Amir Benayoun

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Amir Benayoun

Amir Benayoun (Hebrew: עמיר בניון) (born in August 30, 1975) is an Israeli singer-songwriter.

Biography[edit]

Amir Benayoun was born in Beersheba to Maxim and Esther Benayoun with Jewish origins from Algeria. His father was an oud player.[1] From a very young age he showed great interest in music, playing with his father and his brother. While devoting himself to songwriting, he made a living working in home repair jobs. He was turned away from serving in the IDF, because of a drug problem.[2] His embrace of Orthodox Judaism was inspired by one of his brothers.[3]

Music career[edit]

In 1999 Benayoun released his first album, "Rak Ath" (Only You), selling 40,000 copies. Shortly after it came the second album, and in 2002 his third, "Shalechet" (Fall), was a big hit, establishing Benayoun in the mainstream of Israeli music.

Additionally, he wrote and composed songs for other artists, such as Gidi Gov and Gali Atari.[4]

In 2011, Benayoun created an album in Arabic called "Zini" to support the people in the Syrian uprising.[5]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2006, Benayoun won the Akum Award for his song, "Nitzacht Iti Hakol" but he refused to accept it and donated it instead.

Controversy[edit]

In November 2014, the President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin cancelled a scheduled performance by Benayoun at the president's official residence, after being shocked by reading his lyric dealing with an Arab dreaming of murdering Jews, especially Jewish babies, and after a wave of controversy arose in reaction to its circulation.[3][6][7][8] Rivlin's decision was attacked from representatives of both sides of the political spectrum, by the religious for rebuffing a true patriot, by the left for intolerance of the right to free self-expression.[3] A poll by Channel 2 News suggested 42% of Israelis concur with the song's sentiments. Meretz MK Issawi Frej has requested that the singer be investigation on incitement charges.[9] Uri Avnery, who has translated the poem, and who says it is the expression of a decline in Benayoun's musical fortunes, claims that if you substitute David for Ahmed, and any foreign city for Jerusalem, what the lyric turns out to be is 'a perfect anti-Semitic poem'.[3] He likened it to a poem he heard as a child in Germany before WW2, which ran:

When Jewish blood spurts from the knife
Everything will be twice as good.[3]

A complete version has been given by Uri Avnery.

Salaam Aleikum I am called Ahmed
And I live in Jerusalem
I study at the university a thing or two
Who enjoys all the worlds like me?
Today I am moderate and smiling
Tomorrow I shall ascend to heaven
I shall send to hell a Jew or two
It’s true that I am just ungrateful scum
That’s true, but I am not to blame, I grew up without love
The moment will come when you turn your back to me
And then I shall stick into you the sharpened axe.

I am Ahmed living in the central region
I work near a kindergarten and am responsible for gas containers
Who like me enjoys two worlds?
Today I am here and tomorrow they will not be here
Many of them, very many of them will not
It’s true that I am nothing but ungrateful scum
That’s true, but I am not to blame, I grew up without love
It’s true that the moment will come when you turn your back to me
And then I shall stick into you the sharpened axe
It’s true that I am nothing but ungrateful scum
That’s true, but I am not to blame, I grew up without love

It’s true that the moment will come when you turn your back to me
And then I shall shoot you straight in the back.[3]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

  • Rak Ath (רק את - Only You) 1999
  • Otho Makom, Otha Haruah (אותו מקום אותה הרוח - The Same Place, the Same Spirit) 1999
  • Shalechet (שלכת - Fall) 2002
  • Nizaht Iti Hakol (ניצחת איתי הכל - You Won Everything with Me) 2004
  • Hakol Ad Lechan (הכל עד לכאן - Everything until Here) 2006
  • Aluf Beshahor (אלוף בשחור - Champion in Black) 2007
  • Omed Basha'ar (עומד בשער - Standing in the Gate) 2008
  • Mahshavoth - with Yehuda Masas (מחשבות - Thoughts) 2010
  • Lada'ath Hakol (לדעת הכל - To Know Everything) 2010
  • Etz Al May'im (עץ על מים - Tree On Water) 2012
  • Shirey Eretz Ahava (שירי ארץ אהבה - Songs of a Land of Love) 2013
  • Sufa (סופה - Storm) 2015
  • Milah BaRuach (מילה ברוח - A Word in the Wind), 2016

Compilations[edit]

  • Sha'a Shel Or (שעה של אור - Hour of Light) 2009

Mini Albums[edit]

  • Hamiklat (המקלט - The Shelter) 2011
  • Zini 2011 (in Arabic)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]