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Shabbos Frivolity: Hchahnnukkahh Music

It would, I feel, be remiss of Your Humble Blogger not to take this pre-hanukkah Shabbos to link to Matisyahu’s new Chanukkah song, Miracle. Just because I can’t keep plugging the Klezmatics all the time. Although, you know, there’s a nice hour-long Klezmatics show from 2007 in the NPR archive, with lots of stuff from Happy Joyous Hanukkah, one of the albums they did with Woody Guthrie lyrics. But by now Gentle Readers presumably know if they like the Klezmatics and can do the searches themselves.

Let me state, for the record, that Channuka has a very low quality of holiday music generally. There are three or four major songs: I Have a Little Dreidel, which is as bad as Jingle Bells; Oy Hanukah, which is only really bearable if you do it in Yiddish and very very fast; and Ma Otzur, which is OK, if a bit dirge-like. Maybe Sivivon: sov, sov, sov. Compared to Rosh Hashanah or Pesach, it stinks.

Of course, the holiday itself stinks compared to Rosh Hashanah or Pesach, so there’s that. But I can’t help comparing the songs, nor of course comparing the songs to the Christmas songs, which admittedly include hundreds of lousy songs but also dozens of great ones. So then there’s that. And of course having an eight-day holiday with only a few crappy songs is a problem.

I mean, there are more songs. It isn’t just Matisyahu that wants to write new songs for Hanukka. Alas, most of the new-ish songs are comic songs—Adam Sandler’s famous song joins Tom Lehrer’s Hanukkah in Santa Monica—and are not quite appropriate for singing whilst sitting around the table wagering about which candle will last the longest.

Nor, I have to admit, do I expect Miracle to be a classic, crooned by the cantor over sufganiyot and cigars. Ah, well.

Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
-Vardibidian.

Comments

I rather like the Hanukkah round that the Short Sisters do, variously called "My Candles" or "Chanukah Chase." (In their recording, they don't start doing it as a round until the sixth night.) It's repetitive and may not be suitable for cantor crooning, but could be sung by friends or family sitting around a table.


Have you heard Erran Baron Cohen's Hanukkah album? The bits I heard sounded fairly rad.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=98443492


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