Sunday, February 22, 2009

Arik Einstein - Once I Was a Child

So this post might seem a little out of left field, but I've always wanted to share this album with more people.  It's been a favorite of mine since childhood.

Arik Einstein is one of Israel's big name folk/rock singers, perhaps an analogue to someone like Paul Simon or Bruce Springsteen.  Wikipedia (not the most credible source, I know) claims "Arik Einstein's influence has been so profound that virtually all Israeli pop music can be traced back to musical projects in which he participated."  A big claim that I can't substantiate, get the idea: he's a big name in the Israeli pop music world.

This is, as far as I'm aware, an unusual album in his ouvre (a body of work I can't say I'm very familiar with) - it's a children's album!  And for me personally, it's a children's album that I grew up with and still cherish today.  Children's music or no - it's excellently crafted pop music.  The songs are catchy and interesting, without seeming to dumb-it-down for a younger audience.  Lyrically, these songs are fun narratives relating to childhood, with a wide range of subjects: saturday morning, having to do the things your parents say, really wanting a dog (but getting a cat), going to the zoo, having an unreliable friend..

Some songs take on more...surreal? narratives.  In my personal favorite, track 2, "Adon Choco", an anthropomorphized chocolate popsicle named Mr. Chocolate, goes to visit his friend, the other Mr. Chocolate - the pair decide to visit their friend...the other Mr. Chocolate...and so on so forth.  Track 11, "Kilafti Tapuz" is a dub-inspired song which tells a story of peeling an orange and finding a sleeping child inside, who demands that the orange peel be fixed immediately.

I hope people enjoy this album, and I hope language barriers won't prevent you from listening.  This will always be one of my favorite albums.

One note...I deciphered the tracklist myself - my hebrew isn't perfect and there is no real tracklisting available online (in fact, very little is available about this album it seems...the 70x70 pixel photo is the largest I could find)  Some tracks I'm not sure the exact titles of and #4 I just couldn't decide on.  Sorry for the inconvenience - if anyone manages to get a better tracklisting, please comment.


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