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June 15, 2009 6:49 AM   Subscribe

MazelTovFilter: A friend is getting married this weekend, and he's having a hard time finding a decent MP3 version of "Hava Nagila" for the reception. Can the hivemind help?

He's looking for something somewhat traditional. It'd be easiest if he could download it from iTunes, though he's willing to travel for a CD in Greater Boston.

He has found:
—a version by GOLEM! with the lyrics "have a tequila" (too wacky)
—an instrumental version by violinist André Rieu (tempo changes are a little extreme)
—a David H. Yakobian version ("too synthy," reversed chorus and verses)
—an Israel Singers version (part of a medley; still synthy)
—a Bobby Morganstein version (not a fan of his Hebrew accent)

Thanks so much for your help!
posted by kwaller to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: First off, mazal tov indeed to your friend! To answer the question, has he checked out It's a site devoted to Jewish music of all stripes. I have got to believe there'd be something acceptable there - they've got a whole wedding category.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:00 AM on June 15, 2009

And let me add that there are tons of other great Jewish wedding songs as well. If your friend has plans for a full-on hora, I'm sure he can get a compilation CD or just download a medley of his own creation.
posted by Conrad Cornelius o'Donald o'Dell at 7:07 AM on June 15, 2009

The answer, as is so often the case, is Brave Combo, but as far as I can tell their version is not available on any record that's still in print. It's on their 1994 EP, but even I don't have an MP3 of that, or I'd, you know . . . ask you to MeMail me. There's also a version by Dick Dale and the Del-Tones. I do have that disc, but your friend would have to want something a little less traditional to go that route -- surfer music.
posted by The Bellman at 8:14 AM on June 15, 2009

Growing up in Jersey, the canonical version was always Harry Belafonte's version.
posted by Oktober at 8:17 AM on June 15, 2009

Well, maybe I spoke too soon. I don't know if it would come in time, but Brave Combo claims to have the EP in question in stock. You'll have to trust me on the awesomeness of the version though.
posted by The Bellman at 8:18 AM on June 15, 2009

My two favorite versions are pretty short and sweet. The Mickey Katz version (here in a random youtube video concerning chickens, somehow) is not available on iTunes, you'd have to go storewise to get the album Simcha Time. Although that may be worthwhile as there are other great short dancy tunes on that album so you can make a little klez-medley. He uses pretty traditional orchestration, heavy on clarinet.
An alternative would be Boban Markovic orkestrar's version (live here) on the compilation Brass Attack, or Live in Belgrade which are on itunes. The downside for the markovic version are the facts it is a live recording and doesn't have vocals. But it is done by the premier balkan brass band in the world, so it's got that going for it and for a live recording is almost crisp enough.
Good luck.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 8:26 AM on June 15, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks so much for your help, all. He ended up going with one of the versions he'd already downloaded, though he was quite interested in MostlyMusic.
posted by kwaller at 2:05 PM on July 15, 2009

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