What did I learn from Etti Ankri?

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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Etti Ankri will be receiving a lifetime achievement award from the Society of Authors, Composers and Music Publishers in Israel - for 30 years of songwriting and musical performance. I met her at her home for a television interview and here are a few of her thoughts that I took away with me:

  • "Once bringing songs to the public was all about money. You needed money to produce an album, as well as a music company, and had to appeal to a wide radio audience. Today, in a sense, thanks to technology, restrictions on making music have fallen away. It's as if all barriers have disappeared and the music speaks for itself; each person with his own melody. Money's hold on creativity is gone, and everyone's songs have been set free."
  • "The process of teshuvah has been a constant for me. My songs have always looked inward. There has always been a shout from inside that sought expression and meaning. When you hear this shout, you go deep inside and finally arrive at some place in your heart where you say: There is a God. And even if I always knew that He exists, now I also want to hear what He has to say. I want to attach myself to His book, I want to insert my life into His book. Once I wanted to kick and rebel, to make big revolutions outside. Ultimately I came to understand that the greatest revolutions happen inside of me."
  • "I asked to perform before women only, and I was forced to cancel the performance because the organizers did not allow it. Choosing to perform before such an audience was my choice, an expression of my freedom. But suddenly all the permissive forces and fighters for justice, freedom, and artistic thought said - not this! And this is a most interesting question: What does freedom mean? Is it only a matter of breaking through barriers and limits? Or is freedom determining which limits I wish to place around my art? I feel that in this matter, as a society, we have room to grow."
  • "There are those who ask me to sing my early songs. These songs are seared inside their heads. But it's only an illusion, as if we are still stuck in our first album. Even if I had not begun the process of teshuvah, I think it's really sad to continue to shout the shout of a sixteen-year-old. We need to develop and to grow."

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