Oh, that Hanukkah album

So apparently Borat’s brother has got a Jewish musical group called Zohar and they just dropped a Hanukkah album.


That’s right, a Hanukkah album. But this is not so much for your mother’s latka celebration as it is for dreidel dealing comedians

Erran Baron Cohen, who has soundtracked the wacky stylings of brother Sascha Baron Cohen in “Borat” and “Ali G,” has put together an album of updated Hanukkah tunes, sampling classic melodies and uplifting them with contemporary dub and marimba.

From “Dreidel” to “Hanukkah oh Hanukkah,” they’re all there, but only a handful are for anybody but the die-hard Jews. The ones with a sense of humor anyway.

The Hasidic Jews – those are the guys with Amish beards, curlicue sideburns, all black, and top hats or – might be offended by the music video for “Dreidel.” Cohen and friends portray the Hasidics in full costume, complete with sunglasses, dreidel spinning, and even attempted breakdancing.

To a lax Jew with a good sense of humor (know any?), this stuff is great – I showed my whole family after we lit the Hanukkah candles tonight.

For those who take their religion a little more seriously and wear the black garments and ridiculous hairdos for a reason might not take the joke as lightly.

But Cohen is obviously a Jew himself, and does justice to most of the songs he updates on the album. Jokes aside, the musicianship is actually pretty quality and tracks like “Look To The Light” are serious and good, without being seriously good. The choir of backup singing is only a bit hokey, and the acoustic guitar makes for a campfire melody that would make Peter, Paul and Mary smile.

I spent $8.99 to download this whole album from Amazon.com, which is a lot for a guy who gets most of his music for free or via $2 used CDs. (I tried to get it for free, but the tracks haven’t been uploaded to many filesharing networks!)

If nothing else, the “Dreidel” music video is worth sharing to anyone who likes a good Jew joke, and a few of the tracks are easily hot enough to make it on the radio and the iPod you just bought your mom for Christmas…er, Hanukkah.

Forewarning: Cohen rhymes with Hannukah with harmonica, includes a Hebrew rap interlude in “Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah,” and makes a general mockery of the Jewish holiday and religion while staying hip.

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