13 December 2008

Music: More toe-tapping holiday music

While rooting around the web for the previous posting, I discovered a new album just released (November 18) : "Songs in the Key of Hanukkah," produced by Erran Baron Cohen - brother of Sacha AKA Borat et al.

This is a fun collection of updated old songs, as well as two great Sephardic holiday classics. Some may become your family favorites. Read about the album and listen to the playlist clips here, illustrating klezmer, reggae, electronica, hip hop, tango, pop and other beats.

I really enjoyed the can't-sit-still beats - even Y-Love's Yiddish rap - with Idan Raichel, Avivit Caspi, Jules Brookes, Dana Kerstein and the great Sephardic Israeli singer Yasmin Levy's two tracks: "Ocho Kandelikas" (Eight Candles) and "A la Luz de la Vela" (In the Light of the Candle).

Comic/actor Adam Sandler has also composed two holiday songs. The original song's lyrics (and guitar chords) are here, while the New Hanukkah Song video and lyrics can be found here. Here's a bit of the original song:

[A] Put on your [E] yalmulka, [D] here comes [E] Hanukkah
Its [A] so much [E] fun-akkah to [D] celebrate [E]Hanukkah,

[A]Hanukkah [E]is the [D] Festival of [E] Lights,
[A]Instead of one day of [E] presents, we have [Bm] eight [D] crazy [E]nights. ...

For the old holiday standards, in English (along with the original Hebrew or Yiddish verses), click http://www.jewfaq.org/holiday7.htm and listen to the melodies there as well. The list includes Rock of Ages/Maoz Tzur (English/Hebrew), Chanukah O Chanukah (English/Yiddish), and others.

For a view on Baron Cohen's holiday release as well as another new one - “Lights: Celebrate Hanukkah Live in Concert” - by the talented Craig Taubman (we knew him in Los Angeles when he directed the Yad b'Yad performing group) read Steven Friedman's story in the Jewish News Weekly of Northern California.

"Lights" features some of Jewish music’s best, including the Klezmatics, saxophonist Dave Koz, gospel singer Joshua Nelson and Cantor Alberto Mizrahi (known in some circles as the “Jewish Pavarotti”), to name some. If you listen to only one clip, make it Mizrahi's tango version of "Ocho Kandelikas" - hear clips here.

Writes Friedman:

Roll over Judah Maccabee, tell Mattathias the news.

Hanukkah music is getting a much-needed infusion of funk, soul and modern Jewish artistry with the arrival of two new CDs, “Songs in the Key of Hanukkah” and “Lights: Celebrate Hanukkah Live in Concert.”

But don’t take my word that these albums will add some be-bop to your dreidels and sizzle to your latkes. ...

"Lights" is Taubman's second holiday album. His first one is also a good collection and features Flory Jagoda ("Ocho Kandelikas") and the great Debby Friedman ("Not by Might, Not by Power)." Listen to clips here.


1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:40 AM

    Sandler has composed three versions of the song. A list of the people mentioned in all three are here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Chanukah_Song (along with notes where Sandler made errors)