1st Night Chanukah Concert: Is it Chanukah yet? Well ... no, not really. Not just yet. But then again, yes it is! At least as far as music and celebration go ... which, Abq Jew firmly believes, is pretty far.
This will be, Abq Jew notes, the first of eight (8) nights of candle-lighting and celebration which have been arranged for us by RACAA, the Rabbinical and Cantorial Association of Albuquerque. With special guests from the place called HaMakom in Santa Fe.
Please note once again that Abq Jew is not now and has never been a rabbi (or cantor), and is (therefore) not a member of RACAA, even though he did, for a time, attend Rabbinical School at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America (see May 2011's Wanna Be A Rabbi?).
So, you may ask, as if you have not been closely following her career - who is Elana Arian, anyway? Well, Cantor Aviva Marer of Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation (who has a herstory of her own) says of Elana Arian:
"I have no doubt that she is one
of the greatest Jewish voices of our time."
Isn't that nice? OK ... so here's proof. Let's look at one of Elana's songs and follow its trajectory all the way up to singer / songwriter heaven.
The song Abq Jew has selected is Ken Y'hi Ratzon - not, strictly speaking, a Channukkah song - but one is and two or more are allowed to sing it on Xanuqa, so why not? Elana says of the song:
Ken Y'hi Ratzon was born out of a shocking and painful loss in my life. And as I travel to communities around the country, it is the piece that people most often mention to me as having had the greatest impact on them.
Until now, the only version available has been an old video of me singing in a hotel room in El Paso. I am delighted to offer this complete version of Ken Y'hi Ratzon, which is the final track on The Other Side of Fear.
So. What do you do, if you're a young(er) singer / songwriter who has written and performed a really good one? You take it on the road (hence the hotel room video)! But next - you hit the shul circuit.
Mazeltov! You've made it!