Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hanukkah Day 5: A Hanukkah Sound Archive

So, we're 5 days into Hanukkah and you're thinking...yeah, I got this. Got my blessings back, warmed up my Ma'ot Tzur. Checked in on Teruah for that new Maccabeats video that everyone's talking about.

I hear you. Me too. So it's time to mix it up. How about switching to a Carlebach blessing melody?

Or a Ma'oz Tzur melody from Hungary?

Or maybe adding Dak il tas from Turkey.

The Sound Archive at the Jewish National University and Library has got you covered. It's Hanukkah page has a fascinating variety of audio recordings and maybe your new favorite melody.

The Library's aims are "To collect, preserve, cultivate and endow the treasures of knowledge, heritage and culture in general, with an emphasis on the Land of Israel, the State of Israel and the Jewish people in particular." There's a lot of great stuff in the archive, though you'll have to fight with a pretty terrible search interface.

Update: After posting this, I got a FaceBook note from Francesco Spangolo with more details about the JNUL. Spangolo is "a multidisciplinary scholar focusing on Jewish studies, music and digital media. Intersecting textual, visual and musical cultures, Spagnolo has contributed extensively to academia, cultural heritage and archival institutions, and live and electronic media in Europe, Israel and the United States. " Francesco and I have been crossing paths for a quite a while and I very hope to meet up with him someday.
"The National Sound Archives do not, unfortunately, maintain a dedicated website but they are currently digitizing the bulk of their collection in order to make it accessible online. The short story, off the top of my head: the NSA (aka Fonoteqah Leumit, or Phonotèque Nationale) were founded at the Jewish National and University Library in 1964 by musicologist Israel Adler (Berlin 1925 - Jerusalem 2009). They include thousands of archival recordings of the many musical traditions of the Jewish Diaspora, made on location and in studio, as well as non-Jewish traditions recorded in Israel (Samaritans, Druze, Beduin, Greek Orthodox, Syriac, etc.). Most of the recordings were made by fellows of the Jewish Music Research Center (JMRC) of the Hebrew University, which was also founded by I. Adler at the same time. The NSA are an amazing institution, and hopefully it will be known more once it fully goes online. The selections you posted were made by Ruti Freed, a longtime archivist at the NSA, who retired last year. The current director is Dr. Gila Flam.

They are my home away from home and I was just there last month, finishing to gather all the materials for a new CD project (an anthology of archival recordings) to be published next year. (The first one,
Italian Jewish Musical Traditions from the Leo Levi Collection (1954-1961), came out almost 10 years ago...). "
Thanks Francesco!

hat tip to the Miss Music Nerd blog, where I found the link to the JNUL sound archive.

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