The band Kaveret split up many years ago, but every now and then the musicians come together to revisit their earlier success. "Yo Ya" is one of their greatest hits, an especially catchy and lively melody and outstanding lyrics.
The song is constructed around familiar aphorisms or sayings. Lyricists Alon Olearchik and Dani Sanderson play on these both musically and humorously.
The age of the song facilitates a broader consideration of the text and how it affects its audience. It might be argued that the song has a slightly non-Israeli flavor, owing more to classical Jewish humor with a dash of slapstick. Could it be that this text derives from the Yiddish entertainment culture? Perhaps Sanderson and Olearchik have managed to convey something of the old-chool Jewish American comedians, who commanded the stage at resorts and hotels in New York State's Catskill Mountains.
The wisecracks, dialogue, direct addressing of the audience and defeatist humor are reminiscent of films by Woody Allen, himself a product of the old Yiddish humor. All the song's characters are either beaten, failures, or ridiculous: the person sentenced to death who must "part with his car", the mailman who collects stamps and some letters too, until he is fired, the lay-about uncle who is "too lazy to rest", the cousin who learned to swim by correspondence and then drowned.
This definitely does not sound like an Israeli song, but more like humorous Yiddish theater or American Jewish comedy. Kaveret was established in 1973 by a group of young musicians who had played in IDF bands. The years have passed, the musicians have grown older, and the country has changed a lot, but "Yo Ya" remains a subtle link to Diaspora Jewish culture.