Tuesday, January 20, 2015
A Ba Ni Bi, a seemingly nonsensical song that won first prize for Israel in the 1978 Eurovision Song Contest, has taken off and found expression in many languages and in many venues that are surely surprising original singer Izhar Cohen, composer Nurit Hirsh, and songwriter Ehud Manor.
The song was the subject of an article in Tablet magazine, in which Marjorie Ingalls reflects on the song's explosion onto the Jewish camp scene where it was and still is a staple of the zimriah and rikudiah (song and dance festvals) that are focal points of the camp season.
A Ba Ni Bi is actually not nonsensical, at least when sung in Hebrew. It gets a little weird when it's sung in Chinese, Spanish, Thai, and other languages. We have posted previous versions of the song performed in Spain, Malaysia, and Singapore.
As Ingalls, points out, It's 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.
Here is a version of the song performed recently in Thailand. The singers can't pronounce the words in the refrain correctly. The verses are either in Thai or in English. Either way, we can't figure them out. If you can, please let us know in your comments.
Just below, we're sharing the original Hebrew version that won the 1978 Eurovision song contest for Israel. Enjoy!
(A SPECIAL NOTE FOR NEW EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS: THE VIDEO IS NOT VIEWABLE DIRECTLY FROM THE EMAIL THAT YOU GET EACH DAY. YOU MUST CLICK ON THE TITLE AT THE TOP OF THE EMAIL TO REACH THE JEWISH HUMOR CENTRAL WEBSITE, FROM WHICH YOU CLICK ON THE PLAY BUTTON IN THE VIDEO IMAGE TO START THE VIDEO.)