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Light the Menorah, Turn Up the iPod on Chanukah
Musical gifts are renewed every time they're used, listened to, studied and loved. The products on this list are certainly diverse; they include traditional musical material, plus items that reflect the first digital decade of the 21st century.
· Best of the Celebrate Series. This 90-page music book of lyrics, notations and informative notes contains 33 songs taken from the Celebrate series of contemporary Jewish recordings -- produced and, in several cases, written and performed by Craig Taubman.
Los Angeles-based Taubman is a leading exponent of popular American-Jewish music, whose compositions are sung and played in synagogues and camps all over North America. These 28 songs by 28 different composers are grouped by such topics as klezmer, love songs, healing, peace -- as well as songs for Shabbat, Passover and Chanukah.
For information, see: www. TranscontinentalMusic.com.
· "Putumayo Presents Israel." This new CD, compiled and released by Putumayo World Music, contains 12 songs written and performed by the latest popular Israeli artists, including David Broza, Sheva and the wildly popular Idan Raichel.
This disk is a meaningful entry into the very diverse popular-music scene in contemporary Israel.
For information, see: www. putumayo.com.
· "Pripetshik Sings Yiddish!" This video, available in either DVD or VHS format, shows the Pripetshik Singers, a choir of New York-based children, conducted by Binyumen Schaechter. This great Yiddish music is beautifully put together with choreography, staging and props. The video was directed by Joshua Waletzky, an Academy Award nominee.
For information, see: www. ergomedia.com.
· "We're Still Here." The second recording of Work O' the Weavers contains 16 songs movingly performed by the four-member group dedicated to recording and teaching the music and the story of the original American folk group, the Weavers. When they replicate the original arrangements of Weavers melodies, you get goose bumps!
For information, see: www. workotheweavers.com.
· "Gadalnu Yahad/We Grew Up Together." This monumental 11-disk collection of 240 Israeli songs, with the songbook, was released by Hed Artzi Recordings for Israel 50.
For information, see: www. bluewhitedirect.com.
Both the Jewish and secular musical communities are now distributing music via the Internet.
But my favorite, by far, is Mordechai Ben-David, who has been singing for 30 years.
Check out his album "Efshar L'Taken" for a good example of hard-driving Chasidic melodies accompanied in a contemporary pop style.