Piece 1 out of 4 in collection titled “Inspiration.” The assignment required four pieces – one about a piece of art (song, painting, etc.), one about an important object, one about a place, and one about a person.
Written while listening to the song “Boee” by Idan Raichel. I recommend listening while you read!
As someone who likes to pretend they are fluent in Hebrew, my ears automatically perk up whenever I hear the smooth sounds of the language. However, this song, unlike most on my “International Jamz” playlist, does not begin in Hebrew. The first sounds that ring in my ears are the unfamiliar Amharic lyrics. The syllables are succinct and sharp like a bongo, yet they layer perfectly with the steady and modest drum beats in the background. An electronic, synthy instrument hits rhythmically. The old Middle Eastern melodies blend faultlessly with the new digital sounds; a perfect musical harmony between what was and what will be. This song is a collection of musical strata – layers of sounds, tones, languages, and instruments. The tension rises as I sit with my earphones in like a dog begging for a treat. A short, terse Amharic phrase is recited. I don’t understand what it means, but its tranquil tones welcome me into the chorus. Though the volume of the song remains relaxing throughout, the chorus introduces tremendous urgency and passion as Idan Raichel sings: “Come, give me your hand and we will go. Don’t ask me where, don’t ask me about happiness. Maybe it will come too. When it will come, it’ll fall upon us like rain. Come.”
So I go, following Raichel’s gentle yet firm command. His lyrics bring me back to the first Yom Ha’Atzmaut, or Israel Independence Day, I can remember; the first time I ever heard this song. My entire Jewish day school came together as a community to sing our own terribly out of tune yet somehow beautiful rendition. I am brought back to the sunset on the beach in Tel Aviv when my class sang the song with the sounds of the waves crashing in the background and the beautiful strums of an acoustic guitar accompanying us. I am reminded of my middle school graduation when we stood in front of our entire school, singing to all of our friends, peers, and families – our last time standing before all of them before we headed off to high school.
Boee. Come. “Come where?” I wonder, each time I listen to this song. I let Raichel’s intoxicating voice reach the deepest parts of my emotional and mental abyss. To where, I do not know. But Raichel does not care that I do not know my destination. He urges me to take that first step, to have faith in the things that call me, to trust myself and my surroundings. Because before I can get anywhere, I need to start walking.