02/02/2016Victoria Hanna On A Hiphop-Tinged Exploration Of The Hebrew Alphabet

From the hands of APE Records' label-head and drummer-extraordinaire Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Bot) comes one of our favourite productions of 2015, namely Israeli vocal artist Victoria Hanna's musical rendition of the Hebrew Alphabet, in a mesmerising video that went viral and generated over half a million YouTube views to date. 

The video shows Hanna standing in front of an all-girls classroom, as she begins to recite the Hebrew letters one by one, while her students echo her chants. The lesson turns into a downright mantra as Hanna switches from teacher to student in multiple parallel roles, before the entire song diverges into the prayer for rain, from the Hoshanot service in the Sukkot liturgy. 

Hanna (a stage name) herself, has been fascinated, not to say obsessed with letters and words from an early age. Born into an orthodox Jewish family in Jerusalem, with a Persian mother and Egyptian father (a rabbi), she spent her childhood surrounded by books, but plagued by a heavy stutter. In trying to overcome her handicap she quite literally immersed herself in the world of letters.

“When you look at the letters, you’re not only looking for meaning. You actually drink the letters with your eyes. In the Jewish tradition the letters are not separated from the meaning and that meaning is not separated from the physical existence or the sound [of those letters].” – Victoria Hanna during a demonstration of Hebrew vowels at a conference in Jerusalem. 

Her obvious fixation and the reason for her deserved success is now brought to life in her vividly engaging video to "The Aleph-bet song (Hosha'ana)", which sees her delivering an edgy and highly expressive spoken-word performance over a catchy Tamir Muskat-produced drum beat. 

This is the first single off her soon-to-be-released debut album. Watch the video below and hear her express her letter-scentric thoughts in the player above.

AUTHOR: Lev Nordstrom