Our song for this month is I'm sorry, It’s Yom Kippur by the Brooklyn based band Schmekel (Yiddish for a small penis). The band comprises four members, Lucian Kahn (vocals and guitar), Ricky Riot (vocals and keyboard), Nogga Schwartz (bass) and Simcha Halpert-Hanson (drums). They started playing in 2010 and are a self-proclaimed ‘100% Trans Jewish band.’
Song of the month archive
One Yemenite Jewish Song and its Modern Reverberations
Hayrana Laih is an Egyptian song that was and still is popular in the Arab world, but also has connections to Jewish musical contexts and musicians. The lyrics of Hayrana Laih were written by Ahmed Rami (1892-1981), the popular Egyptian poet who was the main songwriter for Umm Kalthoum. Daoud Hosni (1870-1937), an Egyptian composer of Karaite Jewish origins composed it in 1932 for the Egyptian singer of Jewish extraction, Leila (or Layla) Mourad (1918-1995).
In honor of Tish'a Be'av, this month’s Song of the Month is Eicha Yashva Badad lament. Megilat Eicha (Eng. Book of Lamentations) is read in the night of Tish'a Be'av and in some traditions also in the morning after. Eicha Yashva Bada is the first out of five chapters of Megilat Eicha. It has an acrostic, as all the first letters of each verse create a sequence of the Hebrew alphabet.
"Alone I set out on the road," wrote Lermontov, the great Russian poet, in 1841. This line has been sung many times, as it came from the very popular Russian romance, "Vyhozhu odin ja na dorogu" (Alone I set out on the road). The song travelled all the way from Russia to Israel during the second Aliya, which consisted of many Russian immigrants. These immigrants, who left their homes in Europe and arrived in a desolate country in the Middle East, could feel themselves as the lonely traveler of this romantic song.
In honor of May Day, this month's song of the month is a Yiddish song about the political struggles of Jewish socialists, communists, and even anarchists, in Russia and Poland since the ending of the 19th century until the beginning of the 20th century. The song is actually a combination of two songs, arranged by Zalman Mlotek, musician, conductor, arranger and an authority in Yiddish folk and theater music.
Rabbi Yisrael Najara (1550?-1625), a poet and a composer, was born to a distinguished family of Jews from Spain. He lived and worked in Damascus, Safed, and Gaza. He was one of the greatest Hebrew poets in the period after the expulsion from Spain.