(AMHERST, Mass.) – The Klezmatics, Eleanor Reissa, Socalled, and Paul Shapiro’s Ribs & Brisket Revue headline the 10th annual YIDSTOCK: The Festival of New Yiddish Music, taking place at the Yiddish Book Center over the course of four days, Thursday, July 7-Sunday, July 10, 2022.
This year’s festival – once again curated by Yidstock artistic director Seth Rogovoy — celebrates a “greatest hits” of the first decade of Yidstock, featuring return appearances by many audience favorites as well as new faces, new and reconfigured ensembles, and the usual diversity of workshops, talks, films, and conversations with artists.
“We are so looking forward to being together once again in person at the Yiddish Book Center,” said Rogovoy, alluding to the fact that the 2020 Yidstock was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the 2021 Yidstock was an all-virtual event. “We all have so much catching up to do – including audiences and performers – and we look forward to the magic and surprises that can only happen at a live event, which often provides a platform for spontaneous cross-pollination and jamming between performers.”
Making his Yidstock debut, Cantor Yaakov “Yanky” Lemmer will kick off the festival on Thursday, July 7, at 8pm. With an ensemble led by Frank London of the Klezmatics, Lemmer brings fresh interpretations to traditional liturgical prayers and Hasidic nigunim as well as to some more obscure Yiddish songs. Lemmer, who has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Tel Aviv Culture Hall with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra, and throughout the United States, Canada, England, and at various European culture festivals, currently serves as head cantor of Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan.
Yidstock veteran Michael Winograd brings his band, the Honorable Mentshn, to Yidstock for the very first time, celebrating the launch of their newest album, Early Bird Special, on Friday, July 8, at 2pm. Packed with the energy, passion and drive that listeners have come to expect from the Honorable Mentshn, Early Bird Special delivers the schmaltz-drenched, hard-hitting klezmer that your soul craves and gets you up and dancing. In addition to clarinetist/bandleader Michael Winograd, the Honorable Mentshn are Daniel Blacksberg (trombone), Will Holshouser (accordion), Carmen Staaf (piano), Zoe Guigueno (bass), and David Licht (drums). Winograd will explore his creative process in conversation with Seth Rogovoy on Friday, July 8, at 4pm.
Perennial favorite Eleanor Reissa returns to Yidstock on Friday, July 8, at 5pm, with a new sound and a new ensemble led by her frequent collaborator, trumpeter Frank London of the Klezmatics, to share her unique takes on Yiddish song, as she continues to reinvent the art of storytelling through Yiddish cabaret. The Brooklyn-born native Yiddish speaker will also read from and sign copies of her critically acclaimed memoir, The Letters Project: A Daughter’s Journey (Post Hill Press), on Sunday, July 10, at 1:30pm.
Paul Shapiro’s Ribs & Brisket Revue returns to Yidstock on Saturday, July 9, at 8pm, to perform its “Music of ‘Mrs. Maisel’” program. Shapiro and company celebrate the unique era when Jewish music was merging into the American mainstream. Blending jazz, Yiddish swing, R&B, klezmer, and humor, this joyous ensemble swings hard and is endlessly entertaining. Featuring vocalists Cilla Owens and Eleanor Reissa, this program features the 1950s repertoire that underscores The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel TV series, particularly the music of the Barry Sisters. The band features Jerry Korman on piano, Dave Hofstra on bass, and Tony Lewis on drums. Shapiro explores his creative process in conversation with Seth Rogovoy on Friday, July 8, at 1pm.
Josh Dolgin, aka Socalled, the de facto godfather of “Klezmer Hip Hop,” returns to Yidstock on Sunday, July 10, at noon, singing solo at the piano and accordion in a rare, intimate, unplugged program of Yiddish and Yiddish-related music and history. The Montreal-based Socalled explores his creative process in conversation with Seth Rogovoy on Saturday, July 9, at 1pm.
Vocalist Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell and accordionist Dmitri Gaskin return to Yidstock with their enhanced project, Tsvey Brider + Baymele, on Sunday, July 10, at 3pm. For the past five years, Russell and Gaskin have been entertaining audiences internationally as the duo Tsvey Brider (“Two Brothers” in Yiddish), performing their original and stylistically diverse settings of 20th-century Yiddish modernist poetry. Their collection of songs, now reimagined through Gaskin’s arrangements for string ensemble, bring a whole new world of sound, texture, and color to the work of Tsvey Brider with the addition of Matthew Stein (fiddle) and Misha Khalikulov (cello) of the San Francisco Bay Area klezmer trio Baymele. Russell will explore his creative process in conversation with Seth Rogovoy on Saturday, July 9, at 3pm.
The Klezmatics, the internationally acclaimed, Grammy Award-winning modern klezmer outfit, will once again bring down the curtain on Yidstock on Sunday, July 10, at 7:30pm. Founded in New York City in 1986 and performing around the world since then, the Klezmatics blend instrumental and vocal virtuosity and experimentation with theatricality firmly rooted in klezmer and Yiddish tradition. The Klezmatics brought the revival of klezmer into the rock era, blazing the path for the klezmer renaissance with one foot in the shtetl and the other in the downtown avant-garde. The Klezmatics are Lorin Sklamberg, vocals, piano, and guitar; Frank London, trumpet and keyboards; Matt Darriau, clarinet, saxophone, and recorders; Lisa Gutkin, violin; Paul Morrisett, bass and tsimbl; and Richie Barshay, drums.
In addition to the above, this year’s Yidstock will include the typical range of talks, films, and workshops. Talks will include “The Essential Klezmer” by Seth Rogovoy, based on his book of the same title, on Thursday, July 7, at 2pm; “Hassidic Nigunim: The First 250 Years,” by Hankus Netsky on Thursday, July 7, at 4pm; “Demystifying the Cantorial Music of the ‘Golden Age,’” with Hankus Netsky on Friday, July 8, at 10am; “Coming Soon: Yiddish: A Global Culture!” with Madeleine Cohen and David Mazower, on Saturday, July 9, at 11am; and a conversation between Yiddish Book Center president Aaron Lansky and executive director Susan Bronson about the center’s future plans, on Sunday, July 10, at 4:30pm.
As always, Steve Weintraub will be in residence for the entire festival to foster dancing and to lead his perennially sold-out dance workshops (Friday, July 8, at 11am, and again on Saturday, July 9, at 10am), with accompaniment by accordionist extraordinaire Lauren Brody. Brian Bender will teach his annual instrumental klezmer workshop (Saturday, July 9, from 1 to 3pm), and he will accompany Asya Vaisman Schulman for her annual “Lomir Zingen!Yiddish Song Workshop” (Sunday, July 10, at 10:30am).
The short documentary BEYLE: The Artist and Her Legacy, directed by Christa Whitney of the Yiddish Book Center, will be screened on Thursday, July 7, at noon. A screening of the short film Ida Maze: The “Den Mother” of Yiddish Montreal and discussion of Dineh: An Autobiographical Novel by Ida Maze, takes place on Sunday, July 10, at 10:30am.