The Jewish calendar is fraught with moments of anxiety. There’s the “ohmigosh it’s Rosh Hashana again and I don’t think I’m any different than last year” fright. There’s the “Help it’s time to start cleaning for Pesach” panic that follows soon after. The “what do I do for mishloach manos” scariness. And then, every year, when the inflatable Santas go up and the poinsettias begin to appear, I start to wonder, “What am I going to put on my Chanukkah playlist?”
Starting about nowish, we will be subjected to non-stop Christmas music of astonishing (but still insufficient) variety. Some of it is even catchy and fun to listen to (the first 24 times or so). But go search for a Chanukkah song, and you come up with… um… maybe a half-dozen options, and that’s if you’re really generous and include every single Chanukkah song written since the dawn of time. (Peter Paul and Mary, anyone?)
In my quiet desperation, I trawled the internet, finding a metalized Al Hanisim, a Shlock Rock song, a BNL called Hanukkah Blessings, and (I was very desperate here) a song called the Hanukkah Mambo by a group called the Yule Logs. (How umpromising is that?)
Add that to Matisyahu’s Miracle, Orrin Hatch’s Eight Days, YBC Those Were the Nights, Six13’s Chanukah Rights, and Maccabeats Candlelight, and we have enough music to last about 10 minutes.
Note that one song is written by a Mormon, another is a parody of a Tao Cruz song, another is a reworded La Bamba, and a fourth is just updated instrumentals for the 21st century.
Hello! How pathetic is this situation?
So I was thinking, who do we have who could write a good Chanukkah song? Matisyahu already did his duty. But what about the rest of the Jewish music world?
After mulling it over a bit, I decided that both 8th Day and the Moshav Band should be encouraged to write Chanukkah songs. I would love to do the encouraging myself, but I don’t know members of any of the bands.
But I’m a religious Jew. So there shouldn’t be more than three degrees of separation between me and any other religious Jew. Therefore, I ask any Chabadniks or… moshavniks? to please find these musical folks and ask them, on behalf of me and the entire Jewish community, if they can please put out a single before Chanukkah?
I happen to be acquainted with both. But plain & simple you could ask yourself. They don’t bite. email me for contact info.
as interpreted by the Klezmatics:
I admit that there is a reference to a Christmas tree in one of the songs, but, so, skip that sing (I bet you can figure out which one it is just from the title of the song
okay, not stalking, just forgot to mention:
a geek should appreciate a tom lehrer song, tho really only a few words about hanukah in “i’m spending chanukah in santa monica”
Moshav has a song called “light the way” which cane out as a single last year chanukah.
Its a little less obvious a holiday song but listening to the lyrics towards the end, it is one
You can try the Leevees ‘Hannukah Rocks’ album: http://theleevees.com/
I know what you mean. I was trying to make a video and was struggling to find a meaningful, not cheesy song. A lot of the Chanukah music has no feeling to it despite all the emotions that really should be felt and expressed.
I for one would love a song from JudaBlue or Aryeh Kunstler
I’m surprised that you didn’t list Adam Sandler’s Chanukah song.
Also “Chanukah Nights” by Yossi and Yerachmiel.
Okay, so the reason I didn’t list Adam Sandler’s song or the Santa Monica song was because my criteria is this:
A normal, grown-up song that you would actually listen to even if it wasn’t Chanukkah. In other words, not something you’re listening to because you’re desperate for holiday songs.
Thanks Harryer – that one fits the bill. It’s been purchased.
Bz – what would be the fun in that? I’d rather do it Milgram style, and let it go via word-of-mouth.
I actually find this to be more of a problem around Sukkot time than Chanukah. That being said, there’s a hysterical Hanukah song performed by Doug Konecky and Justin Wilde in the album ‘Happy Hanukkah, My Friend,’ called ‘That’s what Grandma Says.’ To be honest the songs are pretty bad, albeit in an entertaining way, but there are 8 of them so I’ve just doubled the length of your playlist.