Sunday, February 13, 2011

What should we LISTEN TO for Pesach?

imageForget “what do we eat?”  The big question coming up in a couple of months is, “what should we SING at the seder?”

If you’re lucky enough to have grown up around a sing-songy seder table, or to be bursting with your own brand-new musical traditions, well, don’t read any further!

But if you are musically challenged, like me, and/or you didn’t grow up with a bunch of cheerful tunes, chances are, you need “kids’” CD’s like this one - “Greatest Hits of the PESACH Seder” from Tools for Torah (the same folks who brought us the Tefillah Trax CD my kids love so much!) – to help get through the night in a meaningful, enjoyable way.

We’ve heard a bunch over the years:  David & the High Spirit stands out as particularly useful, cramming in a lot of quick, fun tunes, while the Chaim Parchi CD “A Different Night” offered a wealth of “new” Chad Gadyas (including one in Ladino), but not much else.

So what makes Tools for Torah’s Pesach CD different?  Well, it’s a light introduction, inexpensively downloadable (or available in hard-copy form), that comes with a one-page printable PDF of all the song lyrics.  Unlike on the Tefillah Trax CD, there’s even some instrumentation.

My chief “complaint” (concern?) about this, like every Pesach audio resource I’ve found so far, is that it covers nicely the portion of the Seder BEFORE the meal, leaving you mostly on your own to finish up after the meal. 

I guess the assumption is that beyond a couple of songs from Hallel (not even included in this compilation), it’s too onerous to expect everyone to finish, but I think they could at least give a nod to those families who want to try to extend themselves a bit further.

Some of the frummier ones include a tune for “chasal sidur Pesach” and there’s almost always a Chad Gadya, but what about that whole droney bit that just seems so endless (and tuneless) at 3 in the morning?  Somebody needs to make a CD to perk that up…  unless such a thing really isn’t possible.

imageIn the meantime, this Pesach Seder “Greatest Hits” CD from Tools for Torah is a great bet:  definitely one of the best I’ve heard, cheerfully and competently sung.    And my kids, being huge fans already, will love it.  Maybe this is the CD that gets Naomi singing Mah Nishtana at last!

If you’re looking for something free or a little out of the ordinary, and perhaps a little more advanced than this or another “Passover basics” CD, you could try the Israel National Radio Jukebox here.  Selection #491 (Songs from the Haggadah, listed under Holidays), offers a tuneful – if monotonous – playlist for the more advanced seder leader that will keep you bouncing along nicely.  (note:  the jukebox doesn’t seem to work with Firefox)

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