Friday, December 10, 2010

Hava Nagila as it once was

As impossible as it is to imagine now, there once was a time when Hava Nagila was cool. Now, its a stale cliche, but in the 50s and 60s people really seemed to like it. John Lennon claimed it was the only Hebrew song he knew, and sang it for an Israeli reporter at his famous bed-in. Harry Belafonte recorded it for the album Belafonte at Carnegie Hall in 1959 and he rarely gave a concert without singing it. (Wikipedia)

In the clip that follows, Belefonte sings it with Danny Kaye. What's amazing to me, sitting here in the 21st century, is that there isn't a hint of kitsch about the performance. Both men seem to be taking it seriously, to be regarding it as a real song, and to be singing with no hint of mockery or bemusement. Strange and refreshing...

and here, thanks to S, is surf rock guitarist Dick Dale burning it up

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