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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A Song for Katrina

UPDATE: Added the electric version of the song

It may seem like I'm a little late to the party, but I'm not. I've been thinking about Hurricane Katrina and her victims from the beginning. But I didn't know how to process it. It seemed horribly surreal to me. Like something out of a late late night movie. A giant storm of biblical proportions comes and wipes out a major US city. Hundreds or thousands are dead. Armed gangs of thugs roam the streets and shoot rescue workers. All it needed were the zombies to complete the picture.

So I sat in Shul the Shabbos after the storm and tried to comprehend that New Orleans was gone. That hundreds of thousands were homeless. And then someone got up to the bima and started chanting this Haftorah from Isaiah 54:


יא עֲנִיָּה סֹעֲרָה, לֹא נֻחָמָה; הִנֵּה אָנֹכִי מַרְבִּיץ בַּפּוּךְ, אֲבָנַיִךְ, וִיסַדְתִּיךְ, בַּסַּפִּירִים.
11 O thou afflicted, tossed with tempest, and not comforted, behold, I will set thy stones in fair colours, and lay thy foundations with sapphires.

יג וְכָל-בָּנַיִךְ, לִמּוּדֵי יְהוָה; וְרַב, שְׁלוֹם בָּנָיִךְ.
13 And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD; and great shall be the peace of thy children.

And then a little later on, this:


א הוֹי כָּל-צָמֵא לְכוּ לַמַּיִם, וַאֲשֶׁר אֵין-לוֹ כָּסֶף; לְכוּ שִׁבְרוּ, וֶאֱכֹלוּ
1 Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye for water, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat;

And I sat back, and I was floored. Now, I don't pretend to read any supernatural connotations into this. I'm not one of those who gets up and says New Orleans was destroyed because it was full of sinners, or because I didn't make it to Minyan enough times this week. I don't know the ways of the Almighty. He has His reasons for everything that happens on this world and they are not usually clear to us down here.

But I was just amazed at how topical (once again) the Haftorah was. And this is not a prophecy of doom and destruction. It is a prophecy of comfort. Yes, you have suffered greatly. Yes, you have lost all that you had. But it will be rebuilt. We will help you. If you need food or water, come, and we'll give it to you.

We are all disciples of the Lord. Let's start acting like it and seek peace.

So I wrote the following song. This is the acoustic version, just me singing and playing guitar. A fuller version with the whole band is coming.

Aniyah (acoustic)

Aniyah (electric)

Video from 11/06:

24 comments:

A Simple Jew said...

Man, that is going to ROCK with your full band and on an electric guitar!

Jack's Shack said...

Very nice.

Ezzie said...

How do you put a song together so quickly?! Very nice, indeed...

(Is it weird that I picture this as the music to a video showing all the victims and destruction?)

Chaim said...

PT, that song is amazing. Really, truly amazing.

WBS said...

Aniyah

What does that mean?

PsychoToddler said...

Thanks, everyone. This song really means alot to me. I've been working on it for a few weeks. It DOES rock with the full band, BTW. It's hard to get everyone together with work and kids etc. But I do have an interum version with electric guitar which I may post soon.

Ezzie, I have some recording equipment at home that I use, so if I get an idea, I can run downstairs and record it before it escapes my brain. I also saw it as a soundtrack.

Aniya means "afflicted". But the phrase Aniya Soara Lo Nuchama means "afflicted storm-tossed one who is unconsoled." When I first recorded it, I got the second word wrong, and it actually came out meaning "O afflicted barley" so I had to fix that.

So far no one has commented on the one truely unique thing about the song.

Hint: melody.

Doctor Bean said...

Verily it rocks. Most mellifluous it is to my ears.

fudge said...

abba...i'm so sorry about the feedback; i couldn't open the attachmetn

Ezzie said...

You mean when you threw in a bit of eichah? I noticed... but then you switched off of it. Is that because the words mean more of a comfort?

ie.. switching from sadness to comforting in the melody, because that's what the words are supposed to be doing?

Essie said...

Really nice. I like it a lot. "Marbitz bapuch avanayich"-tune of haftarah laining, right?

shmiel said...

A Simple Jew said...
Man, that is going to ROCK with your full band and on an electric guitar!

I say it'll ROCK MORE with a horn section and shiny shoes...I ALWAYS insist that the haftara reader has his shoes properly shined :-)

Stacey said...

I love it. It's sooooo upbeat.

Shira Salamone said...

The "Good Ear" Award goes to the person who said that the melody was heavily influenced by trup/trope/cantillation. I didn't notice it until you mentioned it. (I was trying to figure out why "hinei anochi" was set off from "marbitz." Bingo--those words are in separate trup groups.) I don't know Eicha trup, so I'll check with the hubby.

Speaking of the hubby, he was kind enough to burn me a CD (that's a first for him) of this song on his own computer, since the CR-RW drive on mine is non-functional. I plan to play this CD for the weekday morning minyannaires. This song is gonna get some serious "airtime" on the shul's sound system. What a beauty!

PsychoToddler said...

Doctor Bean: I hate it when I get melliflous in the ears. You should see an ENT.

fudge: too little too late. Mazel Tov on getting your radio show!

Ezzie: It's the haftorah trop. I didn't write any melody for the first two parts of the song, just chords. I took some liberties with the tune as the song progressed. The bridge is all mine, though.

Shmiel: As I've said before, bass or brass, I've only got room for one ;-)

essie and stacey-thanks

shira-I am sooo proud of you! Or at least the Punster. Anyway, you are making real progress.

Ezzie said...

Yah... should've listened a second time before guessing. After someone else wrote haftorah, I listened again. It's a really good song, I must say. Relaxing.

kelli said...

Today at lunch I was sitting and looking out the window as the first gusts of wind from the outrim of the hurricane hit my city. And this beautiful song kept playing through my head. I absolutely love it.

Anne said...

Even I loved it, and I didn't understand a single word. Very nice.

Steg (dos iz nit der šteg) said...

I can't believe i didn't respond until now.

The song is great! I played it for my class when we were learning a midrash on this haftara as part of our Seven Weeks of Consolation / Pesiqta Derav Kahana sub-unit of the Homiletical Midrash unit in the Midrash/Parshanut curriculum.

Wickwire said...

I was finally able to hear the song. It wouldn't open for me before. Very nice. Hope you don't mind I passed it on to my sister and her children.

A Simple Jew said...

I REALLY like this version. In fact, I haven't been able to get the melody out of my head all day!

Now all we need is the live-in-concert version! ;)

PsychoToddler said...

I'm available for Haftorahs any time you want. I have very good rates.

Ezzie said...

This post has been included in Haveil Havalim #39, hosted by SerandEz - take a few minutes and check what it says. Shana Tova!

S said...

I was so happy when I found this song for my Navi class Haftorah project of Parshat Re'eh (that includes these pesukim). Your songs includes the exact words my project was about. My teacher was impressed that your song included the tune used for the Haftorah reading. Thanks!

S said...

Like the person above, "Steg", students were assigned to research and learn on their own the Haftorahs of the Shivah DinNechumtah.