Village Voice: Hanukkah Outrocks Christmas!

The Village Voice, offering one of the finest examinations of the modern Jewish music scene to date, reports,

The Maccabee warriors’ trouncing of synagogue-defiling Greeks (a victory, incidentally, that blew Jewish chances to trade patriarchy for paganism) pales next to the Savior’s birth. But Hanukkah offers its own charms and boost to the economy—eight days of presents and that catchy “Dreidel” tune. This year’s Hanukkah could beat out the Christmas competition in New York, thanks to a burgeoning wave of musicians recording and performing individual takes on Jewish identity.
[…] All this poses the questions: Just what is a Jew, and what is Jewish music? The popular notion of a slope-shouldered, schlumpy Woody Allen–esque self-deprecator no longer fits. Neither do borscht belt jokes like Uncle Moishe and the Mitzvah Men. Having lived everywhere and representing virtually every human race, the original wanderers adapted their liturgy and culture to wherever they landed. So naturally, Jewish music is literally all over the place. As Rebbesoul’s Bruce Berger observes, the scale Yiddish speakers call “fragish” is the Arabic “hijaz,” the Israeli “Oriental style,” and the West’s harmonic minor based on the fifth. What makes music Jewish today can be any familiar reverberation—snatches of Rosh Hashanah melodies, a da-da-dee-da-dum niggun refrain, an explosion of cantorial flamboyance, a mother-in-law plaint. Or even the juju of African drums.

Full story.

3 thoughts on “Village Voice: Hanukkah Outrocks Christmas!

  1. just a side comment, but how the hell were the Greeks not patriarchal? they were at least as friggin’ patriarchal as anybody else. just because you have goddesses doesn’t mean you don’t have men running everything in society.

  2. My daughter is down in New Orleans on a Chabad mission. She said while walking some people thought some of the Hasidic guys were Matisyahu!

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