So close we can hear you

Galgalatz radio will broadcast poetry, set to music, by soldiers who fell in the Second Lebanon War.

idf soldier 88 298 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
idf soldier 88 298
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
A select group of the country's most celebrated voices will take to the airwaves Monday afternoon as a Remembrance Day tribute to other, lesser-known voices - those of soldiers permanently silenced last summer by Israel's 34-day war with Hizbullah. Musicians ranging from rock veteran Berry Sakharof to recent pop discovery Idan Yaniv are among the performers participating in a program best translated as "Soon We'll Become a Song," a yearly Galgalatz broadcast of songs adapted from poetry by Israel's fallen soldiers. The 2007 version of the program, its fifth installment, will differ from those of earlier years by showcasing works written - in some cases during battle - by soldiers in a war waged within the previous 12 months. "The soldiers who fell lived among us until less than a year ago," the program's editor, Golan Yuchpaz, has written on the Galgalatz Web site. "They were able to see the World Cup final at the start of last summer. They, too, worried about the well-being of Gilad Schalit, [the IDF soldier] kidnapped on the Gaza border. They voted in the last elections." Finding and adapting poems by recently fallen IDF fighters initially seemed a challenge, Yuchpaz wrote, but the radio producer and his colleagues were surprised by the ease and rapidity with which they were able to collect works by those among the war dead. The selected poems include "Looking Upon You in Silence," written by Dan Breuer, a 20-year-old tank sergeant killed north of Bint Jbail, and "With You and Only With You," a love poem written by 36-year-old Asher Novik, a married paratrooper called up for reserve duty and killed on the war's 29th day. The poems range in tone from anxious to playful, with one soldier writing about private tears flowing behind closed doors and another recalling an evening out pleasantly interrupted by a call from his girlfriend. The writers' words will be brought to life on the radio - and in a TV broadcast airing at 6:45 p.m. on Channel 2 - by a formidable line-up of artists, among them longtime rock singers Riki Gal, Shlomi Shabat and Pablo Rosenberg. Each of the artists involved wrote the music for the poem he or she will perform. Younger contributors include former A Star is Born contestant Harel Skaat and the 19-year-old Yaniv, whose break-up song "Thinking of Her" provided a plaintive radio soundtrack at the height of the conflict. Shiri Maimon, who encouraged an upbeat outlook during a memorable wartime interview conducted by phone from her parents' bomb shelter, will perform "After the Flood," a hope-filled composition written by St.-Sgt. Rafanel Muskal before his death in battle on the ninth day of fighting. Other musicians participating in the program include Eric Berman, Shimon Buskila and Micha Sheetrit. Song lyrics will be taken from poetry by St.-Sgt. Alex Kushnirsky, a 21-year-old killed by an anti-tank missile on the war's first day; Capt. Gilad Balachsan, a 29-year-old killed on the 28th day of fighting; St.-Maj. Nimrod Segev, a 29-year-old killed on the 29th day of fighting; Capt. Gilad Stockleman, a 26-year-old killed on the war's 29th day; Sgt.-Maj. Roi Yaish, a 27-year-old killed on the war's 26th day; and St.-Sgt. Itai Steinberger, a 21-year-old killed on the war's 32nd day.