I. Love. Christmas music. I start singing jingle bells in July. But I recently realized that there are tttooonnnnsss of non-religious Christmas songs (Who doesn’t love Bing Crosby?), and then tttooonnnssss of religious Christmas songs, and like 2 Hanukkah songs (Dreidel, dreidel, dreidel and Adam Sandler’s song).
Much less, Kwanzaa songs:
You might not even know what Kwanzaa is, which is understandable. Let Sesame Street tell you how it’s done:
Yes, the silent boy is from Everybody Hates Chris.
So I was listening to NPR yesterday night (shocker, I know), and heard Matisyahu, a Hasidic reggae musician from Brooklyn, speaking about the shortage of Hanukkah music. Here’s an excerpt from his NPR essay on Hanukkah music:
Amazon.com has 48,322 Christmas albums for sale, but only 212 Hanukkah CDs. That’s 227 Christmas albums for every one Hanukkah album. Even taking into account that Christians outnumber Jewish people 76 to 1, there is still a huge lack of Hanukkah music. Over the past 100 years, there have been thousands of Jewish singer-songwriters. Where is all the Hanukkah music?
Jewish musicians might feel more inclined to make Hanukkah music if they knew that someone would actually want to listen to it. Until the holiday music market shows it can support Hanukkah songs, it’s highly unlikely that we will ever hear Jewish holiday music at the mall, or the gas station, or the DMV, or on every radio station that Santa currently rules.
Is it possible that one day the tide may turn, that Jews and Christians will come together in the studio and start making Hanukkah music? Will we ever get to hear Drake and Rihanna’s hit single, “Hanukkah’s Sexy Love Lights”? Maybe, but it would take a real Hanukkah miracle.
Listen to the interview with Matisyahu and NPR, in which he discusses his choice in reggae and, at the end, performs his song “Miracle” acoustically. It’s really amazing.
All in all, I’ll definitely be looking for ways to make my expansive holiday playlist more diverse this winter.