Israel Dances: Greatest Folk Dances

by Andy Tannenbaum

Album cover: Israeli Dancers Israel Dances: Greatest Folk Dances
ID 1001 from Hatikvah Music, LA, CA
Hatikvah Music">Hatikvah Music

This CD is a compilation of 24 tracks of Israeli music mixed for Israeli folk dancing. These tunes are all popular in the modern Israeli dance repertoire, so they'll be familiar to dancers and perhaps less familiar to other Israeli music fans.

Israeli folk dance cuts, even when they are popular songs, are often edited to fit a specific choreography. Sometimes the speed of a cut is adjusted to make it danceable. Sometimes sections are removed, repeated, or juggled to accommodate a dance. As a dancer, I will sometimes have a tune ingrained in my memory, having danced it many times, and then when I hear the original recording, not a dance mix, I will find out to my surprise just how much the dance version had been altered. Listening to a dance compilation is sort of like listening to a movie soundtrack, you may enjoy it, but you don't get the whole picture unless you see the movie or do the dances.

Evaluating an Israeli dance compilation is different from other kinds of recordings. Some criteria:

Most Israeli dance compilation CD's are "for educational use only." This means that they are collections of popular renditions of tunes edited and compiled on CD. The original artists are usually not acknowledged on the CD liner notes, which are always sparse, indicating only song names and perhaps, as is true on this CD, the names of the choreographers of the corresponding dances. As is typical, lyrics and dance choreographies are not included.

This CD has popular tunes, all part of the modern dance repertoire. A healthy mix of new and old, with new being since 1990 and old being since 1980. These are favorites, rather than this year's latest hits. I enjoy these tunes and the dances that go with them. The dances represent a variety of styles, couple and line dances, debka and hora, old chestnuts and new dances, fast and slow, biblically derived and secular, graceful and bouncy. The dances are created by a wide variety of popular modern choreographers. It's a broad selection of Israeli folk dance tunes, with no focused theme.

There are many compilation CDs with the latest tunes geared for the fanatic Israeli folk dancer, for instance, Moshe Eskayo's Keff collection runs to over two dozen, and they tend to cover the latest popular dances. If you're a dance addict, these might be interesting, but for a casual dancer or listener, a broader compilation like this Hatikvah CD might be more fun.

The tunes on this CD are all the familiar popular versions, which is what most dancers want to hear. The sound production is pretty good, the cuts are not noisy, and the volume equalization between cuts is ok -- on poor compilations, one cut might be recorded quietly, and when you turn up the volume on your CD player, you'll find the next cut is very loud and will blast you out of your seat.

This is a pretty good Israeli folk dance party CD, with a wide selection of popular dances. Like they used to say on American Bandstand Rate-a-Record, "it has a good beat, you can dance to it."

Reviewed by Andy Tannenbaum,, 7/98


  1. Ashrey Haish
  2. Eretz Yisrael Yafa
  3. Eshkolit
  4. Neve Midbar
  5. Yaldati
  6. Sheleg Al Iri
  7. Tfilati
  8. Bo'ou Nashir
  9. Atsei Hatsafsafot
  10. Al Kanfei Hakesef
  11. Ahava Pshuta
  12. Hora Bik'ah
  13. Debka Katsir
  14. Shir Sameach
  15. Eretz Eretz
  16. Harey Chevronn
  17. Kshehatal Notzetz
  18. Debka Rafiach
  19. Tzel U'mei Be'er
  20. Stav Lavan
  21. Shney Shoshanim
  22. Na'ale Na'ale
  23. Abba Shimon
  24. Mischak Hadma'out

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