Chad Gadya

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Aramaic: חַד גַדְיָא, "one little goat" or "one kid". Circle dance by Tamir Shalev, 2015.

The melody is that of "Alla Fiera dell'Est" (At the Eastern Fair) by Italian pop star Angelo Branduardi from his 1976 album of the same name. The Italian lyrics are by Branduardi's wife, Luisa Zappa (probably no relation to Frank Zappa). The lyrics almost exactly translate the Passover song, substituting a mouse for a kid.

In 1989, Chava Alberstein released a version with Branduardi's melody and the traditional lyrics in Hebrew translation. She added a final verse that treats the repetitive violence of the song as metaphor for the cycle of violence permeating the occupation of the West Bank, in protest of Israel's actions. ("I [Israel] was once a sheep and tranquil kid / Today I'm a tiger and a ravening wolf.") As a result, the song was banned by the Israel Broadcasting Authority.[1] Alberstein herself was subject to boycott and death threats. More recently, the ban has been lifted and the song revived.

There is no indication that the choreographer's use of the song is part of any such political statement.

References

  1. The Other Israel, 1989 No 39, page 6: "Dangerous Songs".

Links

Branduardi performs Alla Fiera dell'Est in concert

Lyrics (both Italian and English) to Branduardi's song

Chava Alberstein's lyrics (Hebrew)

Chad Gadya at israelidances.com

Video at Rokdim