Overlooked Arik Einstein Song Makes Radio Debut

'What’s Going On Here,' recorded in the early '70s by the late Israeli icon, is a gem if not a classic.

Menachem Saks

A song from the early 1970s by singer-songwriter Arik Einstein made its debut on Israeli radio Sunday, little over a year after the folk and rock legend’s death.

Einstein’s “Ma po holech” (“What’s Going On Here”) was recorded in January 1971 following the recording of his album “Badesheh etzel Avidgor,” known in English as “At Avigdor’s Grass.” The Phonokol label has now decided to re-release the album with the new song included.

Israeli music expert Yoav Kutner discovered “Ma po holech” while working on an Army Radio series on Israeli rock in the ‘90s.

“We naively thought we knew every detail about Einstein’s work, that not a song of his had escaped our ears, especially from the early '70s,” he said.

Kutner asked Einstein about the song and the singer didn’t remember it, but once he heard it he confirmed that it was recorded right after “At Avigdor’s Grass.”

Einstein wrote the lyrics and Miki Gavrielov composed the music. Unmistakable are the tones characteristic of the early ‘70s.

The guitar is very similar to that in Einstein’s famous “Ani Ve’atah” (“You and I”) on “At Avigdor’s Grass.” At one point, it’s identical.

“Ma po holech” isn’t a classic, but even less-than-stellar songs from that era are gems. “Ma po holech” is a delight.