'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 May 29, 2023) <https://jwa.org/blog/tis-season-to-start-listening-to-hanukkah-tunes>.
Thank you - I just went to the basement and brought up the Hanukkah music: Shira La LA Chanukah - Shira Kline - kids CD, but a lot of fun for adults with "Chanukah Bamba" and "Five Little Latkes."
Shirei Chanuka - this one is from Israel, where they obviously have a lot more songs - 14 on the CD, some familiar (Maoz Tzur, Siveevon), some not so familiar (L'kvod Chanuka, Nerot Rabim).
Lights - Celebrate Hanukkah Live in Concent - a great Craig Taubman CD, although our favorite on this one is "A Convert Jig" performed by Mare Winningham. Also love the rendition of "Ocho Kandelikas" by Hazzan Alberto Mizrahi (big ups WP!)
Craig (we're very close!) produced another one - Celebrate Hanukkah - We like this one for "Light One Candle" song by Peter Yarrow and "Not By Might-Not By Power" song by Debbie Freidman, OBM.
How many different ways is Hanukkah spelled? Too many, but hope it's happy!
For NPR fans, there is CD - "Chanukkah in Story and Song," which has a lot of Yiddish renditions.
Can't forget The Maccabeats' Candlelight!