Words and Music: The Unknown History of 'Hava Nagila'

Here’s a delightful little clip that examines the meaning and roots of Hava Nagila as mythic folk tune, originally a wordless nigun of the Sadagora Hasidim, and reality as an artful 20th century pop-composition by seminal musicologist Avraham Zvi Idelson that somehow crept under our skin and into our consciousness until hardly anybody remembers anymore that it really is a 20th century composition. Which, alert readers recall, is what we call the Folk Process.

Hava Nagilah, What Is It? from Katahdin Productions on Vimeo .

Want more? This website takes you on an exploration of everything you wanted to know about Hava Nagila and a whole lot you didn’t know to ask.

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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Words and Music: The Unknown History of 'Hava Nagila'

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