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December 06, 2012 - Image 71

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2012-12-06

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

* * * * 2 FABULOUS HANUKKAH SPECIALS * * * *

C)
I

1N

Chanukah On CD

Twas the Night Before Chanukah:
The Musical Battle Between
Christmas and the Festival of
Lights (Idelsohn Society for

Musical Preservation)
A musical
'TWAS THE NIGHT
songbook
of
BEFORE HANUKKAH
34 tracks high-
lighting both
rare and iconic
holiday music
across both
Judaism and
Christianity,
this two-disc
set is the first-
ever history
of the dual role of Chanukah and
Christmas music in the 20th cen-
tury.
Disc I, titled "Happy Chanukah,"
includes 17 tracks covered by both
Jewish (Mickey, Katz, "Grandma's
Dreidel"; Debbie Friedman, "The
Latke Song") and non-Jewish
performers (Woody Guthrie,
"Hanukkah Dance"; Don McLean,
"Dreidel").
Disc II, titled "Merry Christmas,"
features 17 tunes, some written by
and all performed by Jews (Lou
Reed, "Holiday I.D."; Bob Dylan,
"Little Drummer Boy"; Dinah
Shore, "The 12 Days of Christmas";
the Ames Brothers, "I Got a Cold
for Christmas").
Also performing are the
Klezmatics, Sammy Davis Jr.,
Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt and
many more. Extensive liner notes,
plus essays from critic Greil
Marcus and George Washington
University historian Jenna
Weissman Joselit, provide cultural
insights.

Putumayo Presents: A Jewish
Celebration (Putumayo World

Music)

From
ancient times
to the mod-
ern era, cel-
ebration has
had a thou-
sand sounds
in the world's
Jewish com-
munities.
The songs that accompany these
moments of joy and reflection
take different forms and embrace
unexpected genres across the
Jewish Diaspora. From Moldava
to Uganda, tango to ska, this CD
chronicles the upbeat diversity of
global Jewish music.

Featuring rollicking tracks from
hip bands like Golem! ("School of
Dance") and Kayama (Bob Marley-
esque "Vehistakel"), the collection
spans many eras and geographic
regions.
Classics abound: a grace-
ful interpretation of Bosnian
singer-songwriter Flory Jagoda's
Ladino Chanukah favorite, "Ochos
Kandelikas," sung by Alisa
Fineman; the always fun "Hava
Nagila" (as Ben Rudnick & Friends
kick up their heels); and dreidel-
spinning good times (Klezmer
Conservatory Band's version of
Mickey Katz's "The Dreidel Song"
and Julie Silver's "S'vivon Sov,
Sov, Soy," done bossa nova style).
The collection's global perspec-
tive on Jewish musical celebra-
tions widens with the Abayudaya
people of Uganda singing about
brotherly love ("Hinei Ma Tov"
combines Hebrew and the local
language) with harmonies and
phrasing that are distinctly East
African. A rising star on the
Yiddish scene, Moldovan singer
Vira Lozinsky highlights this small
nation's Jewish roots ("An Alte
Mil"). A tango by German Yiddish
singer Karsten Troyke and ska by
King Django ("Heveinu Shalom
Aleichem") are examples of the
unexpected, often uplifting songs.

Mrs. Maccabees Kitchen: New
Hanukkah Songs (Skylark

Productions)
Jane Peppler and her fellow
musicians of
1.
1 -1/j1
Mappamundi
have teamed
up with pia-
nist Aviva
Enoch on
this 18-track
collection
of holiday
composi-
tions intended as a lighthearted,
occasionally irreverent, addition
to more traditional Chanukah
albums. Mixing obscure stories
of the season (real and imagined)
with an eclectic assortment of
melodies (folk tunes, ragtime and
blues, tangos and more), the CD
offers up songs like "After We Get
What We Want We Don't Want It"
(Irving Berlin), "A Latke Tango,"
"Mrs. Maccabee's Kitchen" (set
to "Yellow Dog Rag") and "Pawn
Shop Menorah" ("Da Doo Ron
Ron").

'-=';

- Gail Zimmerman

44(



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December 6 • 2012

71

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