The lyrics to Barzilai Netta's song, "Toy", which won the 2018 Eurovision song contest for Israel contains some words that are in English and other words and sounds that are not. To an Anglophone ear the latter might appear to be imitative sounds and nonsense words, but at least some of them are not, namely

"Ani lo buba" (Hebrew for "I am not a puppet")
"bucka" (Mandarin Chinese for some kind of idiot; which kind?)

What are the meanings and connotations of the words in the song which are not in English? They are as follows:

Ree, ouch, hey, hm, la
Pam pam pa hoo, turram pam pa hoo
A-a-a-Ani lo buba

Edit: Doron Medalie who wrote the song has acknowledged that the lyrics contain very little Hebrew, just a few phrases and sounds. Which are these, other than "Ani lo buba"?

Edit: does "Ree, ouch, hey, hm, la" reference the 47th weekly Torah portion (in Deuteronomy 11:26)? In English it is

"See, I am setting before you today a blessing and a curse",

and transliterated from Hebrew it is

"re'eh noten lifneichem haiyovm berachah ukelalah"


I realise this might seem to be a ridiculous suggestion, but the writer of the song has acknowledged that he wrote some Hebrew sounds, not just phrases, into the lyrics.

  • 1
    You do realize that some of those sounds are her making chicken noises, right ("bucka-mhm-buckbuckbuck-mhm")? You have seen her act, right?
    – BCdotWEB
    May 16, 2018 at 13:29
  • It sounds to me like some of this is sampled lines replayed, as in this question, in which case it might make sense that it might contain bits and pieces of a longer text. May 16, 2018 at 14:37
  • With that said, much of this --notably that first intro section -- seems transparently chosen for sound rather than sense. May 16, 2018 at 14:43
  • @BCdotWEB - Yes and yes. You have read the interview with the man who wrote the song that I linked to, right? He says he included both phrases and sounds from Hebrew.
    – user5931
    May 17, 2018 at 10:21
  • @ChrisSunami - You have to remember that some in the pop music and club scene in that part of the world seek to be edgy and provocative of those who are more traditional (there is history of this in past Eurovision entries from there - see in particular 1998 and 2000) and a reference to that Torah portion, especially given its meaning, is quite possible.
    – user5931
    May 17, 2018 at 10:24

1 Answer 1


Stefa in Hebrew סטיפה is slang word meaning a stack of bills or a bundle of bills. Here is a reference in an online dictionary online dictionary . I think my translation is bit more exact than the one in the link. There are online Hebrew-Hebrew dictionaries to confirm it but i didn't find a Hebrew-English source.

cululooo cululoo: is an exclamation expressing joy that (mostly) women yell at joyous occasions in particular during wedding bar-mitzvahs and henna ceremonies. It is especially common among Jewish women of Moroccan descent.

The bucka bakoo are imitations of chicken sounds Netta explains here that “The noises are supposed to imitate the voices of a coward — a ‘chicken’. Someone who doesn’t act the way he/she feels and treats you like a toy.” She doesn't mention Chinese or Mandarin words and I believe this is an unintended a coincidence.

Ani lo buba- as you said I am not a doll

That is it for words or sounds that have meaning in Hebrew.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.