The Jewish ‘Despacito’ Maccabeats take summer hit to new Hebrew heights

It’s undoubtedly the song of the summer.

September 6, 2017 21:23
1 minute read.
JEWISH A CAPPELLA group Maccabeats performing their version of ‘Despacito.’

JEWISH A CAPPELLA group Maccabeats performing their version of ‘Despacito.’. (photo credit: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)


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With more than three billion views on YouTube and near-constant radio play, “Despacito” – the catchy Spanish-language pop tune – is inescapable.

And now, the Maccabeats, easily the best known Jewish a cappella group around, have released a video with a mostly Hebrew-language version of the song.

The seven-person group, however, didn’t write those lyrics; they were originally penned by Itzik Shamli and performed by Amram Adar.

But the boy-band-without-instruments gives it its very own American-accented Hebrew take.

The chorus keeps the word “despacito,” which means “slowly” in Spanish, and fills it out with Hebrew, telling listeners to “take life slowly/ everything will come at its own pace/ any delay is for the best, believe it.”

The video, created by Uri Westrich, starts out with the Maccabeats’ own optimistic English lyrics: “I need a sunrise on my darkest day/ Quit this feeling I just can’t shake/ Learn how to savor every moment slowly, slowly.”

The Maccabeats’ hit tunes like “Candlelight,” “Burn” and “Dayenu” have made them a household name among the American Jewish community, and even garnered them an invitation to perform at the White House.

While it’s far from three billion, the Maccabeats’ take on “Despacito” has received more than 100,000 views since it was posted less than a week ago.

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