I have one post dedicated to Jewish/Israeli song artists called “Shema Yisrael”, and another dedicated to the familiar songs of my youth and upbringing here in America, called “American Culture In Music”. “American Culture In Music” contains many songs in many languages, reflecting the diversity and melting pot which is America. Jewish songs were a part of my youth, but did not receive as broad a recognition in American culture as the rest of the type of songs represented “American Culture In Music”.
It is interesting to see how individual cultures adapt to their newfound societies, combining their old traditions with the new. It is an educational experience to look at a review, from the future, back to the past, to see how it’s developed, integrated, and been influenced by the melding of different cultures within societies. While many people can probably sing “Havah Nagilah” and many of the tunes written for the film adaptation of Shalom Aleichem’s novel based on the reality of life for the Jews during Russian pogroms against them, via the popular movie musical, “Fiddler On The Roof” (for which I played the part of ‘Hodel’ in a grade school musical presentation), other artists’ renditions of some of these songs deserve a posting set aside and apart from both these lists for the special classifications or designations into which these fall. Two such are those by Harry Belafonte, Miriam Makeba, and Chubby Checker. It shows a blending of cultures in the performances of one through the songs and representative styles of the other.
Here they are singing one of my newest favorite songs, ‘Erev Shel Shoshanim’, and several renditions (live and on studio albums) captured via film and video, or pressed into vinyl, of Harry Belafonte’s versions of: “Havah Nagilah” and “Hineh Mah Tov”. I hope you enjoy their versions of these Jewish songs, and this informational, educational look at cultures of American society through song:
Erev Shel Shoshanim:
Erev Shel Shoshanim:
Hineh Mah Tov (1960; Concert: England):
Hineh Mah Tov (Album: Return to Carnegie Hall):
Chubby Checker [Added September 28, 2019]:
Havah Nagilah (Album: At Carnegie Hall: The Complete Concert):
Havah Nagilah (Harry Belafonte From Jamaica: Calypso):
Havah Nagilah (TV: The Danny Kaye Show; with Danny Kaye):