From ancient byways to modern highways, glimpses of faith are everywhere...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Have a Hava: Dance everyone dance

Macedonian Oro (Photo by Chajeshukarie)
It's harvest time in Israel - a time for rejoicing
and giving thanks for all such blessings.

Gratitude for the harvest bounty can be joyfully
expressed through dance and song.  And no song
better exemplifies this than "Hava Nagila."

Drawing inspiration from Psalm 118:24 of the Hebrew Bible ("This is the day which Yahweh has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it…"), the
transliterated Hebrew lyrics (often attributed to
musicologist Abraham Zvi Idelsohn)  include the following: Hava nagila ("Let's rejoice"), ve-nismeha ("and be happy"), Hava neranenah ("Let's sing), and Uru ahim be-lev sameah ("Awake brothers with a happy heart").

The English version includes these lines:  "Come to the valley, Run through the clover, Harvest is over, Dance everyone dance!    Dance where the corn was high, Under a golden sky, Dance where the wine was born, Dance everyone dance!"

The haunting melody comes from Bucovina (a region that is currently within both Romania and the Ukraine), and the foot-stomping beat comes from its association with the Hora (a lively Balkan circle dance, aka Horo and Oro).

Wikipedia reports that Hava Nagila has been popularized by such diverse artists as Chubby Checker, Bob Dylan, Connie Francis, Lena Horne, Glen Campbell, and Josephine Baker.  For Harry Belafonte it was a "stand out song" which he played at practically every one of his concerts.  Belafonte even stated:  Life is not worthwhile without it.  Most Jews in America learned that song from me.          


Copyright May 15, 2013 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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