WASHINGTON — US Senator Orrin Hatch has written a song for Hanukkah, which one critic described Wednesday as an American miracle and a catchy tune that breaks with the tradition of dreary music for the Jewish holiday.
Hatch, a Mormon, collaborated on the song called "Eight Days of Hanukkah," with Jewish composer Madeleine Stone, and recorded it in a studio in New York with Arab-American singer Rasheeda Azar.
Having a "Mormon senator in a studio with an Arab singer and a bunch of New York Jewish background vocalists recording a Hanukkah song of his own making... counts as a minor American miracle," said Jeffrey Goldberg, who writes for The Atlantic.
The song was released online Wednesday, just in time for Hanukkah which starts Friday night.
It was praised by Goldberg as "an extremely catchy tune."
"I also appreciate the song because Hatch's collaborator, Madeline Stone, has written music that... is happy and peppy and bursting with love," Goldberg wrote in his online column for the Atlantic.
"And I love the fact that the song's producer, Peter Bliss, hired a delightful singer named Rasheeda Azar, who was not only a back-up vocalist for Paula Abdul (Jew) and Janet Jackson (not a Jew) but is a Syrian-American from Terre Haute, Indiana," he wrote.
Goldberg also described himself as pleased that the song breaks with the tradition of "fairly lame Hanukkah music."
The usual musical fare for Hanukkah is probably is as uninspiring as it is because "most Jewish songwriters are busy writing Christmas songs," Goldberg said.
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