I posted about this last year, but in honor of my 800th post (!!!) wanted to bring a little music into this blog and remind everyone of a most amazing website:
An Invitation to Piyyut
Piyyutim are liturgical poems, both ancient and contemporary, and "piyyut" is an art form that sets this poetry to music from all over the world. Almost every culture that ever hosted a Jewish community has its own tradition of piyyut. And in Israel there's now a piyyut revival among both secular and religious communities--"a new 'retro' trend" of meeting weekly and singing. Just amazing. I'm currently taking a class on piyyutim of Shabbat, and we're learning songs in Turkish, Syrian, neo-Hassidic, and all manner of Ashkenzic and Sephardic styles. They're emotional, challenging, scholarly (most of this poetry references a kaleidoscope of verses from the Tanakh) and, of course, utterly beautiful. Click around the site--anywhere will do--to hear to some of these jewels.