« DeLeon offers AfroBeat(?) version of "Ya Ribon Olam" | Main | The Klezmatics to receive Tenco Award in Italy, November 16, 2012 »

'Twas the Night before Hanukkah!

CD cover

From the Idelsohn Society:

We're proud to announce our latest album release: 'Twas the Night Before Hanukkah: The Musical Battle Between Christmas and the Festival of Lights. This two disc compilation of Hanukkah and Christmas songs sung (and in many cases written) by Jews features performers from the 1930s to the present, from a wide array of genres.

The album features our usual extensive liner notes, plus essays from noted critic Greil Marcus and George Washington University historian Jenna Weissman Joselit.

The album comes out November 13—just in time to be placed under the Hanukkah Tree. Pre-order your copy now.

Preview "Dreidel" from Jeremiah Lockwood, Ethan Miller, and Luther Dickinson here: Dreidel

This TWO DISC set is the first-ever history of the duel role of Hanukkah and Christmas music in the 20th century. It’s a musical songbook highlighting both rare and iconic holiday music across both faiths. The 34-tracks feature songs written and performed by Woody Guthrie, The Ramones, Bob Dylan, Dinah Shore, The Klezmatics, Don McLean, Sammy Davis Jr., Mickey Katz, Cantor Yossele Rosenblatt, and many more.

The collection tells a uniquely American story: once Christmas was declared a national holiday in 1870, the competitive campaign to beef up Hanukkah began. The obscure, minor Jewish holiday rapidly elevated: not only will we celebrate Christmas, we will create a rival holiday of our own to celebrate as well! You have one day of presents, we will have eight nights. But Jews could not resist the allure of Christmas, and for reasons of money-making, sentimentality, or a simple love for the music, every major Jewish performer cut a Christmas track. The result was a truly American phenomenon: a category of Christmas music, as sung by Jews, became a vital part of the holiday fabric.