'Misirlou,' from Klezmer to Surf Guitar The tune "Misirlou" is heard in klezmer music, '50s exotica acts, surf guitar and many other forms. Guitar legend Dick Dale and NYU professor Yale Strom help trace the history of a haunting melody.

'Misirlou,' from Klezmer to Surf Guitar

'Misirlou,' from Klezmer to Surf Guitar

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'Misirlou' as Performed By...

Rabbi Abulafia

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Dick Dale & His Del-Tones

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Klezmer Conservatory Band

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Kronos Quartet

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Arthur Lyman

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Pete Seeger

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Rabbi Abulafia's version is from "Talmudic Legends: Liturgical songs of Nuftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia," copyright 1979 Lionel Ziprin.

Dick Dale & His Del-Tones turned the song into a surf guitar hit in 1962. hide caption

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The tune "Misirlou" has traveled quite a path, from klezmer music to 1950s exotica acts and finally to surf guitar and an appearance in the 1994 film Pulp Fiction.

Many of you heard it again in a Jan. 1 feature by Jon Kalish on Lionel Ziprin's efforts to preserve the recordings of his grandfather, Rabbi Nuftali Zvi Margolies Abulafia.

Surf guitar legend Dick Dale & His Del-Tones turned the melody into a sizzling electric riff in the early 1960s. His grandparents were born in Lebanon, and as a child he remembers hearing his relatives play "Misirlou," which translates as "The Egyptian," on the Middle Eastern lute called the oud.

Yale Strom, adjunct professor of enthnography at New York University, helps trace the history of a hardy melody all the way back to its Greek and Turkish roots.