A Jewish tune with a universal appeal (From the Beatles to Bollywood to the Starship Enterprise)

August 26, 2009

* From Texas to Russia, from Iran to India to Egypt, performed by the Beatles and by the crew of the Starship Enterprise… and on ice!

* I hope this dispatch is lively and entertaining, with a genuine feel-good factor: a summer respite from the usual seriousness of my dispatches.

 

CONTENTS

1. A little music to lighten your mood
2. Texas-style
3. Performed by Spock and Kirk and the happy crew
4. Performed with the help of Russian soldiers
5. A rendition by Dutch violinist and conductor Andre Rieu
6. A beautiful version from Iran
7. Hava Nagila on ice
8. Performed by former Miss Egypt, singing superstar Dalida
9. The Jewish Beatles
10. A Bollywood film version from India
11. Performed by members of the small Jewish community of Cuba
12. Hava Hagila (baby let’s dance)


A LITTLE MUSIC TO LIGHTEN YOUR MOOD

[Note by Tom Gross]

Because these dispatches often contain depressing news, and because it is summer, as a little change from usual, this dispatch is devoted to some musical videos of the classic song Hava Nagila – a rich series of multicultural variations on a Jewish theme.

Hava Nagila is a Hebrew folk song, the title of which means “let us rejoice”. It is a song of celebration, often performed at Jewish festivals (and also at some Roma ones).

The music originated among Ukrainian Jews and the most commonly used text of the song was composed by Abraham Zvi Idelsohn in 1918 to celebrate the 1917 Balfour Declaration which gave rise to the modern state of Israel. It was first recorded in Berlin in 1922.

But, as the videos I have gathered below demonstrate, while it remains part of Jewish and Israeli tradition, the song now has an attraction that transcends frontiers and appeals to all people of good will.

-- Tom Gross


HAVA NAGILA, TEXAS-STYLE

This version has some amusing local Texas lyrics in English thrown in (“A little bit of dog and a little bit of cat”) and is particularly dedicated to all those Texans who follow this website.

 

HAVA NAGILA PERFORMED BY SPOCK AND KIRK AND THE HAPPY CREW

William Shatner (Captain James T. Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (Spock) and several other actors playing members of the crew of the Starship Enterprise are Jewish, so they may well approve of this video production.

 

HAVA NAGILA PERFORMED WITH THE HELP OF RUSSIAN SOLDIERS

 

A RENDITION BY DUTCH VIOLINIST AND CONDUCTOR ANDRE RIEU

This is a particularly good performance.

 

A BEAUTIFUL VERSION FROM IRAN

 

HAVA NAGILA ON ICE

A breathtaking version on ice from the 1999 World Ice-skating Championships, danced to by Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko, who went on to win the gold medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics and is a three-time world champion.

 

PERFORMED BY FORMER MISS EGYPT, SINGING SUPERSTAR DALIDA

 

THE JEWISH BEATLES

 

A BOLLYWOOD FILM VERSION FROM INDIA

 

PERFORMED BY MEMBERS OF THE SMALL JEWISH COMMUNITY OF CUBA

Click here to listen to the audio.

 

HAVA HAGILA (BABY LET’S DANCE)

A more modern version for younger people who follow this website.

[Videos above compiled by Tom Gross]


All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.