Vox Tablet

Ocho Kandelikas

From the archives: Flory Jagoda’s popular holiday song has its roots in a Bosnian village

December 10, 2008
(Illustration by India Amos, based on photo courtesy of Altaras Recordings.)

(Illustration by India Amos, based on photo courtesy of Altaras Recordings.)

Among the small but respectable repertoire of songs available for Hanukkah celebrations, ranging from “Rock of Ages” to “The Dreidl Song,” is the lesser known, but also popular, children’s counting song, “Ocho Kandelikas.”

Written in Ladino (or Judeo-Spanish, as some call it), the song sounds as if it had been passed down over many generations. In fact, it was written just 25 years ago by Sephardic folk singer Flory Jagoda. The song’s Old World sound reflects her musical training, which began in the small village of Vlacenica, in Bosnia, where she grew up singing along with aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins.

Jagoda, who now lives in Virginia, has made it her life’s work to revive the music and language she grew up with, and which were virtually extinguished during World War II. To date, she’s produced four CDs featuring traditional and original compositions (many of them performed with her children and grandchildren). This is her story.

Your browser does not support the audio element.

Vox Tablet is Tablet Magazine’s weekly podcast, hosted by Sara Ivry and produced by Julie Subrin. You can listen to individual episodes here or subscribe on iTunes.

More Vox Tablet
See all
→︎
Thank you for reading Tablet.

The Jewish world needs a place like Tablet where varying—even conflicting—viewpoints can exist side by side. Our times demand an engagement with big ideas and not a retreat from them. Help us do what we do.