In the spirit of the season, the New York City-based a cappella group Six13 is inviting all those celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights to “Shake it Off” Hanukkah style in their new cover to the Taylor Swift song that is taking the Internet by storm.
“I’m spinning dreidels/ onions and potatoes/ comin’ to my table/ smelling so good, saying it’s gonna be eight nights,” Six13 member Mordy Weinstein sings on the hook.
The video takes Taylor Swift’s addictive antihater pop anthem and turns it into “Chanukah,” an upbeat tribute to the Jewish festival of lights. The video, which has received more than 520,000 views since its YouTube debut on Dec. 11, riffs off the original “Shake It Off,” video, incorporating similar costumes and humorous, carefree choreography.
“We take whatever the biggest, catchiest thing in pop culture and say to ourselves ‘what can we do to make this really about Jewish themes?’” said Six13 member Jacob Spadaro, 21. “We want people of the Jewish faith to be able to connect in nonconventional ways.”
Spadaro, of Dix Hills, joined Six13 last year as the group’s youngest member. In “Chanukah,” he’s front and center, singing lead and tenor on the track. While the group puts out videos on their YouTube channel regularly, this is the second and most successful piece the group has released this year. In April, the group released “Chozen,” a Passover version of songs using tunes from Disney’s hit musical "Frozen."
“’Chanukah’ received more hits in two days than we saw with “Chozen,” all year,” Spadaro said. “People are really starting to take notice to us.”
According to the Six13 YouTube channel, the "Chozen" video has received 331,150 views since its debut on April 7.
Dressed in tutus, Power Ranger suits and hip-hop inspired apparel, Six13 breaks down the important aspects of Hanukkah. The group even uses the rap breakdown of the song to describe the dreidel game in a hilarious twist that mirrors Taylor Swift’s lyrics perfectly.
“Hay hay hay,” Six13 member Rob Operman raps, clad in an oversized green bow tie. “If life has been bring you down/ you should be thinking about the miracle of light.”
Six13 is no stranger to success. The six-member Jewish vocalist group has released five albums since 2006, with a sixth set to release in early 2015. All of their arrangements are original, composed by musical director Mike Boxer. The group tours internationally performing their hits and, according to Spadaro, has a lot of fun in the process.
“It’s been an amazing year so far, working with the group,” Spadaro said. “We’re very precise, very professional, but we also like to show our audience that we like to have a good time. I think that’s what this ‘Chanukah’ video was about for us.”
To check out more of Six 13's music and videos, check out their YouTube channel here.