Israeli Chassidic Song Festival

VIDEO PRODUCTION OF THE EIJM

Discover in the video and the playlist iconic songs from the Chassidic music festival which took place in Israel, each year, from 1969 to 1992.


The Chassidic Song Festival took place in Israel from 1969 to 1992. It’s a song contest with original tune to lyrics of biblical sources, perceived as an attempt to integrate Jewish tradition to Israeli music.

This yearly festival, launched by the producer Miki Peled after the Six Days War, include many great performers among its participants, such as Shlomo Carlebach, who wrote at least one song for each festival, the Re’im Duo, Shlomo Artzi, Avi Toledano, Yaffa Yarkoni, Geula Gil, Shimi Tavori and many other.

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Since the first festival in 1969, the recordings are published each year on audio cassette and on RPM discs. Our collections comprise about ten recordings on these 33 RPM discs, from the Israeli music labels Hed Arzi LTD and IsraDisc.

Although some religious communities in Israel critic this festival because of women’s participation, and of dress code, far from the religious rules, this festival was a great success on Israeli radios.

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The first song « Ose Shalom Bimromav » by Nurit Hirsh, performed by Yigal Bashan is considered as one of the biggest success of popular Israeli songs.

1977 was a turning point in the festival’s development, introducing significative novelties. That year, the first prize was awarded to the « Diaspora Yeshiva Band », for their song « Hu Yiftach Libenu », a band composed of secular Jewish musicians and amateurs, from Israel and the USA. For this occasion, the band did a unique performance, behaving on stage as real Chassidim.

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The festival took place in Israel, but the entire production left for the Jewish communities abroad, in particular in the USA.

The Chassidic songs were widely spread among American and European Jews and discs were sold worldwide every year. That event participated in the development of the Chassidic musical genre, encouraged by singers like Mordechai Ben-David and Avraham Fried.

Sources :
Popular Music and National Culture in Israel, Motti Regev and Edwin Seroussi, University of California Press, 2004.

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