Tuesday, December 29, 2009

HALVAH! Ganim's Asia Minors

If you've never had halvah, then get some brown sugar, mix it with hazelnut oil and some beach sand, press it into a congealed rectangle, and knock yourself out.

Not the most popular item even among brats on a perpetual sugar-high, it was rarely seen in America at the time "Halvah" was released as a 45 rpm on the East/West label. Even now, only Joyva (a long time kosher candy company known also for their "jels" and chocolate-covered marshmallows) successfully packages and sells the stuff. Otherwise, in ethnic neighborhoods, it's practically home-made and sold in chunks, like cheese.

While it has ties to the Arab world, and Joyva is a Jewish company, Halvah (literally means "sweetmeat") is actually Turkish, one of the world's oldest confections. It's made out of seseme seeds. Today it's sweetened with sugar, flavored with chocolate or vanilla, but really, could use some kief. It would definitely lend credibility to the song's line "Halvah has me mesmerized."

Ganim's Asia Minors were all Armenian, and led by Charles Ganimian. As Ganimian and his Orientals, they made an album of Middle-Eastern dance music called "Come With Me to the Casbah." Decades later, Ganimian emerged on his own as an oud player (he was, after all, the oud man out) for a solo CD that you can actually find on Amazon and eBay. You can also see him play the oud on YouTube. Now, some Halvah for your ears. It beats Joyva marshmallows "fo yo ass," which is probably big enough as it is.

HALVAH Instant Download or listen on line. No wait time, pop ups or porn ads.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great resource!