Music is an integral part of any religion, and always has been. Religious and cult rituals often revolve around music or chanting. Christian churches are often full of hymnals, songs of worship to be sung during the service. Even more modern, churches targeted towards youth (or hipsters) feature live bands, pouring forth their Jesus music while everybody in the crowd sways and holds their hands up towards Heaven, basking in the glowing feeling of the Spirit of God pouring forth through the vehicle of song. (They ignore, of course, the reality that music of any variety has the potential to touch you in a “spiritual” way; last year's Godspeed! You Black Emperor concert filled me with all sorts of Feelings that I could easily deem “religious,” in a secular sense.)
I talk about Christian music because that was my experience growing up, but every religion has their traditional musical themes, including, of course, Judaism. You may not recognize the song “Hava Nagila” by its name, but I guarantee you have heard it. Ever seen a movie where there is a Jewish celebration and everybody is dancing around in a big circle? That song is the “Hava Nagila.”
It is a song with a rich history and tradition, and this is the subject of the documentary aptly titled Hava Nagila: The Movie. The film discusses the song in a classic sense, as well as the modern impact it has, including current incarnations and cultural references. Included are interviews with the likes of Leonard Nimoy, Regina Spektor, Harry Belafonte, and Glen Campbell.
Village 8 presents Hava Nagila as the most recent installment in the Louisville Exclusives series. It is scheduled to run until next Thursday, April 18, but this may be subject to extension. Village 8 is located at 4014 Dutchmans Lane. Further theater information and showtimes can be found at the Village 8 website.
Image: Internet Movie Database