Hannukah’s coming! Don’t you wish there were new Hanukkah songs to jazz up the fusty line-up of traditional holiday tunes? Jane Peppler certainly thinks so. She and her fellow musicians of Mappamundi have created “Mrs. Maccabee’s Kitchen: New Hanukah Songs,” a lively collection of eighteen holiday compositions intended as a light-hearted, occasionally irreverent addition to this festive Jewish celebration.
Peppler, past director of the Triangle Jewish Chorale, has teamed with pianist Aviva Enoch – her collaborator on the 2010 Yiddish CD, “I Can’t Complain (but sometimes I still do)” - and the members of world music band Mappamundi; together they rekindle the Hannukah lights, mixing obscure stories of the season (real and imagined) with an eclectic assortment of melodies (folk tunes, ragtime and blues, tangos, swing tunes, even a lonesome cowboy ballad). Hannukah will never be the same!
In 2012 Hanukkah begins the evening of Saturday, December 8 and ends the evening of Sunday, December 16. Photos, advance CDs, and more information available from:
919-383-8952 or 919-606-2122
919-383-8952 or 919-606-2122
Levin Jewish Community Center, 1937 West Cornwallis Road, Durham, NC
Sunday, November 18, 3:30pm (FREE)
After We Get What We Want We Don't Want It: a new version of Irving Berlin's 1920 classic "After You Get What You Want You Don't Want It," most famously sung by Marilyn Monroe, it points out that we have an awful lot of stuff already.
Ain't We Got Hanukah Fun: The original "Ain't We Got Fun?" was performed in the revue Satires of 1920, then grew famous in vaudeville and recordings.
Antiochus IV (you crazy coot): a tango. Did you know Antiochus murdered his own nephew?
Ben Aronin's Latke Ditty: this song, done as a tango, is the only one not written specifically for this recording; it's included by request (an 85-year-old friend remembered it being sung in Chicago in her youth). Ben informs us: "It was the latkes that made the Syrians recoil."
Choliday Song: written by my son-in-law Derek Miller, this is a plaintive klezmer waltz mocking the pesky voiceless velar fricative that kicks off this festive season's name!
Doina on the Subject of Good and Bad Latkes: I googled "bad latkes" and took samples of furious online discussions, then edited them into this concatenation set to a famous "Kale Bazetsn" doina (traditional Jewish wedding repertoire). Itzhak Perlman played it on his "Live in the Fiddler's House" recording. We follow it with a traditional klezmer tune, a Rusishe Sher.
Hanukah Cowboy Style - written by my friend Roger Lynn Spears. Kinky Friedman was not the first, nor the only, Jewish cowboy.
I Have a Song to Sing - I always wanted an excuse to sing this song, originally from Gilbert & Sullivan's Yeoman of the Guard, so I rewrote it as a Hanukah song.
Judith and Holofernes - my Yiddish teacher Sheva Zucker suggested the topic of this song. The story of Judith and Holofernes (google it for the gory details) used to be part of the Hanukkah story but is perhaps a little too wild and spicy for today's bland celebration. I did a cartoon video for it.
Mattathias built a camp in the wilderness - a camp-meeting song re-imagined.
Mrs. Maccabee's Kitchen - set to the "Yellow Dog Rag" (which was re-titled "The Yellow Dog Blues" by its composer W. C. Handy in order to capitalize on the new blues craze), it was inspired by my irritation upon finding out that the woman of the house is generously allowed to rest for the complete time that the Hanukah candles are burning (that's to say, about half an hour). Gee, thanks.
Nes Gadol - Aviva wrote this one to the famous Nat King Cold standard L-O-V-E. It's about losing at dreydl and losing at love. Or maybe not losing! One can always hope.
Nobody's Business What I Do - "Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do" was the title of the original but I didn't want to have two songs starting with the word Ain't. A vaudeville blues song made famous by Bessie Smith and sung by some mighty goddesses since then. Our version is cheerfully defiant.
Pawn Shop Menorah - another song I always wanted to sing was "Da Doo Ron Ron" so now it's become a Chanukah song.
Sour Cream and Hanukah Latkes was the first Hannukah song I wrote, to the tune of "Shoofly Pie and Apple Pandowdy."
Yiddish Wisdom includes some of my favorite Yiddish aphorisms, translated and glossed, to one of the fine traditional tunes for "Paddle Your Own Canoe."
Young Noah's Hanukah was inspired by both "The Twelve Days of Christmas" and my surprise that Noah's arc is such a popular subject for modern menorahs. It wasn't a particularly happy story if you think about it, why are all the animals smiling? It's a cumulative song set to the famous Greek folk tune "To Kokoraki."