(AMHERST, Mass.) – The Klezmer Conservatory Band, one of the founding bands of the klezmer revival, will kick off the second annual Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music, on Thursday, July 18, 2013. The event runs through Sunday, July 21, and features performances by Golem; Brass Khazones: Steven Bernstein and Frank London Play Cantorial Music; Ilene Stahl’s Klezperanto; Margot Leverett & the Klezmer Mountain Boys; and the Wholesale Klezmer Band. The festival will conclude Sunday night with the Yidstock All-Stars, an unprecedented klezmer jam session led by Frank London featuring performers from throughout the weekend.
Following on the success of the last year, Yidstock 2013 will once again offer a rare opportunity for festivalgoers to take in performances by several generations of the most accomplished and influential klezmer musicians, including those who revived the music in the 1980s, those who made it blossom in the klezmer renaissance of the 1990s, and those who are blazing new trails well into the 21st century.
A series of workshops and talks is also on the schedule, including a Yiddish Folk Dance workshop led by internationally renowned dance instructor Steve Weintraub; a lecture by Hankus Netsky (founder and leader of the Klezmer Conservatory Band); an instrumental klezmer workshop; and a talk by klezmer author and music critic Seth Rogovoy. Back by popular demand, Yosi’s Kosher Falafel Tent will once again be serving an assortment of great food.
“There are two concerts on the program that no one has ever seen anywhere else, and which will probably never be repeated,” said Seth Rogovoy, Yidstock festival programmer, speaking of unprecedented collaborations. Frank London, trumpeter and founding member of the Klezmatics, and Steven Bernstein, a great jazz trumpeter who’s worked with The Lounge Lizards and who leads his group Sex Mob, have both recorded albums of cantorial music. “But nobody ever suggested to them that they do cantorial music together,” said Rogovoy. They will appear for the first time ever together in this format, backed by a trio of renowned jazz players, as Brass Khazones.
Also without precedent will be the massive jam at the end of the weekend — a “Yidstock All-Stars” band with players from the weekend’s bands, under the musical directorship of Frank London. Among those all-stars are two of the greatest clarinetists in klezmer, who both happen to be women: Ilene Stahl of Klezperanto and the Klezmer Conservatory Band and Margot Leverett, another co-founder of the Klezmatics, who has performed with Mikveh as well as her own Klezmer Mountain Boys. Trumpeter Steven Bernstein will also join the jam, as will members of Golem, including vocalists Annette Ezekiel and Aaron Diskin, and singer Yosl Kurland of Wholesale Klezmer Band.
Last year Yidstock drew festivalgoers from around the country. Festival passes and tickets to performances sold out quickly, with most attendees purchasing tickets to all or multiple concerts. In the words of an attendee from Maryland, “When will I ever have the chance to see these performers onstage playing back-to-back concerts? This is amazing. I’ve loved every minute of the Festival.”
Once again the bands at Yidstock will be rockin’ the shtetl, both literally and figuratively – the shtetl in this case being the Yiddish Book Center’s 49,000 square-foot headquarters in Amherst, Mass.
For more information and to purchase tickets and Festival Passes (a limited number of passes are available and sell out quickly) visit Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music or call 413.256.4900.
Founded in 1980, The Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit organization working to tell the whole Jewish story by rescuing, translating and disseminating Yiddish books and presenting innovative programs that broaden understanding of modern Jewish identity.