#MusicMonday: What do Passover, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and A Prairie Home Companion have in common?
The Passover song “Dayenu.”
More than 1,000 years old, this lively 15-verse song, part of the Passover Seder celebration, lists 15 gifts God gave his people, beginning with leading them out of slavery. In each verse, the singer says that if God had given his people this one gift, it would have been enough—“dayenu.”
In the 1970s, fans of The Rocky Horror Picture Show around the world developed a variety of irreverent audience participation stunts. In Israel, when “ingénue” Susan Sarandon says with dismay, “If only we hadn’t made this journey… if only the car hadn’t broken down… oh, if only we were amongst friends… or sane persons,” audience members sing “Dayenu”—“it would have been enough.”
And on Garrison Keillor’sA Prairie Home Companion—that mainstay of mainstream Minnesota/Scandinavian-American culture—the show’s music director Richard Dworsky performs “Dayenu” every year on the broadcast nearest Passover.
Here’s a sample from the song, in an Israeli recording.