Erran Baron Cohen updates, remixes and expands the music associated with The Festival of Lights.

New Line Records is excited to announce the release of Songs In The Key Of Hanukkah on November 18, 2008. The album was created and produced by composer and multi-instrumentalist Erran Baron Cohen, brother of Ali G and Borat creator Sacha Baron Cohen. Baron Cohen scored the original music for his brother’s film, Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan (in which he rewrote the Kazakhstani national anthem), as well as his hit TV series, Da Ali G Show, where he collaborated with the likes of Chrissie Hynde, Travis , and Supergrass among others. Following the success of the film, Baron Cohen was subsequently asked to compose a Symphony for the Turan Alem Kazakhstan Philharmonic Orchestra. The work, entitled “Zere,” was first performed in London in May 2007. He has also released two internationally acclaimed records as part of his band ZOHAR, which fuses Hebrew and Arabic samples, electronic soundscapes, dub and drum and bass rhythms. ZOHAR’s tracks have been licensed for numerous compilations, including the well-known Buddha Bar series.

“Songs In The Key Of Hanukkah is a record that takes Hanukkah music to a place it’s never been before. It’s a musical voyage that bears repeated listening both for adults and kids who will love to hear the re-workings of the songs they already know as well as the new, original tracks,” says Baron Cohen. “Hanukkah has always been a kid-focused holiday so the challenge was how to transform the music so that it was cool and interesting for adults and yet something that the whole family could enjoy.”

The record is indeed a collection of songs that brings the ancient music of Hanukkah kicking and screaming straight into the 21st Century. Recorded in London, Berlin and Tel Aviv, the songs combine klezmer, reggae, electronica, hip hop, tango, pop and other genres, all fluently woven into something uniquely Baron Cohen’s. The album contains five reinterpretations of classic favorites as well as five original tunes created exclusively for this project, all sung in English, Hebrew or Ladino (Judaeo-Spanish). They are performed by some world-class Jewish singers, including Israeli superstar Idan Raichel, world-music diva Yasmin Levy and New York City-based rapper Y-Love (who actually rhymes in Yiddish!) to name but a few. The result is a record that is both meaningful AND fun.

The seed for Songs In The Key Of Hanukkah was planted a year ago when New Line Records president Jason Linn went shopping for a Hanukkah record for his father. As his shopping process began, Linn quickly noticed how many Christmas records existed, yet how few there were that celebrated the Jewish holiday. He found some, but they were mainly kitsch in nature. Linn was soon to meet Baron Cohen at a party at the premiere for Borat and the record was born.

Songs In the Key Of Hanukkah is set to be the premiere musical celebration of one of the world’s most beloved holidays for years to come.

Dreidel Music Video

On Conan singing “Dreidel”

Reading next

Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.