Friday, February 11, 2011
Last July we started a series on the re-emergence on the world scene of Abanibi, Israel's prize-winning song in the 1978 Eurovision contest. We posted a video of the original winning performance by Izhar Cohen and a swinging version at a wedding dinner in Malaysia. Then in August we posted a video of another swinging version at a festival in Singapore.
Now the song has gotten a new lease on life as a result of its being featured on a Spanish reality show called Gran Hermano, the Spanish version of the Big Brother reality show that's been showing on prime time TV in almost 70 countries, including Israel and the U.S., where the 13th season will be broadcast on CBS this summer.
The show's premise is that a group of people live together in a large house, isolated from the outside world but continuously watched by television cameras. Each series lasts for around three months, and there are usually fewer than 15 participants. The housemates try to win a cash prize by avoiding periodic evictions from the house.
A new wrinkle in the show is a swap, where participants from two countries change places, traveling from their home country to another one. Part of this exchange last month between Spain and Israel involved a song contest between the players from both countries, with the Israeli team singing a Spanish song, Bandido, and the Spanish team singing (you guessed it) Abanibi.
So, after that long introduction, you finally get to see the talented Spanish team giving an energetic performance of this silly song. As we pointed out in previous posts, the song is cleverly written in S'fat HaBet (B Language,) an Israeli variation of Pig Latin. The phrase Aba Nibi Obo Hebev Obo Tabach is simply Ani Ohev Otach (I Love You) with the suffixes ba, bi, bo, and beh appended to each syllable. If it were sung in English, the words would be Iby Lubuve Youboo. But nobody sings it that way.
P.S. Did you wonder why the men have those Afro/Isro hairdos or wigs and why they're all wearing white outfits? Check out the original Eurovision video with Izhar Cohen, his Afro/Isro hairdo and the group Alphabeta in their white outfits.