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Mordechai Zeira
Birth Date
June 7, 1905
Birth Place
Kiev, Ukraine
Death Date
August 1, 1968
Death Place
Tel Aviv, israel

Mordechai Zeira  Biography

The composer Mordechai Zeira (Dmitri Greben) was born on June 7, 1905 in Kiev. In 1924 he emigrated to Palestine and settled on Kibbutz Afikim. Zeira made his living working as an electrician. Many iconic Hebrew songs are attributed to him: among them “Hayu Leilot”, “Layla Layla”, “Shnei Shoshanim” and many others. We bring you the song “Hazaken Minaharayim” officially entitled Shir Hareshet, which Zeira wrote (music and lyrics) in 1933, inspired by Pinhas Rothenberg, the founder of the Electric Company. A photocopy of a letter in Zeira’s handwriting was recently found in the Meir Noi Hebrew song collection in the National Library’s music department. The letter is addressed to Gil (probably Gil Aldema) and describes the song’s evolution: “You will be surprised to read the attached sheet music containing the melody as it was written 30 (29?!) years ago….because everything you hear from the people bears almost no similarity to the song as it stands. It’s true that I made it very complicated, which is something many do when they are young….Today I wouldn’t write something so difficult, so chromatic with such modulation, especially as sudden as this…It’s true that it is interesting and perhaps enriched the melody, but many years of experience have taught me that it’s not that desirable…”

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