During Sefirat Ha’Omer, many Jews observe some customs of morning in memory of R. Akiva’s students. According to Wikipedia:
The period of counting the Omer is also a time of semi-mourning, during which the Halakha forbids haircuts, shaving, listening to live instrumental music, or conducting weddings, parties, and dinners with dancing.
Of course, Halakha does not “forbid” any such actions – in fact the hakahic basis for mourning during the ‘Omer is even more tenuous than mourning during – the three weeks and nine days, but rather they are at best matters of custom.
But even in matters of custom there can be multple opinions. For example, every year I get several e-mails asking about what types of music are permitted during the ‘Omer. Some distinguish between live and recorded music, others avoid music with instruments. While I personally find these distinctions inconsequential since the entire practice is a matter of custom, let it not be said that here at YUTOPIA we are completely intolerant of minhagim. And so in honor of Sefirat Ha’Omer, I’ve decided this year to compile my favorite a capella videos from YouTube.1
Covers and Medleys
UNC Achordants – Carry on My Wayward Son (Kansas)
Mile 21-a – The Chain (Fleetwood Mac)
University of Rochester Midnight Ramblers – Just What I Needed (The Cars)
Also see their good but disturbing Disturbia.
Oxford University’s Out of the Blue – Fat Bottom Girls (Queen)
Casual Harmony – Karma Police (Raidiohead)
Straight No Chaser – Sitcom Theme Medley
Also see: Teen Sensation Medley
Scrubs – Don’t Fear the Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult) (Brilliantly done)
Davinci’s Notebook – Title of the Song
The Klein Four Group – Finite Simply Group of Order Two (Extremely Geeky)
- UC Men’s Octet – With or Without You (U2)
- CU Buffoons – Shambala/Take Me to the River (Three Dog Night / Al Green)
- Washington University’ Mosaic Whispers: Suddenly I See (K.T. Tunstall)
- Red Hot Blue – Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)
As always, suggestions welcome in the comments.
1. If you’re wondering how I picked these particular vids, I have a few guidelines for what I was looking:
- Arrangements – the closer to the original, the better
- Full and Balanced Vocals – this typically includes a good bass, though not required. This excluded all-female groups.
- Song Choice – I looked for originality and stayed away from “Africa‘s”, Don’t Stop Believing, Cry Me a River, and anything involving video games – no matter how good they may be. This explains the classic rock bias.
- Video Quality – I’m sure there were some better performances out there from better groups, but if the sounds quality is sub-standard then there’s not much of a point.
- Diversity – I wanted to limit selections to one per group. Feel free to seach around for more songs from your favorite groups!