Klezmatics, Eleanor Reissa, Socalled, Daniel Kahn, and Judy Bressler Headline Yidstock 2024

Eleanor Reissa

(AMHERST, Mass.) – The Klezmatics, Eleanor Reissa, Socalled, Daniel Kahn, and Judy Bressler are just some of the world-renowned Yiddish and klezmer artists who will be performing at Yidstock: The Festival of New Yiddish Music, at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, from Thursday, July 11, through Sunday, July 14, 2024.

Now in its twelfth year, Yidstock is a celebration of klezmer and new Yiddish music, featuring luminaries and rising stars in the genre. In addition to seven concerts, the four-day festival includes four workshops, nine talks, and one special film screening, all in celebration of Yiddish music, language, and culture.

This year’s lineup, curated by Yidstock’s founding artistic director Seth Rogovoy, includes favorites like Hankus Netsky alongside rising stars making their Yidstock debut, including Levyosn, featuring Adah Hetko and Kaia Berman Peters. Basya Schechter and Avi Fox-Rosen will return to the Yidstock stage with a brand-new program, featuring guitaristYoshie Fruchter and singer-instrumentalist Eleonore Weill.


“We are thrilled to be bringing old favorites, new performers, and familiar artists with new programs and new collaborations,” said Rogovoy. “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.”


The Klezmatics, the Grammy Award-winning modern klezmer outfit, will kick off the festival on Thursday, July 11, at 7:30 p.m. The internationally acclaimed group was founded in New York City in 1986 and has been performing its trailblazing blend of traditional and progressive klezmer and Yiddish music around the world since then.


Judy Bressler (photo David Kaufman)

Hankus Netsky, founder of the pathbreaking Klezmer Conservatory Band, will reunite with the group’s founding vocalist, Judy Bressler, for a special duo concert featuring an intimate, cabaret-style performance of Yiddish folk and theater songs on Friday, July 12, at 2 p.m. Judy Bressler will also be in residence throughout the festival, leading a dance workshop and fostering dancing during the concerts whenever appropriate.


Levyosn, a new quartet specializing in Yiddish song and klezmer, will make its Yidstock debut on Friday, July 12, at 5 p.m. Levyosn’s repertoire includes traditional music and original songs presented in intricate arrangements with rich vocal harmonies. Levyosn is vocalist/guitarist Adah Hetko, violinist/vocalist Lysander Jaffe, accordionist/vocalist Kaia Berman Peters, and cellist/vocalist Raffi Boden.


Perennial favorite Socalled will bring his Montreal-based group, Gephilte, a jam-band experiment in Yiddish funk, to Yidstock on Saturday, July 13, at 8 p.m. Gephilte is the latest boundary-busting project from renowned Canadian Yiddish hip-hop provocateur Josh Dolgin aka Socalled. Taking cues from his funk/klezmer supergroup, Abraham Inc, Socalled has brought together an ensemble of fellow Canadian virtuosos to explore Yiddish repertoire in a freewheeling, borderless style, using the incredible Yiddish repertoire to groove out and make audiences move. The ensemble of unrivalled adaptability and swing draws its repertoire from Yiddish theatre music, Hassidic nigunim, klezmer, and Jewish popular song to provide a rocking, genre-bending zone of musical joy and reflection.


Daniel Kahn

Detroit-born, Hamburg-based troubadour and multi-instrumentalist Daniel Kahn returns to Yidstock on Sunday, July 14, at noon, in a concert featuring master fiddler Jake Shulman-Ment and klezmer percussionist Richie Barshay, who have been playing and traveling together in various collaborations for twenty years. Drawing on Daniel and Jake’s acclaimed 2023 duo album The Building & Other Songs, as well as their long work together in both The Painted Bird and Brothers Nazaroff, this intimate and powerful program ranges from original polyglot ballads, radical treatments of modern Yiddish songs from Gebirtig to Schaechter-Gottesman to new Yiddish translations of lyricists such as Dylan, Cohen, Brecht, Springsteen, Guthrie, Waits, and more. Yiddish serves here as a kind of broken mirror, reflecting both despair and repair, exile and ecstasy, loss of trust and wanderlust.


Basya Schechter (courtesy artist)

Basya Schechter and Avi Fox-Rosen have been busy composing settings for 20th-century Eastern European Yiddish poet Itzik Manger’s collection of “khumesh lider,” tragicomic retellings of Bible stories set to original music. The music weaves together a singer-songwriter aesthetic with theater, pop, and world music influences, arranged with lush vocal harmonies throughout. Basya and Avi are joined by Yoshie Fruchter on bass, guitar, and voice; Eleonore Weill on flutes and voice; Shai Wetzer on percussion; and Kaia Berman Peters on accordion, voice, and electronics, for their concert on Sunday, July 14, at 3 p.m.


Eleonore Weill

The festival will culminate on Sunday, July 14, at 7:30 p.m, with the return of the soulful and inimitable Yiddish vocalist Eleanor Reissa and the great Klezmer Brass Allstars as they explore the world of Yiddish song from the obscure to the chestnuts, from the sacred to the profane, fueled by the best brass band in the land.


“Yidstock is always a highlight of the year at the Yiddish Book Center,” said Susan Bronson, executive director of the Yiddish Book Center. “Once again we are thrilled to bring together a remarkable group of musicians and welcome audience members from near and far, for a jam-packed program of concerts, talks, and workshops.”


The complete list of dance, instrumental, and vocal workshops, artist conversations, talks, and films is available at Yidstock.


Tickets for Yidstock are now available, including a Concert Pass, which allows admission to all concerts and the two dance workshops. Yidstock festivalgoers can also build their own itinerary by purchasing individual tickets to concerts, talks, workshops, and film screenings. A Livestream Concert Pass providing access to all seven concerts is also offered for those who are unable to attend in person.

To purchase tickets and explore lodging recommendations, visit Yidstock or call 413-256-4900.

About the Yiddish Book Center

The Yiddish Book Center recovers, preserves, teaches, and celebrates Yiddish literature and culture to advance a fuller understanding of Jewish history and identity. Over the span of 43 years, the Center has launched an extensive array of bibliographic, educational, and cultural initiatives and programs. In 2014, the organization was honored with the prestigious National Medal for Museums and Libraries during a ceremony at the White House. In 2019, the Center introduced its White Goat Press publishing imprint, aimed at making newly translated Yiddish works accessible to a broader readership. In October 2023, the Center opened its groundbreaking exhibition, Yiddish: A Global Culture, which presents a comprehensive narrative of modern Yiddish culture through personal anecdotes and artifacts.

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