Putumayo’s A Jewish Celebration Shines a Light on the Global Sound of Jewish Festivities
From ancient times to the modern era, celebration has evoked a thousand sounds across the world’s Jewish communities. 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, A Jewish Celebration chronicles the upbeat diversity of global Jewish music.
Featuring rollicking tracks from hip bands like Golem! (“School of Dance”) and Kayama (the Bob Marley-esque “Vehistakel”), the collection spans many eras and geographic regions. Classics also abound, from a graceful interpretation of the Ladino Hannukah favorite, “Ochos Kandelikas,” sung by Alisa Fineman; the always fun “Hava Nagila” (as Ben Rudnick & Friends kick up their heels); to dreydl-spinning good times (Klezmer Conservatory Band’s version of “The Dreydl Song” and Julie Silver’s bossa nova version of “S’Vivon Sov, Sov, Sov.”)
The collection also takes on a delightfully global perspective on Jewish musical celebrations: the Abayudaya people of Uganda sing about brotherly love (“Hinei Ma Tov” combines Hebrew and the local language of Luanda) 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, uplifting songs on A Jewish Celebration.
The mix of ancient roots and contemporary influences shines a light on the world of Jewish Celebration.