Thursday, September 4, 2008

Eli Eli with Ancient Drum

Ok, it's Thursday night and I'm not quite thinking about Shabbat yet. But I'm Boston for a family wedding, not likely to make it to the computer tomorrow, and wanted to make sure I got in my weekly pre-Shabbat get in the mood video. So an early Shabbat Shalom to everyone one. Enjoy.

This week's video is the group Voices of Eden performing a lovely version of Eli Eli. Written in Israel in 1942 by Hannah Senesh with music by David Zehavi, Eli Eli is a powerhouse of a song that has become a classic Shabbat Z'mirot. The song is both a powerhouse because of it's beautiful lyrics (see below) and Senesh's story. Not long after composing Eli Eli Senesh volunteered to parachute into Yugoslovia to help Jews escape to Israel. She was caught and executed by the Germans in Hungary in 1944. Despite being written at the height of the Holocaust, the song reflects a deep faith in our the intimate connection with God and a wonderful lyric sensitivity.


Voices of Eden is an ensemble lead by Eliana Gilad, who "is an internationally recognized expert in the conscious use of voice and rhythm as a natural healer, as they were used in ancient times." I'm not exactly sure what that means, other than that it involves "[h]ealing chants, medically proven to induce relaxation and focus, that connect us to our Source." If this sounds interesting, please check out her website. Gilad notes that in this video she "sings into the worlds oldest frame drum, dated 5600 B.C. in the mystical city of Safed." I'm also not sure that that means. Ancient style of drum? I don't see anything on the website clarifying it. But it is a lovely sound.

I'm big fan of Eli, Eli and thought I'd share the lyrics. While there are lots of great versions of it floating around I'm particularly partial to the one performed by Stephanie Schneiderman on Oy Baby. (sample).

Eli Eli lyrics in Hebrew
Eili Eili
Shelo yigameir l'olam,
Hachol v'hayam
rishrush shel hamayim,
B'rak hashamyim
t'filat ha-adam.

O Lord, my God, I pray that these things shall never end.
The sand and the sea,
the rush of the waters,
the crash of the heavens,
the prayer of man.

sources: The Jewish Agency for Israel, Project Z'mirot and HebrewSongs


Unknown said...

I am a Catholic guy from Santa Fe, NM. My daughter just got married here, with several Jewish friends in attendance. She and her new husband were friends of younger Jews, while my wife and I handled the other end of the age rainbow.

Anyway, without any prior knowledge on my part, I suddenly heard the "DJ" playing some kind of Jewish cultural music. When I walked into music area, I saw my daughter and her husband being twirled around on chairs, holding opposite ends of a napkin, held by the younger guys, with an outer circle of people dancing what I was later told was the "Hora." The look of joy on my daughter's and new son-in-law (both Catholic!) was something that will rank in the top ten memories of my life. After these same guys twirled the parents of the groom, they actually put my wife and me in the chairs. Funny how the best ride of my life came at age 58!

This wedding turned out to be such a joyous blend of Catholic ceremony and Jewish traditions.

Pope John Paul II has called Jews our "older brothers in faith" and encouraged Catholic to respect Jews as such. What wonderful brothers!!!!!

Eliana Gilad said...

Thanks for posting our version of Eli Eli.

For clarification, the worlds oldest drum, means the frame drum - also known in the bible as Miriam's drum. The oldest reference we have of drums is approx. 7000 years ago, from archaeological finds of statuettes - females playing the frame drum in Catal Huyuk, Western Turkey.

Voices of Eden music has been medically researched three times and proven to lower blood pressure, heart rate, increase focus and quality of sleep.

You can hear more of it at

Wishing you much good for this new year.

Jack said...

Hi Eliana,

Thanks for the clarification. I'm interested in your claim that your music was proven to have a therapeutic effect. Could you point me to a more detailed explanation of that, preferably in an appropriate medical journal?

Also, if anyone is interested in more information on the frame drum, Frame Drum Central seems like a good start.

Eliana Gilad said...

Hi Jack,
Here is a link to the abstract of a recent research paper I wrote about the research. We are on our way to a new project now:

You can hear the music I composed for the research project at:

Eliana Gilad said...

Revisiting your great blog after a few years. Just wanted to give you an updated link with more research resources about ancient healing and transformational music.

The Music and Medicine Journal paper is up on the site, as are video clips of the original healing music program I initiated in the neonatal intensive care unit of Meir Hospital. You'll be able to see the project in action and hear Dr. Arnon - head project physician, address the mothers about the music's effect upon baby and themselves.