Nostalgia Sunday – Israel Does Dylan

June 19, 2011 - 10:10 PM by

I don’t know if anyone’s heard but Bob Dylan is playing a concert in Israel tomorrow night.

In honor of the occasion, here’s a small selection of Dylan covers as performed over the years by Israeli artists, starting with an adaptation by poet Yehonatan Geffen of Dylan’s ironic With God on Our Side.

The bitter lyrics in Geffen’s version refer to the Israel-Arab conflict; they are balanced out by David Broza’s sweet singing.

David Broza & Yehonatan Geffen - With God on Our Side

It’s only natural that, in addition to a poetic bent, Yehonatan Geffen’s son Aviv should also inherit an affinity for Dylan. And in the case of A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, the son exceeds the father.

Aviv Geffen - A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall

One usually doesn’t automatically think of pop singers together with Dylan but this rendition of Mama, You Been On My Mind — sung by balladeer Rita together with Shlomi Saban, a graduate of Kohav Nolad (the Israeli version of talent competition “Pop Idol”) — works.

Rita and Shlomi Saban – Mama, You Been On My Mind

Ninet is another Kohav Nolad grad who’s made good and her work with Aviv Geffen has apparently had an influence on her song choices. In this case: the Hebrew version of Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door which was translated by the late great Meir Ariel who, along with Geffen Senior and Junior, was one of the few Israeli artists with the guts to take on the Master’s works. (Unfortunately, Ariel’s version of the song has been taken offline).

Ninet Tyeb – Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door

Another Israeli artist willing to take on Dylan is the controversial Ariel Zilber. One of the original Israeli rockers, Zilber became religious and a supporter of the Right-wing following Israel’s disengagement from Gaza in 2005. Here, although all the while seated, he belts out a heartfelt version of Neighborhood Bully. The lyrics needed very little adapting — as they are, they say everything Zilber means .

Ariel Zilber – Neighborhood Bully

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