Hava Nagila

Composer: Idelsohn Abraham Zevi

Instruments: Voice

Tags: Folk music Song




Concert band (Sampson, David M.)
Hava Nagila (Hebrew: הבה נגילה‎, Havah Nagilah, "Let us rejoice") is an Israeli folk song traditionally sung at Jewish celebrations.
Hava Nagila is one of the first modern Israeli folk songs in the Hebrew language. It went on to become a staple of band performers at Jewish weddings and bar/bat(b'nei) mitzvah celebrations.
The melody is based on a Hassidic Nigun. It was composed in 1918, to celebrate the Balfour Declaration and the British victory over the Ottoman in 1917. It was first performed in a mixed choir concert in Jerusalem.
Abraham Zevi Idelsohn (1882–1938), a professor at Hebrew University, began cataloging all known Jewish music and teaching classes in musical composition; one of his students was a promising cantorial student, Moshe Nathanson, who with the rest of his class was presented by the professor with a 19th-century, slow, melodious, chant (niggun or nigun) and assigned to add rhythm and words to fashion a modern Hebrew song. There are competing claims regarding Hava Nagila's composer, with both Idelsohn and Nathanson being suggested.
The niggun has been attributed to the Sadigurer Chasidim, who lived in what is now Ukraine. The text was probably refined by Idelsohn. Members of the community began to immigrate to Jerusalem in 1915, and Idelsohn wrote in 1932 that he had been inspired by that melody.
The lyrics are based on Psalm 118 (verse 24) of the Hebrew Bible. The first commercial recording of the song was produced in Berlin in 1922.
Supporters of the Dutch association football club AFC Ajax, although not an official Jewish club, commonly use Jewish imagery. A central part of Ajax fans' culture, the song Hava Nagila can often be heard sung in the Stadium by the team's supporters, and at one point ringtones of "Hava Nagila" could even be downloaded from the club's official website.
Supporters of the English football club Tottenham Hotspur commonly refer to themselves as Yids and are strongly associated with Jewish symbolism and culture. "Hava Nagila" has been adopted as an anthem of sorts by the club, and was one of the most frequently sung songs at White Hart Lane.
In the 2012 London Olympics, American Jewish gymnast Aly Raisman used the song for her floor routine, for which she earned the Olympic Gold Medal.