“Zorba’s Dance” is an instrumental by Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis.
The song featured for the dance, which has become known as sirtaki, in the 1964 film Zorba the Greek, for which Theodorakis wrote the soundtrack and became renowned around the world.
It is now commonly played and danced to in Greek tavernas. The film’s track has since been recorded as a standalone song by many different musicians from around the world.
Michail “Mikis” Theodorakis (Greek: Μιχαήλ (Μίκης) Θεοδωράκης [ˈmicis θeoðoˈɾacis]; 29 July 1925 – 2 September 2021 was a Greek composer and lyricist who contributed to contemporary Greek music with over 1000 works.
He scored for the films Zorba the Greek (1964), Z (1969), and Serpico (1973).
He composed the “Mauthausen Trilogy”, also known as “The Ballad of Mauthausen”, which has been described as the “most beautiful musical work ever written about the Holocaust” and possibly his best work.
Up until his death, he was viewed as Greece’s best-known living composer. He was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.
Politically, he was associated with the left because of his long-standing ties to the Communist Party of Greece.
In 1990 he was elected to the parliament (as in 1964 and 1981), became a government minister under Constantine Mitsotakis, and fought against drugs and terrorism and for culture, education and better relations between Greece and Turkey. He continued to speak out in favour of leftist causes, Greek–Turkish–Cypriot relations, and against the War in Iraq. He was a key voice against the 1967–1974 Greek junta, which imprisoned him and banned his songs.
Hava Nagila is one of the first modern Jewish folk songs in the Hebrew language.
It went on to become a staple of band performers at Jewish weddings and bar/bat(b’nei) mitzvah celebrations.
The melody is based on a Hassidic Nigun. It was composed in 1918, to celebrate the Balfour Declaration and the British victory over the Ottomans in 1917. It was first performed in a mixed choir concert in Jerusalem.