'Tis the season (to start listening to Hanukkah tunes!)
If my friends who celebrate Christmas use the day after Thanksgiving as their start date for listening to holiday music, then so shall I. There’s only one problem: Where’s a girl to go when she wants to listen to some quality Hanukkah (or however you spell it) tunes? YouTube is the obvious answer, but here’s a round-up of some other free options. Ah, Internet, you’re so useful.
If you want to learn the Hanukkah basics, Chabad has you covered with “Chanukah’s Greatest Hits” with translations in both Hebrew and English. Songs include classics like “Oh, Chanukah! Oh, Chanukah!” and “Maoz Tzur.”
Lights Vol. 2: A Hanukkah Music Sampler is a free download from Craig Taubman, of the popular Jewels of Elul and the chart-topping High Holiday Sampler. The sampler features Jewish musicians Michelle Citrin, Josh Nelson, Yael Meyer, Joshua Nelson, Pharoah's Daughter, Rabbi Menachem Creditor, The Klezmatics, Elana Jagoda, RebbeSoul and Smooth-E, among others.
Download Spotify.com to listen to your favorite albums – Hanukkah and otherwise – for free. Unlike with Last.fm and Pandora, Spotify lets you choose what you listen to rather than creating a radio station full of surprise. A quick search for “Chanukah” brings up songs from famous names like Neil Diamond, Kenny G and Mandy Patinkin (three cheers for Yentl), as well as from new names who have just as much musical goodness to offer.
Turn on Last.fm’s “Hanukkah Tag Radio” for hits from secularly famous Barenaked Ladies and popular comedian Adam Sandler, as well as from Jewish musicians like New York rockers The LeeVees and Sephardic artist Flory Jagoda. Pandora, too, has a Hanukkah station that begins with a description of what you’ll hear: “To start things off, we'll play a song that exemplifies the musical style of Hanukkah (Holiday) which features ensemble strings, piano accompaniment, country music influences and folk music roots.”
If you want to get really jazzy, there’s always the 2009 holiday breakout hit “Eight Days of Hanukkah,” with lyrics by Sen. Orrin Hatch (“not a Jew,” as Adam Sandler would say). Luckily, it’s not performed by Sen. Hatch.
How to cite this page
Bigam, Kate. "'Tis the season (to start listening to Hanukkah tunes!)." 23 November 2011. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on August 28, 2015) <http://jwa.org/blog/tis-season-to-start-listening-to-hanukkah-tunes>.