Dan Storper is the CEO and founder of Putumayo World Music.
From ancient times to the modern era, celebration has evoked a thousand sounds across the world’s Jewish communities. The songs that accompany these moments of joy and reflection take different forms, and embrace unexpected genres throughout the Jewish Diaspora. Putumayo’s latest release, A Jewish Celebration, chronicles the upbeat diversity of global Jewish music.Featuring rollicking tracks from contemporary bands like Golem! and Kayama, the collection spans many eras and geographic regions. Classics also abound, from a graceful interpretation of the Ladino Hanukkah favorite “Ochos Kandelikas” to the always-fun “Hava Nagila” to dreydl-spinning tunes “The Dreydl Song” and “S'Vivon Sov, Sov, Sov.”
The collection also takes on a delightfully global perspective on Jewish musical celebrations: the Abayudaya people of Uganda sing about brotherly love (“Hinei Ma Tov” combines Hebrew and the local language of Luanda) with harmonies and phrasing that are distinctly East African. A rising star on the Yiddish scene, Moldovan singer Vira Lozinsky highlights this small nation’s Jewish roots (“An Alte Mil”). A tango by German Yiddish singer Karsten Troyke and ska by King Django (“Heveinu Shalom Aleichem”), are just a few examples of the uplifting songs on A Jewish Celebration. Listen to sample tracks on the Putumayo website.
What music do you play during the Hanukkah season to get your toes tapping?