10 Hanukkah Music Albums with a Twist

Although I have fond childhood memories of my father’s halting Hebrew version of “Rock of Ages” during our family Hanukkah celebration, it sure would’ve been nice to have some other musical entertainment. These days, it’s possible to find Hanukkah music which can satisfy just about any musical taste. I’ve put together a list of 10 albums which feature Hanukkah music in a nontraditional way. Genres range from klezmer, reggae, indie rock, jazz, and even heavy metal.

Erran Baron Cohen Presents: Songs In the Key of Hanukkah Composer and musician Erran Barron Cohen is the brother of Ali G and Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen. The album features reinterpretations of traditional songs along with original tunes. The songs combine klezmer, reggae, electronica, hip-hop, tango, and pop.

Hanukkah Rocks. The indie rock band’s album consists of nine original tunes, which Amazon reviewer Martin Keller describes as “funny and clever and played with a kind of informed garage rock spirit and oddball sensibility that will appeal to fans of They Might Be Giants and NRBQ”.

Hanukkah Swings. This album is pretty much what it sounds like – Hanukkah tunes in swing style. Ellis also includes original songs.

The Hanukkah Lounge (Instrumental Jew Music). This album is a collection of relaxing holiday classics reinterpreted by artists including Craig Taubman, Frank London & CURHA, and The Afro-Semitic Experience.

Hanukkah…and All That JazzComposer/pianist Jon Simon performs elaborate jazz interpretations of Hanukkah tunes.

American Chanukah – Solo PianoComposer/pianist Robin Spielberg researched and arranged the works on this album with the assistance of her 99-year-old grandmother, Jenny Spielberg. The collection includes songs of Yiddish, Sephardic, Israeli, Ashkenazi, European, and American origin. Pieces range from classic melodies such as “Rock of Ages” and “Dreidel Song” to an arrangement of U2’s “One” and Spielberg’s own “West Bank serenade”.

Hanukkah Gone Metal (Chanukah)New York City heavy metal band Gods of Fire has created an eight song collection of traditional tunes and original compositions. One tune is even about fighting dragons for latke oil. Fans of Iron Maiden, Dio, Dream Theater, and Judas Priest will relish headbanging to this album.

Oy Chanukah!The Klezmer Conservatory Band is renowned for its revival of klezmer music. The album includes Hanukkah music from various sources as well as stories and explanations of holiday traditions.

Festival of Light Volume 1 and Festival of Light Volume 2 by Various Artists. These albums feature an eclectic combination of music. Volume 1 includes artists such as the Covenant, the Masada String Quartet, and John Zorn. Volume 2 features Danny Heines, Frank London, and They Might Be Giants.

Woody Guthrie’s Happy Joyous HanukkahThis album features The Klezmatics’ musical interpretation of Woody Guthrie’s Jewish-themed lyrics. Inspired by his mother-in-law, the Yiddish poet Aliza Greenblatt, Guthrie wrote a series of poems which focused on Jewish culture.

Photo Credit: marliesc via Flickr

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One comment on “10 Hanukkah Music Albums with a Twist
  1. Pingback: Twas the Night Before … Hanukkah? » Callsign Snoopys Doghouse

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