Daniel Gil, a Jewish composer and folk musician from Sharon, MA, is preparing to release his newest CD, Hava Nagila, For Real. This new album which was arranged, recorded, mixed and performed by Gil himself, comprises songs from the Kiselgof Archive, which is the largest musical record of Jewish life from pre-World War I Eastern Europe.
Hava Nagila, For Real features 12 songs, including the original melody of Hava Nagila upon which the modern version of the popular song is based. All these songs represent a part of Jewish civilization that was lost during the Holocaust. These songs are the only recordings in existence that come directly from transcriptions made by the St. Petersburg Society for Jewish Folk Music, which was founded in 1908 with the mission to collect Jewish folk songs from people living in the “Pale of Settlement,” which was a region of Imperial Russia in which Jews were allowed permanent residency.
“Even from childhood, this music soothed the pain in my heart—and it still does,” Gil stated during a recent interview with the Meru Foundation. “It is the contrast between the great and awful darkness that plagues our world and the great and Holy light of music that moves me to bring our musical heritage forward for the world to see.”
Gil is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, and has roots in both folk and classical music, the latter often incorporating scenes from his Chasidic heritage. Traveling all around the world to perform for different audiences, Gil has both lectured and played to the tune of Jewish nature and history at impressive locations which include the New England Conservatory of Music, Dartmouth College, Tufts University, and various synagogues. Gil has been the recipient of several grants from the Meru Foundation, and the Boston Combined Jewish Philanthropies.