United in separation

Singer Ishay Ribo composes tune to lift Israeli spirits

The Israeli musician spent the last week writing ‘Keter Melucha,’ playing with different meanings of a corona

Jessica Steinberg, The Times of Israel's culture and lifestyles editor, covers the Sabra scene from south to north and back to the center

A few weeks ago musician Ishay Ribo, like millions of other Israelis, was informed he had to remain home as part of the country’s efforts to control the coronavirus pandemic. He subsequently postponed concerts.

Ribo spent part of that time writing a new song, “Keter Melucha,” working with other musicians who recorded themselves in their own home studios.

“I’m sending this song to the people of Israel in the hope that we’ll return to being free people very soon,” said Ribo in an email.

When Ribo writes, the religiously observant musician draws from what’s around him, whether it’s the upcoming Torah portions (Pikudei and Vayikra), the next holiday (Passover) or the term “keter melucha,” which is from a liturgical poem often sung on Rosh Hashanah, referring to the recognition of the ultimate supremacy of God.

This time, however, explained Ribo on his Facebook page, the crown is another way of thinking about the corona, a word that can also be interpreted as a crown.

The song, he said, was gifted to him like a crown, as he, like everyone else, was enclosed in his home, separated and isolated from the communities in which he usually operates.

*כֶּתֶר – יִתְּנוּ לְךָ*רק לפני שבוע, בתוך ההתכנסות, הניתוק, הבילבול, הבידוד והשקט,זכיתי שה׳ ישלח לי כתר בצורת שיר במתנה.מחרתיים בע״ה זה אצלכם❤️

Posted by ‎ישי ריבו – Ishay Ribo‎ on Monday, March 30, 2020

Here’s an excerpt from the song:

And what do you want us to understand
How to get away and get closer to this pain
Want to live with you
And not be alone

And what do you want us to learn from that
And how can we unite in this separation
Until the crown of dominion is given to you,

From Pikudei to Vayikra,
We’re all in the same boat,
Spring is here and Passover is coming,
And with it, much hope

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