Gainsbourg sung in Hebrew – the tribute album by Israeli popstar Shahar Even Tzur isn’t the first time Serge’s songs are sung in that language, but it still is remarkable. There was a tribute to SG in Israel last year (see here), I don’t think Even Tzur was part of that one. And on Youtube I found this. And this. Shahar translated 10 songs to Hebrew, ranging from Sorry Angel to several Melody Nelson tracks, and gave ‘m a rocking make-over. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.Chez les ye-yes, with it’s klezmer-references, works best.
As you know, Gainsbourg’s real name is Lucien Ginzburg, his parents were Russian jews. Serge taught children of concentration camp survivors (there’s a very moving scene in the Vie Heroique movie about this), wrote a pro-Israel track in 1967, at the start of the 6 Day War. There’s of course the Rock Around the Bunker-album, a concept-album about Nazi occupation. But judaism or overt jewish references were never a big part of Gainsbourgs work. To be honest, I only found out Serge was a jew when John Zorn released his tribute-album in 1997. My guess is that the Israeli-tributes have little to do with judaism, but more with the quality of Serge’s songs. Sung in Spanish, Italian, Russian, French, Dutch or Hebrew, they’re still brilliant.
I’ve been trying to find more info about the Serge-tribute by Shahar, but I don’t read Hebrew and there’s a lot of articles to be found anyway. If you know more, please leave a comment.
Shahar Even Tzur – Chez les ye-yes
See Shahar play Serge covers live here and here. Listen to the full album on Spotify.