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Six new CDs for Hanukkah

As Hanukkah approaches, the KlezmerShack mailbox overflows with the sorts of recordings that will make perfect holiday gifts. To help get the word out, here is some info about recent arrivals. Stay tuned for the word from the Ashkenaz Festival, and other catching up, to come:

CD coverJane Peppler has been playing for years with a band down in Durham, North Carolina called Mappamundi. In the last few months, she has released several CDs, the first one of which is a delightful collection of new Hanukah Songs. This is a fun combination of popular tunes repurposed, klezmer, and fun. Sure to be a hit with celebrants of all ages: Jane Peppler+Aviva Enoch & Mappamundi / Mrs. Maccabee's Kitchen. You can pick up your copy from Bandcamp.com.

CD coverBut wait, you say, what I am really looking for this season isn't more Hanukkah songs. I'd rather listen to some new and old Yiddish song! Jane and Aviva have you covered: Jane Peppler & Aviva Enoch / I can't complain ^… but sometimes I still dostrong>. This one is just Jane, accompanied by Aviva on piano. And, of course, it is available on … Bandcamp.com.

CD coverBut what about Mappamundi, you say? What happened to them? Aha! They are taking us back to the golden age of Mappamundi / Cabaret Warsaw: Yiddish & Polish hits of the 1920s–1930s. Songs include hits by both Jews and Gentiles, and of course, you can pick up your copy (and listen to a song sample) at Bandcamp.com.

CD coverJews and Gentiles, you say? This makes for a holiday CD? If you have been reading the KlezmerShack you know that the answer is Yes!. Today I received my very own copy of '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. In real life, this means version of "Dreidl" from both Jeremiah Lockwood, of the Sway Machinery, and Don McLean. It means standards from Flory Jagoda and the Klezmatics and Debbie Friedman and Mickey Katz! It gives us Danny Kaye singing "O Come All Ye Faithful" and Richard Tucker crooning "O Little Town of Bethlehem." Elsewhere, Lou Reed, The Ramones, Bob Dylan. I say, this is an "only in America" delight. Order your copy now.

CD coverAre you looking for something a bit more … Jewish? But, perhaps adult? The mastermind of the Montreal klezmer jamband Shtreiml, Jason Rosenblatt has gotten together with his klezmer bandmates and other friends to take on reggae and rock music in a new band, "Jump Babylon." This is an exciting new album reflecting Israel, traditional Judaism, and the Rosenblatt's Montreal roots. If these concerns speak to you, or if you just enjoy dub, this is the perfect holiday gift. Check it out at www.jumpbabylon.com where you'll find samples, and a link to download your own copy(ies). For a physical copy, don't forget to visit CDBaby.com.

CD coverI saved the best for last. I've been writing for years about Boston's best klezmer bar band, the Klezwoods, and how much I enjoy their shows with a perfect mix of klezmer, Israeli, and balkan music. This is dance music for the current century, and they finally have a CD that captures that magic. Klezwoods / The 30th Meridian: From Cairo to St. Petersburg with love is on heavy rotation here at the Klezmershack house. You may not want to wait long to get it into your house Download the tracks, or order the CD at the Klezwoods website. Enjoy. Tell 'em that the KlezmerShack sent you.