZER ADORAM: Yes, this song turned to become an Israeli classic. As a matter of fact, the Kingston Trio translated this song into English, and they jazzed the top a little and to me it sounds a little like "Dodi li cha cha cha".

No really, it turned into a very very popular Israeli song and many American performers not only the Kingston Trio use this song, either the way we sing it or a little more jazzed up.

ALAN: Well we are getting tight on time again, this is always a problem here.

ELIEZER ADORAM: I think time is a problem in the United States, period.

ALAN: Well let me mention again that this has been Alan Wasser just talking with Eliezer Adoram about Israeli folk music, about Israel.

I've enjoyed this immensely, and I hope sometime in the future we can get you back in again. I know you're always traveling around the country, but perhaps next time you've made a circuit out through California back to New York again we can have you in and play some more of your records.

Anybody wants to get them by the way, I'm not sure, are they on sale outside of the United States? Hava Nagila?

ELIEZER ADORAM: I don't know if Hava Nagila is for sale outside of the United States, no. Hava Nagila is under Classic Edition Recording.

ALAN: The other record we've been using is called "Sing Along With USY". ELIEZER ADORAM: USY but...

ALAN: Which was made for an organization, but I gather it's going to be commercial reasonably soon.

ELIEZER ADORAM: It's probably going to be commercial, but anyway the United Synagogue of America is located of 1123 Broadway in New York City.

ALAN: Well, you can get it from them. Just mention that you heard it on Folk Music World Wide. This is Alan Wasser saying so long.

MEL BERNAM (ANNOUNCER): This has been Folk Music Worldwide. Devoted to the best in folk music throughout the world and spotlighting top performers and authorities in the field. If you have any suggestions, request requests or comments why not write in to Folk Music Worldwide, Radio New York WRUL, New York City 19 USA. This has been a Music Worldwide presentation of Radio New York Worldwide.

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