An old (Hebrew) song I knew when I was a kid. This song is great for singing rounds, and is apparently in lots of camp songbooks. I know this, because I did a search on the Web and came up with staggering amounts of these. The interesting part is, there are corrupted versions of the song with narratives to preface them with, which strikes me as marvelously inventive. At one point I did find a BBS wherein someone requested the proper words to 'The Camel Song'. Camel Song, eh?

Here are the words I knew as a kid, (along with a second paragraph I never knew the words to):

Hebrew:
Zum gali gali gali, Zum gali gali.
Zum gali gali gali. Zum gali gali.
He-chalutz l'ma-an avodah,
Avodah l'ma-an he-chalutz.

Zum gali gali gali, Zum gali gali.
Zum gali gali gali. Zum gali gali.
Ha-Shalom l'ma-an ha-Amim,
Ha-Amim l'ma-an ha-Shalom.

English:
Zum gali gali gali, Zum gali gali.
Zum gali gali gali. Zum gali gali.
The pioneer lives for his work,
The work exists for the pioneer.

Zum gali gali gali, Zum gali gali.
Zum gali gali gali. Zum gali gali.
Peace for all nations,
All nations for Peace.

And some explication of these lyrics: 'Pioneer' in this song is said to refer to the early Israeli settlers. The pioneer lives to work, and work is there as a challenge to the pioneer. Apparently, (searching on Google brings up the most interesting things) the first verse is a parable, too: 'Usually, once we've given a name and a definition to a concept, little is left for creativity besides embellishing and polishing. But those who honestly pursue the primal question are never done. There is always more to discover in exploring the unlimited.'

And here is the 'Camel Song', with the words. Not that these are the right words, they're not, but I think it's admirable and deserves a spot here. Especially the little narrative thing, which makes it very easy for me to hear this song as a camel song.

Zum gali gali gali, zum gali gali.
Zum gali gali gali, zum gali gali.
La la la la la la la, la la la la la.
La la la la la la la, la la la la la.
Hock, suck, spit. Hock, suck, spit.
Hock, suck, spit. Hock, suck, spit.

Here's how it goes: The song leader explains that in the desert, you can hear the caravan trains with the camels long before they pass by the villages. First, faintly in the distance, you can hear the camel drivers as they chant "Zum Gali gali". Then, as they get closer, you can hear the singing of the dancing girls. Finally, as the caravan draws abreast of the village, you can even hear the spitting of the camels. Then, as the train of animals pass by, the first sound to disappear is the camels. Next, the dancing girls fade into the distance and finally the chanting of the camel drivers. Then, only silence fills the air.

I like that. I really do.

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