After releasing seven volumes and a retrospective of the Holiday Feast series, I decided to release a Chanukah music compilation to add to our catalog of fundraising CDs.
When I would release our "A Holiday Feast" CDs every year, a couple of my Jewish friends (Jennifer Weiss & Kathy Juda) would tease me about the lack of Chanukah songs. I considered doing a Chanukah CD, but not very seriously until the Jewish photographer Lloyd Wolf came up to me after one our holiday benefit concerts a couple of years ago. "You know, you should really think about doing a Chanukah CD. There's alot of Jewish music talent in the area and I think it would be an excellent fundraiser for Hungry for Music."
Jewish music not being my expertise, I knew I would have to enlist someone to help me. I met Seth Kibel at a recording session for one of Hungry for Music baseball CD projects. He's a fabulous clarinetist and sax player. I mentioned maybe wanting to do a Chanukah CD and he was very enthusiastic. So, we started working on it in spring 2004. Seth rounded up bands and solo performers to and orchestrated the recording sessions for about 10 of the songs and I licensed the others and had a couple more submissions from NON-Jewish artists.
George Winston offered to record the Jewish traditional tune "Rabbe Elimelech" on harmonica. This happened quite by accident. He was asking me about a deadline for another project that he's contributing to and I replied that I had a couple of other projects ahead of it, including the Chanukah CD. He said he learned the song "Rabbe Elimelech" from his harmonica mentor Sam Hinton and that he would be willing to record it. Even though it's not a Chanukah song, I wasn't going to say no to George Winston.
I was very pleased with the outcome...a very diverse and unique compilation of Chanukah songs that was well received by the Jewish press and community.