What better way is there to spend the last night of Hanukkah than with one who knows how to spin a mean dreidel and rock the party - Matisyahu. Tomorrow night Matis brings his Festival Of Light tour to Philly, performing at the TLA. If you don’t know Matisyahu I should say here that he’s an Orthodox Jew who raps (and throws down some serious reggae and hip-hop), but you don’t necessarily need to be Jewish to appreciate his inclusive sense of spirituality he gets grooving on the dance floor.
Matis has a new song, “Miracle” and a pretty cool video for it. During the holiday season one can’t help but notice the incredible amount of Christmas music there is and how few Hanukkah songs exist. In fact, the other day someone said to me that they didn’t know of any other Hanukkah songs other than the one by Adam Sandler. In a recent essay Matis wrote for NPR Music Matisyahu offered this explanation.
The real reason Jews don’t have more Hanukkah music is that historically, American Jewish singer-songwriters were too busy making Christmas music. “White Christmas,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” “Silver Bells” and “The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting)” were all written by Jews. Both Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand have their own Christmas albums. The No. 1 best-selling Christmas album of all time is from Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, the Jewish smooth-jazz legend Kenny G. American Jews have always produced a lot of holiday music, just not 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.
Check out Matis’s video for “Miracle” right below.
Matisyahu’s Festival Of Light is tomorrow evening, Wednesday December 8th at The TLA Theatre of Living Arts 334 South St, Philadelphia, PA 19147. Showtime is 8PM. Tickets are $42.00