Wednesday, 27 May 2009

The Sixteenth Sheep

Given our dissimilar childhoods, Mrs Goy and I have the occasional argument about the best way to parent the Small Noisy One. I'm very much in favour of bunging him in front of the television and leaving him there until his sixteenth birthday; the better half is keener on "activities" and "enrichment" and other horrible things requiring commitment and participation from parents.

Mrs Goy argues that she is far better adjusted to everyday life than I am; of course, I dispute this hotly. At this point, she usually points out that I am picking my nose in public, or scratching myself, or doing something else antisocial...

But I digress.

HaKeves HaShisha-Asarah (The Sixteenth Sheep) was one of her childhood favourites; I must admit that anyone who had the opportunity to enjoy this as a child as opposed to the crap I sucked up on TV has a better chance of behaving like a well adjusted adult...

Originally a book of verse for children written by Yehonathan Geffen, it was set to music in 1978 by Yoni Rechter and recorded by some of Israel's best known musicians - David Broza, Gidi Gov, Yehudit Ravitz. It is truly delightful...

It has been adapted for the stage, and will be performed by the National Theatre for Youth as part of the on-going Israel Festival on the following dates:

Jerusalem, Beit Shmuel
May 30, 11 a.m.

Jerusalem, Rebecca Crown Auditorium
June 7, 6 p.m.

Modi'in-Maccabim-Reut Cultural Center
June 3, 5.30 p.m.

Here's a clip of the original performers singing HaGan Sagor (The Kindergarten is closed)

Translation (thanks to

Yesterday 5:00 in the afternoon,
I went with mom to the grocery shop,
And on the way we saw,

That our kindergarten is closed,

The swings are standing between the tall trees,
And the flowers are so short and without colors,
'Cause our kindergarten is closed,

Sleepy playing blocks,

Are arranged in the basket,
And there is no child there,
To make a tower out of them,

There is no kindergarten teacher,
To say what is allowed or what is not,
And all the books are arranged on the shelf,
'Cause there is no one to listen to a story


Adam E. said...

Thats not a childrens song - thats an exploration of existential angst! No wonder Israelis are so "etzbani" sometimes...
Plonk 'em down in front of Tellytubbys! Nice, cheerful mindless stuff...

Goy said...

:-) You may have a point there...

G said...

The 'sixtieth sheep' is the best! I grew up listening to it, and so did my kids. The kindergarten song doesn't make you feel sad. In Hebrew its more like the kindergarten is in 'suspended animation', waiting for the kids to come back.
The disc does have some *really* sad songs like the one about the beggar:

When we went downtown to visit Uncle Ephraim
We saw a lot of shoe stores
And I thought: If you suddenly the shoes decide to leave the glass and look for legs,
They will cause quite a racket..

When we went downtown to visit Uncle Ephraim
We saw a Toy Store in Givatayim
They asked me "What would you like?"
I said, "a bicycle"
And they said "Okay, maybe next year."

When we went downtown to visit Uncle Ephraim
We passed next to a man with holes in his socks
He had a sad face, leaning on a stick
Mom told me not to look, but I looked anyway

When we went downtown to visit Uncle Ephraim
It was in winter, two years ago
Since then I grew up, I already have a bicycle
I almost forgot I was once only three years old
But I just can't get that poor guy with holes in his socks out of my head

Goy said...

@G - thanks so much for this. It is really melancholy...but true to life too.

I think everyone should be made to listen to the album, and get in touch with their inner me, the little voice we tend to shove into our unconscious...

Anonymous said...

Wow. I honestly wasn't expecting to ever read an outsider perspective on that album. Thank you for that (and for the 15 minutes of triggered nostalgia)

Goy said...

My pleasure, Fishriff :-)