For quite some time, I’ve been disappointed at my otherwise stellar Seattle public radio station, KBCS for its lack of Jewish music programming. When the major holidays come around, there’s almost no Jewish music to be found anywhere on its air. I can’t tell you how sick and tired I am of hearing Christmas music but relatively little Hanukah music.
I decided to try to rectify that by offering to produce a show for Passover. Peter Graff, producer of The Old Country, graciously offered me a slot in the coming weeks for this show. Most Pesach music derives from the very musical, traditional haggadah. So many wonderful songs: Avadim Hayinu, Dayeinu, Eliyahu Hanavi, Had Gadya, the Four Questions, not to mention all the great songs from the Hallel service recited on all major festivals including Pesach.
I plan to offer music I have in my collection starting with a Pesach Suite (hear it) consisting of Avadim Hayinu, Dayeinu, Baruch Hamakom and Ki L’Olam Chasdo. I recorded this with my brother, Todd, years ago on Jewish Songs of Celebration and Struggle. I also have a wonderful 1970s recording of the Israeli Sephardic popular singer, Yehoram Gaon, Songs for Passover in the Sephardic Tradition. At least one song in the show will come from this. Yale Strom, the great chronicler of Jewish music of the Carpathian Mountains, performed klezmer music at our wedding in 1998. I wrote asking him if he had any Pesach-themed music and he replied that he’d written Buena Semana, based on a Ladino folk song for his Garden of Yidn album. I haven’t heard the song yet, but if I like it I’ll be using it for the show.
I’d like to find Pesach music from other Jewish traditions like the Abayudaya of Uganda, the Bukharan Jews of Uzbekistan, Solomoni Rossi, North Africa (Morocco?) and in the Yiddish language. If anyone has recommendations please e mail me immediately. It would help even more if you’d be willing to send the music to me via mp3 file so as not to waste too much time ordering it online (not to mention the cost).
Click here to read the subsequent Passover music posts in this series.