One more question: why do I so love this version of Lekha Dodi?
Lecha Dodi R. Shlomo Halevi Alkabetz--Breslov Hassidism
(Yes, the page is in Hebrew--PC users, click on the upper left arrow. Mac users and others for whom a non-functioning audio player pops up, click on the upper left "Quality Audio" link. On my computer this added two links to the player. The link on the right will download a Zip file of a .wma that you can open with Windows Media Player.)
(And here are many other wonderful takes on Lekha Dodi from that same great site.)
We've often sung the slower first half of this exultant melody at my synagogue on Friday nights, but only recently added the second part (about 6' 13" sec. into the recording). We do it much faster than in this version, which I can't help but imagine is performed by a bunch of men in black hats and long beards shuckling in front of an old-fashioned microphone on a rickety wooden table in their 19th-century beit midrash. These sweet, vulnerable voices rejoice and plead at the same time: welcome, Sabbath Bride, and don't ever leave!--even though we know you must. We always dance at the end of Lekha Dodi to a rotating cast of ecstatic, Sephardic-tinged melodies, transporting the Moorish-style Sanctuary back to its real home of sand, colorful rugs, and lots of wine. But this melody takes me instead to a wild wedding somewhere in deepest Brooklyn, everyone a little giddy and drunk on Slivovitz. On Friday the tune seemed to bathe us all in a Shabbat glow, even though the sun had set; no one wanted to go back to their seats.
I hear music like this, accessible to the entire universe in this "Year of You," and wonder when the rest of the world will discover it, retire all those other dirge-like versions of Lekha Dodi, and start having as much fun on Friday nights as I do.