Im Nin'alu

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"Im Nin'alu"
Single by Ofra Haza
from the album Yemenite Songs (Original version) / Shaday/ Ofra Haza
B-side Remix
Released 1984, 1988, 1997
Format 7" single, 12" maxi, CD maxi
Genre Pop, World music
Length 3:28
Label Teldec
Ariola
Sound
Writer(s) Trad.
Shabazy
Rabi Shalom-Shabazi
Producer(s) Bezalel Aloni
Izhar Ashdot
Ofra Haza singles chronology
"Hi"
(1983)
"Im Nin'Alu"
(1988)
"Galbi"
(1988)

"Im Nin'alu" (אם ננעלו) is a Hebrew poem by 17th-century Rabbi Shalom Shabazi (Hebrew: שלום שבזי‎). It has been set to music and sung by Israeli singer Ofra Haza and others. The poem opens with the words:

Im nin'alu daltei n'divim daltei marom lo nin'alu

Even if the gates of the rich are closed, the gates of heaven will never be closed.[1]

History[edit]

Ofra Haza first performed this song with the Shechunat Hatikva Workshop Theatre, appearing on television on IBA's General Television in 1978. She went on to become famous in Europe with the song in the year 1988, when a remixed version thereof, produced by Izhar Ashdot, reached the Top Ten in various countries and number one in several of these, most notably in West Germany where it topped the charts for nine weeks in the summer of 1988. In the UK the track was a Top 20 hit, peaking at #15 and in the U.S. it reached #15 on Billboard's Hot Dance Club Play chart and #18 on Hot Modern Rock Tracks. British duo Coldcut produced a remix of Eric B. & Rakim's "Paid In Full" which heavily sampled "Im Nin'alu". The single reportedly sold some three million copies worldwide, making it one of the first world music recordings to cross over to mainstream pop chart success. Even though Haza's version of the song shows her own interpretation, and its presentation was modern and popular, it still fits in with the Yemenite tradition that she represented.

The original version was included on the 1984 album Yemenite Songs, also known as Fifty Gates of Wisdom. The remixed version was part of her international debut Shaday of 1988. A version recorded in 1978 along with the Sadnat Te'atron Shechunat Hatikva (Hatikva Neighborhood Workshop Theatre) is available on YouTube.

In 1997 Haza re-recorded the track for her eponymous album Ofra Haza, produced by Frank Peterson of Enigma and Gregorian. The German promo 12" for the album's lead single "Show Me" also featured two remixes of "Im Nin'Alu".

In 2008 two new remixes were included on the greatest hits compilation Forever Ofra Haza - Her Greatest Songs Remixed.

The international follow-up single to "Im Nin'Alu (Played In Full)" in 1988 was a remix of the track "Galbi", also originally from the Yemenite Songs album.

Samples and other versions[edit]

The song was sampled by rap duo Eric B. & Rakim in their single "Paid In Full", Snoop Dogg used the same sample on his remake of "Paid In Full" titled "Paper'd Up" from his album Paid tha Cost to Be da Bo$$. Nas also used the same sample in his diss song to Jay-Z entitled "H to the Homo".

Canadian band Delerium sample the lyrics in their song 'Hidden Mask', from the 1989 album "Faces, Forms & Illusions".

American Rap group Public Enemy also sampled the opening few seconds of the song (which are a cappella) on the track "Can't Truss It", featured on the 1991 album Apocalypse '91...The Enemy Strikes Black.

The song features very briefly as background music in a restaurant at the beginning of the 2000 film American Psycho.

In 1998 Swedish DJ team C&N Project included a sample of the opening line "Im nin'alu" on their single "The Queen of Tel Aviv", which was credited to C&N Project Featuring Ofra Haza.

Israeli singer Michal Cohen performs "Im Nin'alu" on La Kahena (2005) by DJ Cheb i Sabbah.

Part of the song appears in Madonna's song "Isaac" from her 2005 album Confessions on a Dance Floor (2005).

"Im Nin'alu" is the opening track on Eliyahu & The Qadim Ensemble's album Eastern Wind (2009), with lead vocals by Rachel Valfer. [1]

In 2009 Punjabi MC remixed this song on his album named Indian Timing.

In 2012, jazz quartet Third World Love performed a version of Im Nin'alu on their album "Songs and Portraits".

Official versions and remixes[edit]

1984

  • Original recording, Yemenite Songs album a.k.a. Traditional Version - 5:18

1988

  • Shaday Album Mix (Played In Full 7" Mix - English Vocal - Edited) - 3:29
  • Played In Full Edit (Ariola Records 7", West Germany) - 3:53
  • Played In Full 7" Mix - 4:05
  • Played In Full 7" Mix - English Vocal - 4:05
  • Played In Full - 7" Yemen Vocal (Teldec 7", West Germany) - 4:50
  • Played In Full Mix (12") - 5:45
  • Instrumental Dub (U.S. 12") - 5:49
  • Extended Mix (12") - 6:40
  • Gates of Heaven Mix (Mark Kamins and Frank Inglese, U.S. 12") - 6:54

1997

  • "Im Nin'alu 2000" - 1997 re-recording, album Ofra Haza - 3:38
  • 1997 Re-Recording - Ofra Goes To Hollywood Mix ("Show Me" Promo 12", Germany) - 5:15
  • 1997 Re-Recording - Some Skunk Funk Remix ("Show Me" Promo 12", Germany) - 7:30

2008

Certifications[edit]

Country Certification Date Sales certified
France[2] Silver 1988 200,000
Germany[3] Gold 1988 250,000
Sweden[4] Gold September 21, 1988 10,000

Charts[edit]

Preceded by
"Alphabet Street" by Prince
Norwegian VG-Lista number-one single
25/1988 – 28/1988 (4 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Drums of War" by Tindrums
Preceded by
"Ella, elle l'a" by France Gall
German number-one single
17 June 1988 – 5 August 1988 (7 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Twist" by Fat Boys and Chubby Checker
Preceded by
"Theme from S'Express" by S'Express
Swiss number-one single
26 June 1988 – 31 July 1988 (6 weeks)
Preceded by
"Dirty Diana" by Michael Jackson
Eurochart Hot 100 number-one single
6 August 1988 – 19 August 1988
Succeeded by
"The Locomotion" by Kylie Minogue

References[edit]

  1. ^ Full Hebrew text of the poem is available here.
  2. ^ French certifications Chartsinfrance.net (Retrieved 11 August 2008)
  3. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Im+Nin%27alu')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 11 August 2008. 
  4. ^ Swedish certifications Ifpi.se (Retrieved 11 September 2008)
  5. ^ a b c d e "Im Nin'Alu", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved 10 August 2008)
  6. ^ German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved 10 August 2008)
  7. ^ Irish Single Chart Irishcharts.ie (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  8. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2. 
  9. ^ UK Singles Chart Chartstats.com (Retrieved 10 April 2008)
  10. ^ a b Billboard Allmusic.com (Retrieved 11 August 2008)
  11. ^ 1988 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved 11 August 2008)
  12. ^ 1988 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved 11 August 2008)

External links[edit]