JULY 2015

Welcome to July’s Newsletter.

First up – if you’re free tonight and would like some last minute Yiddishkayt, I’d like to recommend Zingt! Yiddish Choir Concert led by Rachel Weston at JW3, as featured in this weekend’s JC.

The JMI Summer Schools are filling up fast so do get your booking in now if you’re keen to attend.  We’re pleased to be offering Band Discounts for Klezfest so if you’re part of a group, then why not all come together and have an inspiring shared experience. Some of the finest klezmer musicians in the UK today began their careers at Klezfest, so don’t miss this awesome opportunity to learn from our brilliant international faculty. And if you’re not a musician or singer, but would like to have a taste of our Summer Schools, there are a number of events that are open to the public including a Concert by the Klezfest Faculty at JW3.

For more news, interviews and live music, take a listen to the JMI podcast presented by Gil Karpas and this month featuring Frank London, Joel Rubin and Avishai Cohen.

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Songs of Celebration
Shirei Chagigah is the new name for the Movement for Reform Judaism’s biennial music conference. It means ‘songs of celebration’ and reflects the celebration of music and prayer which we will enjoy over this very special weekend. USA faculty confirmed:  Merri Arian, Noah Aronson, Rabbi Noam Katz and Cantor Benjie-Ellen Schiller. UK faculty confirmed: Viv Bellos, Cantor Zöe Jacobs, Rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner,  Rabbi Josh Levy, Kath Vardi, Cantor Cheryl Wunch and Rabbi Debbie Young-Somers. Gain the tools and experiences to learn about and enjoy Jewish music and t’fillah (prayer). A unique opportunity to learn from the world’s foremost experts in the field of Jewish liturgical music. Through a series of workshops and services you will explore the use of music to enhance religious services, learn new melodies and choral harmonies for traditional prayers and be part of a remarkable community. We interviewed Cantor Zoe Jacobs for the MRJ conference two years ago and that podcast can be heard here

  Conference info:
Date: Wed 8 - Sun 12 July
Venue: Alyth, NW11 7EN
Price: Various 


Learn Yiddish

Discover JMI's famous full immersion courses in Yiddish Language, Song and Culture for people of all ages, levels and backgrounds, where even complete beginners learn to speak, read, write, sing and even dream in Yiddish in a week. Ot Azoy Yiddish language classes are held at 4 levels, led by world renowned Yiddish Lecturer Helen Beer and her distinguished team of fellow Yiddishists, Sonia Pinkusowitz-Dratwa, Annick Prime-Margules, Lily Kahn and Barry Davis. Shura Lipovsky, the outstanding Director of The Golden Peacock (Goldene Pave), will also teach a daily session of Yiddish through song. Last summer the course was full, attracting participants from across the world and this year also and therefore we recommend early booking.

We interviewed Khayele, Sonia and Lily from the faculty about their love of the language and what they all look forward to in teaching Yiddish at Ot Azoy. To hear that feature and to book your place, please visit here

  Language School:
Date: 9 - 14 August 
Time: 930am - 8pm
Venue: SOAS
Price: £245 -  £130


Sing Yiddish

Our annual summer song school returns this year with the addition of new faculty, courses and syllabus. Once again the course will provide complete immersion in Yiddish song and song culture. Each day will start with a repertoire class and will be followed by a teaching class.There will be a repertoire class in the afternoon, followed by masterclasses and a Yiddish Choir for all. This year the confirmed faculty so far are course leader Shura Lipovsky, Berlin's Yiddish folk-bard Karsten Troyke, Alex Knapp, Rachel Weston and we are pleased to confirm that Lorin Sklamberg of Klezmatics/YIVO will be coming all the way from New York to teach on the faculty this year.

Singers will also be taught Yiddish for Singers with Helen Beer and no day will be complete without joining in the Yiddish choir. There are also social events, Yiddish theatre, film, concerts and much more, so do not delay and book your place early.

We interviewed Shura Lipovsky, Karsten Troyke and Lorin Sklamberg from the faculty about their love of the music, the songs and the culture. To hear that feature and to book your place, please visit here

  Song School:
Date: 9 - 14 August 
Time: 930am - 8pm
Venue: LSOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £245 - £130


Learn Klezmer

We are very happy that our world famous Klezmer summer school is back again for 2015. Join the world famous music school and learn klezmer this summer at KlezFest 2015. Here is a peek into what you can expect:

• Hands-on tutoring from world leading experts.
• Traditional klezmer; history, melodies, ornamentation, dance and accompaniment
• Play music in ensembles and delve into improvisational techniques
• Interpret scores, jam and perform to the public.

The international faculty will feature some of the very best klezmer musicians from around the world:

Dr Alan Bern (Piano / Accordion – Germany)
Ilana Cravitz (Violin – UK)
Joel Rubin (Clarinet – USA)

and outstanding guest tutors from the UK will be joining the faculty for masterclasses. Please keep yourself updated by checking the website.

Minimum instrumental proficiency, Grade 5 or equivalent; no klezmer experience necessary. All are welcome. We interviewed Ilana Cravitz, Alan Bern, Joel Rubin and Susi Evans and to hear that feature and for more information on the course, including how to book please visit our website here



Klezmer School:
Date: 18 - 21 Aug
Time: 930am-10pm
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £165-£120


Diversity of Yiddish Vocal Culture

The Golden Peacock song school will begin with a concert by the faculty of JMI's Yiddish Summer program. The concert will not only showcase the wealth of talent by the individual performers but also the vocal diversity in Yiddish culture.

Shura Lipovsky (Course director) is a highly valued performer and composer of new Yiddish songs. Karsten Troyke, is a Yiddish folk-bard with rare pieces of tango, folklore and theatre songs. Lorin Sklamberg is one of America's most celebrated contemporary Yiddish singers, a member of The Klezmatics and sound archivist at YIVO. Rachel Weston is a singer and song collector of Jewish and Yiddish repertoire and masters graduate from SOAS. Alex Knapp, a recognised academic composer and pianist, will accompany the singers on the grand piano.

This concert will be free to all students on both the Ot Azoy Yiddish Language course and the Golden Peacock Yiddish Song School. Members of the public who are not yet registered on the course will need to purchase tickets from our website here

  Concert info:
Date: Sun 9th August
Time: 3.15pm-4.30pm
Venue: DLT, SOAS, Russell Sq.
Price: £7.50-10


Yiddish on Film

Come and enjoy the very best in Yiddish Film with pre-screening talks with Yiddish cinematic expert, Barry Davis. Every August JMI hosts its Yiddish Summer School at SOAS, dubbed by many of its international attendees as “a week in Yiddishland” this course immerses its students in the culture, language and songs of Yiddish. More details for those interested in the wider program can be found here

Sholem Aleykhem wrote Blonzhedike shtern (Wandering Stars) about the Yiddish theatre before 1914. Yiddish film-making between the wars was, however, mostly centred on New York and its environs, Warsaw and Moscow. We look at three of these stars, in films made in New York and Warsaw.

This selection of films is brought to you by JMI at SOAS in conjunction with UK Jewish Film Festival

Monday 10th August:  Onkl Moses, Sydney Goldin, USA 1932, 80 mins 
Tuesday 11th August: Mamele, Joseph Green, Poland 1938, 100 mins
Wednesday 13th August: Der Amerikaner Shadkhn (The American Matchmaker) Edgar Ulmer, US 1940  87 mins

Students of the summer school need not re-apply for tickets as they are included within the wider education programme.


  Screening info:
Dates: 10-11-12 Aug
Time: 5.30-8pm
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq.
Price: £4.50-10


Celebrate Klezmer!
An evening of klezmer superstars, showcasing the international musicians from this year’s JMI’s Klezfest summer school. This is a rare chance to hear significant players in the klezmer revival movement performing with some of the most exciting young klezmer bands around.
Alan Bern and Joel Rubin
Two musicians who were pivotal in the Klezmer revival, and founders of the band Brave Old World. Joel Rubin is worldwide authority and sought after performer, with his own ensemble. Alan Bern founded The Other Europeans, Diaspora Redux and is the artistic director of Yiddish Summer Weimar.
London Klezmer Quartet
This dynamic band have been in demand since their inception in 2009, with an international following. And the UK press adore them.
"Virtuosity, exciting original tunes and soulful playing. What's not to like?” Songlines Magazine,
“The tradition is safe in their hands." Sunday Times,
"Dynamic and authentic." Time Out London
"Atmospheric albums." fROOTS
Don Kipper
This young, award-winning, band play and transform a wide range of musical forms, from Turkish Fasıl and Greek Rebetiko to Gypsy Jazz and Klezmer. Rooted deeply in these traditions, they seek to explore radical interpretations and taut arrangements full of complex harmonies, polyrhythms and imaginative improvisation.

Students of the summer school need not re-apply for tickets as they are included within the wider education programme.

  Concert info:
Date: Wed 19 Aug
Time: 815pm-1030pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £10


Eastern European Klezmer Music from the EMI Archives: 1908-1913

 “Our famous, Jewish orchestra, you remember, four violins, a flute and a double bass” (Gayev in Anton Chekhov’s The Cherry Orchard, 1904)

Renair records are proud to announce the fourth of their series of issues exploring the story of Jewish recorded music. For more than one-hundred years the recordings on this CD had lain forgotten and unheard in the EMI archives. This ground breaking release of these extraordinary early recordings rewrites the story of Jewish instrumental music. Their exuberance and life affirming feeling allow us a glimpse into a world that has completely vanished.

This event will see the launch of a a rare collection of Klezmer recordings from across the Eastern Europe from Vienna to Kharkov, recorded by EMI recording engineers and now released on Renair records. There will be three presentations from the key people involved this recordings compilation with performances of the music by Klezfest students from the JMI klezmer school.

This event is free but there are only a few tickets available and therefore pre-booking is essential.

We interviewed Joel Rubin and Julian Futter to hear more about this record, the event and the music and that can be heard here

Students of the summer school need not re-apply for tickets as they are included within the wider education programme.

  Launch info:
Date: Thu 20 Aug
Time: 630-9pm
Venue: Jewish Museum, Camden
Price: Free (booking required)



This versatile Jewish quartet makes its Chichester debut singing Ashkenazi and Sephardi melodies from their recent album in Yiddish, Hebrew and Ladino, interspersed with Jewish sacred music, classic barbershop, folk songs and unique comic songs.

bOYbershop's members are all successful cantors, soloists and musical directors and include Zemel Choir and Belsize Park's very own, Ben Wolf.

'Suave, swinging sophistication' Music and Vision

We interviewed Ben Wolf when he was involved in the JMI commission that integral to the Westminster Abbey interfaith event of solemn remembrance of Kristallnacht and that interview can be heard here

  Concert Info:
Date: Wed 1 July
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: St. Pancras Church, Chichester
Price: £12


Guy Schalom, Tarek Bitar and BBE

The Baladi Blues Ensemble plays the urban Egyptian dance music known as Baladi. Their music reflects the sophisticated and fast-paced, urban lifestyle of 1950’s Cairo - all offered with a charming and enigmatic stage presence. Leading the group is the charismatic percussionist, dancer and record producer Guy Schalom, described as "one of the most interesting and versatile percussionists working in the UK today" (fROOTS). 

In the Baladi Blues Ensemble, Guy unites some of Egypt's most celebrated master musicians. They were nominated for Best Group in the Songlines Music Awards 2013, were featured in the BBC documentary “Bellydancing and the Blues” (which Guy himself presented) and were a hit at WOMAD 2013.

They have released four CDs to date. Their debut, Baladi Blues, was described by fROOTS magazine as “Outstanding, fresh and compelling as well as technically superb”.

This show will feature (for the first time in the UK) renowned virtuoso oud player and singer Tarek Bitar from Beirut. 

 “Schalom has just the right touch” All About Jazz

“Absolutely spot on” fROOTS

“Masterful…”  Songlines

JMI interviewed Guy Schalom all about the music of Laure Daccache for his performance at the Songlines Encounters Awards 2013 and both Guy and Songlines Editor Simon Broughton and that whole podcast can be heard here

  Concert info:
Date: Sat 4 July
Time: 8pm
Venue: Rich Mix, Bethnal Green
Price: £12-15



An evening of not-to-be-missed musical magic with the Lev-Yulzari Duo (Nadav Lev, guitar; Rémy Yulzari, double bass) showcasing their cross-genre virtuosity and versatility. They combine classical, Spanish and ethnic Jewish music traditions to create their distinct personal sound. They will be performing with founder of the renowned and Grammy Award-winning Klezmatics, Frank London. We interviewed Remy Yulzari and Frank London and that feature can be heard here

  Concert info:
Date: Wed 8th July
Time: 8pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £12


New York Division

An evening of transatlantic jazz, high energy and emotions that provides a window into Avishai Cohen’s music universe.

Performing with a sextet featuring his core trio of Nitai Hershkovits on piano and Daniel Dor on drums, the Israeli master bassist will also be joined for this show by his friends from the New York jazz scene: Kurt Rosenwinkel on guitar, Diego Urcola on trumpet and Steve Davis on trombone.

Avishai Cohen earned his reputation as one of the world's greatest bassists through performing with Chick Corea and leading his own projects over the last two decades. His rich compositions with beautiful song lines in Hebrew and Ladino take from his rich cultural background and infuse into his own modern jazz stylings creating a sound that is dynamic and ever evolving.

‘As a live performer, Cohen is hard to beat’ - Fran Hardcastle, London Jazz
We interviewed Avishai Cohen to find out more about his music and the forthcoming concert and that can be heard here

  Concert info:

Date: Thu 16 July
Time: 7.30pm-10pm
Venue: Barbican, London
Price: £25-40


Israel's "First lady of Soul"

Ester Rada’s cross-cultural sound is a deep reflection of the Israeli born Ethiopian’s heritage. Growing up in a religious Jewish family in more than modest conditions in Israel, gave Rada the drive to change her way of life and fulfil her dream of creating music. Having previously performed at Glastonbury, she’s on her way through the UK for the WOMAD festival, making a special East London stop to perform to the public.

"Her distinctive neo-soul flavor, supported by an ultra-talented Middle-Eastern-infused ensemble, takes super funky, ethno-jazz to new artistic heights." United Reggae

"The Israeli singer with Ethiopian roots has a voice that's classic soul. Her lyrics, though, have the sensibilities of today. A refreshing mix that keeps you listening and grooving." Huffington Post

JMI's Joe Loss lecturer in Jewish Music, Dr Ilana Webster-Kogen's area of research is Ethiopian Israeli music and an interview with Ilana on this subject can be heard here

  Concert info:
Date: Fri 24 July
Time: 8pm
Venue: Rich Mix, Bethnal Green
Price: £15


Cambridge International Day and Mela
Every summer Cambridge City stages a full weekend of free events in the centre of the city. To finish off this celebratory weekend of the arts and the city's diversity, Cambridge's international outlook is celebrated with a whole day of world music, arts and food. Amongst the many acts from across the world being staged there are three Jewish musical highlights appearing on the program. Yiddish Twist Orchestra will perform on the main stage, London Klezmer Quartet and Daphna Sadeh's new musical venture Ozmia will perform in the world music marquee. Plus lots of activities for all the family.
Sunday 12 July
Parker's Piece
Details here

WOMAD is a feast of international culture. Apart from experiencing the very best musicians and inspiring new talent from around the world there is always much more to discover. The line-up is always too many to mention but two artist's that JMI feel are relevant to our musical heritage are Europe's Shantel's Bucovina Club Orkestar and Israel's very own Ester Rada. With children 13 years and under going free, you can bring the whole family to this family focused feast of international culture.
24-26 July
Charlton Park, Malmesbury
Details here

This independent festival, set up as an alternative town with nine different 'districts' to visit. Alongside the upfront dance music districts, is a whole district devoted to electro-swing, Gypsy, Balkan, and klezmer. This year, pioneers of contemporary klezmer, Amsterdam Klezmer Band, rock the district called the 'Old Town' with their ska-infused Jewish beats, alongside Tantz, a storming band whose Yiddish name invokes the mitzvah to dance. Firm favourites of JMI's; Tantz performed at last year's Klezmer in the Park and went down so well, they've been invited back for 2015.
13th-16th August
Details here




The Festival Returns

JMI's unique annual festival, Klezmer In The Park, returns again to Regents Park Bandstand. This year we have another brilliant musical line up for you to enjoy. Come on down for a fun-packed afternoon for all the family in one of London’s most beautiful parks with special guest presenter BBC Radio 3 DJ Max Reinhardt.

12.15pm: JFS Klezmer Band
1pm: Don Kipper
2pm: Stewart Curtis’ K-Groove
3pm: The Turbans
4pm: She’Koyokh
5pm: Tantz

Visit our Kids Zone featuring workshop and activities run by Jewish community organisations. Klezmer in the Park features Judaica and Jewish music stalls. Enjoy Kosher Food, Klezmer on Stilts and much more.


  Festival info:
Date: Sun 6th Sep
Time: 12-6pm
Venue: Bandstand, Regents Park
Price: Free


Come along and engage with the music that is both exhuberant and tinged with melancholy. Learn to play in an authentic Klezmer style with some of the UK's top Klezmer musicians. Susi Evans, on clarinet plays with bands She'Koyokh and London Klezmer Quartet. Frances O'Rourke on piano accordion has also performed with London Klezmer Quartet. Josie Wexler on fiddle, sings and plays with Minnie Moosika in Sheffield. The dance leader will be Kleznorth's Judith Plowman who has been running Klezmer dancing classes in Manchester for several years.
Suzi Evans - clarinet (London)
Josie Wexler - fiddle (Sheffield)
Frances O'Rourke - piano accordion (Manchester)
Judith Plowman - dance leader (Glossop)
Expect to learn about history, types of tunes, style and ornamentation. Join the Klezmer dance orchestra and perform in the evening 'Klezmer Keilidh'.

  Klezmer day info:

Date: Sat 19 Sep
Venue: St Matthews, Stretford
Price: £8-25


Fiddler on the Roof 
The BBC Concert Orchestra is joined by Bryn Terfel playing Tevye in this classic musical adaption by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick.
Thursday 2nd July
Grange Park Opera
Details here
Klezmer Jam
London Klezmer Quartet host this monthly Klezmer session in Kings Cross.
Sunday 5th July
The Harrison
Kings Cross
Details here

The Jewish American Songbook
The English Chamber Choir, accompanied by an instrumental trio will entrance us with songs by George and Ira Gershwin, Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Weill and many more.
Sunday 5th July
Details here

Tchaikovsky and West Side Story
Two well loved pieces from Tchaikovsky and Bernstein form the programme for this concert in aid of the Mackintosh Foundation.
Sunday 12th July
Details here

Ladino and Flamenco
Sivan Rotem, Baldi Olier and Ayelet Shachar perform an evening of Ladino and Flamenco music and dance.
Wednesday 15th July
Details here

Kamao Quartet
Taking their inspiration from the legacy of the great Django Reinhardt and traditional Manouche and Romani music. featuring Francesca Ter-Berg, Ruthy Goller and Dave Kelbie in the line-up.
Wednesday 29th July
Details here

Dates by bands:

Don Kipper

Winners of the Moishe Beregovsky Newcomers award, Don Kipper play across London before heading to the continent.
Passing Clouds (9 July),
Paperdress (10 July),
Oxford (16 July)
Details here

Katshanes (pictured)
The Cockney Yiddish Music Hall party has been touring London these past few months and now its the South's turn.
Sunday 5 July
Details here

London Klezmer Quartet
LKQ head south of the river to Streatham for a night of Klezmer and merriment. (3rd July) 
Performing at an event in Lichfield with Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo (6th July)
and also performing at the Green Note in London (7 July)
All details here

Klezmer in the Park favourites have been touring all through June and are playing the Global Rythms Festival in Ipswich.
Saturday 11 July
Details here 

Klezmer in the Park favourites are touring all over the UK this July.
London (8 July),
Shrewsbury (10 July),
Cardiff (10 July),
Bristol (19 July),
SGP (23 July),
Nozstock (24 July),
Bestival (31 July)
Details here



JW3, Barbican and Jewish Museum

In this JMI podcast series we feature three programmes for you to listen to.

Firstly, we have Frank London and Remy Yulzari discussing the music that they will be performing with Nadav Lev at JW3 on July 8th. This will be an evening rich in Sephardi musical traditions blending with classical, Jazz and Klezmer and that feature can be heard here

Secondly, we have Israeli bassist Avishai Cohen discussing his music and the forthcoming date at Barbican on July 16th. We discuss his music, themes in his work and also the make-up of the New York Division line-up set to peform at Barbican and that feature can be heard here 

Thirdly, we look forward to august and the album launch of Chekhov's Band, a rare collection of East European Klezmer recorded by EMI engineers in 1908-1913. We interview two of the three people involved in this compilations release, Joel Rubin and Julian Futter and that feature can be heard here

Next month we look forward to Klezmer in The Park and all the bands and people involved in making it happen.