Update July 31, 2012: Additional video posted below after the other videos: American Jewish gymnast Alexandra Raisman wins a gold medal for Team USA at the London 2012 Olympics, dancing to “Hava Nagila”. (She later one a further gold at the London Olympics, also dancing to Hava Nagila.)
FROM THE BEATLES TO BOLLYWOOD TO THE STARSHIP ENTERPRISE
This is the fifth in a series of “Video dispatches”.
To welcome in 2011, before resuming the usual Middle East-related dispatches, which can often be depressingly serious, here is something lighter. (I originally sent out and posted this dispatch 18 months ago; a large number of people have joined this list since then.)
1. A rich series of multicultural variations on a Jewish theme
3. Performed by Spock and Kirk
4. And 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 RICH SERIES OF MULTICULTURAL VARIATIONS ON A JEWISH THEME
[All notes below by Tom Gross]
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.
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
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.
Update July 31, 2012
AMERICAN JEWISH GYMNAST ALEXANDRA RAISMAN HELPS TEAM USA WIN THE GOLD MEDAL AT THE LONDON 2012 OLYMPICS, DANCING TO “HAVA NAGILA”
[Videos above compiled by Tom Gross]
Other dispatches in this video series can be seen here:
-- Tom Gross