(AMHERST, Mass.) – The YIDSTOCK 2019 festival — taking place at the Yiddish Book Center from Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 14, 2019 — will once again feature a global cast of the greatest talents of Yiddish and klezmer music, with performances by Berlin’s Yiddish folk-rockers Daniel Kahn and the Painted Bird, Israeli vocalist Vira Lozinsky, and the Aviva Chernick Ensemble from Toronto, alongside stalwarts of the American scene including the Grammy Award-winning Klezmatics, vocalist Eleanor Reissa, and pioneering klezmer revivalist Hankus Netsky.
This year’s festival, once again curated by artistic director Seth Rogovoy, also includes concerts by Nigunim Trio (two-thirds of whom are members of the Klezmatics), Frank London’s Klezmer Allstars with special guests, and vocalist Sarah Mina Gordon in a duet program with Daniel Kahn. The festival, now in its eighth year, will also be introducing film screenings for the first time.
Yidstock performers often cross-pollinate and appear sometimes billed and sometimes unannounced at each other’s concerts.
Workshops include Yiddish dance, song, and instrumental klezmer. Yidstock returnees include accordionist Lauren Brody; dance instructor Steve Weintraub; songleader Asya Vaisman Schulman; and klezmer instructor Brian Bender. Festival guest artist Aviva Chernick, who in addition to being a musician is a prayer leader — will offer a special workshop called “Sing in Shabbos: Welcoming the Beloved with Song,” on Friday, July 12, at 11am.
As always, YIDSTOCK: The Festival of New Yiddish Music will include a full schedule of talks, conversations, and singing, dancing, and instrumental workshops, including several led by musicians-in-residence for the festival. Yiddish music scholar Hankus Netsky will speak on Yiddish folk song on Thursday, July 11, at 4pm, and on The Klezmer at the Eastern European Jewish Wedding on Friday, July 12, at 11am. Netsky’s lectures are always popular and include multimedia and live music performances.
And as always, festival artistic director Seth Rogovoy – author of The Essential Klezmer: A Music Lover’s Guide to Jewish Roots and Soul Music, a contributing editor to the Forward, and producer of the all-star Yiddish program “From Shtetl to Stage” that recently premiered at Carnegie Hall in New York City before a sold-out crowd – will kick things off on Thursday, July 11, at 2pm, with his multimedia talk, “The Essential Klezmer,” taking the audience on a multimedia journey from Old World shtetls to New World stages, providing historical context for the music that will be heard throughout the four-day event.
The weekend will be peppered with talks and conversations with festival performers exploring their music and their personal journeys, including Frank London, Daniel Kahn, Eleanor Reissa, Vira Lozinsky, Aviva Chernick, and Yiddish Book Center founder/president Aaron Lansky and executive director Susan Bronson. David Mazower, the book center’s bibliographer and editorial director, will discuss The Lodz Masterpieces, recounting the story of, three young Polish Jewish women artists who in 1921 created one of the forgotten masterpieces of Jewish modernism. Films include Ver Vet Blaybn? (Who Will Remain) – an hour-long documentary that follows Israeli actress Hadas Kalderon as she retraces the extraordinary journey of her grandfather, the renowned Yiddish writer Avrom Sutzkever — and the world premiere of BEYLE: The Artist and Her Legacy, the story of artist and activist Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman.
All programs are indoors in the air-conditioned Yiddish Book Center. Many Yidstock events, including concerts, talks, and workshops, sell out in advance of the festival, so attendees are urged to reserve tickets as soon as possible.
The complete festival lineup of concerts, talks, workshops, and film screenings, as well as links to buy tickets and concert passes, can be found at YIDSTOCK: The Festival of New Yiddish Music.
The world’s first Yiddish museum, the Yiddish Book Center is home to permanent and visiting exhibits; two performance halls with a year-round schedule of educational programs, concerts (including the annual Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music), films, and events; an English-language bookstore; and over a million Yiddish books.
The Center is open Sunday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.