Ps. 133: Three Musical Interpretations

Photo by Andrey Konstantinov on Unsplash

As a way to honor those who have come before us and showcase the diversity of musical interpretations of the psalms, we will occasionally highlight artists who have engaged with the psalms in the past. This week we bring three different settings of the opening line of Psalm 133: 

Hineh mah tov umah na’im shevet akhim gam yakhad

How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together.

Hinei Mah Tov 

Harry Belafonte, iconic musician, actor, and activist, sings Hinei Mah Tov at Carnegie Hall in 1960.

Picture by David Shankbone


Hinei Mah Tov

Introduced by Rabbi Jeffrey Summit and performed by the Abayudaya Jewish community of Uganda.

Chichester Psalms

Introduction by Joshua Jacobson, PhD:

In 1965, Leonard Bernstein accepted a commission to compose a setting of the Psalms for a music festival in Chichester, England. Bernstein chose verses from six Psalms and set them in the original Hebrew. In responding to the commission, the composer wrote, “It would be a suite of Psalms, or selected verses from Psalms.… The music is all very forthright, songful, rhythmic, youthful. The only hitch is this: I can think of these psalms only in the original Hebrew.” We’ll listen to a brief excerpt of Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, the end of the composition. The movement begins with a dissonant Bernsteinian “God-wrestling” and then settles into a lyric rendering of Psalm 131, “Adonai, Adonai, lo gavah libi” “(O Lord, Lord, My heart is not haughty”), before this stunning coda, with the opening words from Psalm 133: “Hineh mah tov umah na’im shevet akhim gam yakhad (“How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together as one”).

Written by Leonard Bernstein and performed by the Chœur de Radio France. Leonard Bernstein (1918-1990) is a renowned American composer, conductor, author, music lecturer, and pianist. Founded in 1947, the Radio France Choir is the only permanent symphonic choir in France.

 

Read more about PsalmSeason here and subscribe for email updates.

If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today

more from IFYC

A new book, “Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas,” by Omar Mouallem, may meet the needs of a new generation of Muslims.
For Christians, Advent is a period of preparation for Christmas and beyond. The Rev. Thomas J. Reese writes that perhaps fasting during Advent can be the Christian response to the consumerism of the season.
Interfaith holiday events can be a great way to show respect for others and make everyone feel included. Need some tips? Our IFYC colleagues have you covered.
Studies show that American religious diversity will only continue to grow and that Thanksgiving dinners of the future will continue to reflect this “potluck nation.” We all bring something special to the table.
IFYC staff members share what they're listening to, watching and reading that inspires an attitude for gratitude this season.
How can you support Native Americans and understand important issues and terminology? This Baylor University sophomore is here to help.
Aided by an international team of artists, author Salma Hasan Ali turned her viral blog about Ramadan into a new handmade book.
A symposium hosted by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago focused on the intersection of Indian boarding schools and theological education as well as efforts to uncover truth and bring healing.
This week's top 10 includes stories on faith and meatpacking in the Midwest, religion in the metaverse and an interfaith call for peace in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The two lawmakers appeared at "Race, Religion and the Assault on Voting Rights," the inaugural event at Georgetown University's Center on Faith and Justice.
Religion & Politics journal interviews the author of a new book on the impact of growing religious diversity in the American Midwest.
Five interfaith leaders share readings and resources that inspire them, give them hope and offer solace in turbulent times.
“There is a huge gap between the religiosity of clinicians and the religiosity of the clients,” mental health counselor Shivam Gosai says. “This gap has always been there. Mental health professionals are not always reflective of the people we are serving.”
Part of what I found so beautiful about our conversation is that we both agree that American pluralism is not simply a pragmatic solution to the challenge of a diverse democracy, it is also a kind of sacred trust that God intends us to steward.
The author, a Hindu and a Sikh, notes that faith plays a subtle yet powerful role in the show -- and creates space for more dialogue.
Haaland, a member of the Pueblo of Laguna, is the first Native American to serve as a U.S. Cabinet secretary.
The average congregation these days is small — about 70 people — but the majority of churchgoers are worshipping in a congregation of about 400 people.
The metaverse has dramatic implications that should make all of us sit up, lean in, and claim our role in shaping the worlds within the world that is being created.  
Decades of silence, stigma, and structural barriers to treatment and testing have allowed the epidemic to spread, claiming the lives of far too many of our Black friends and families.   
Mawiyah Bomani, a Tarot reader in Louisiana, used to make her own Tarot cards until she found a deck celebrating spiritual practices throughout the African Diaspora. "I hoped and wished to find a deck with me in it," she says.
In this week's round up, a Buddha gets a paint job, a Black interfaith social media account goes viral, and Indigenous activists speak out.

The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.