Welcome to our May Newsletter
We are very busy putting the finishing touches to our summer programme including the world renowned Yiddish summer school Ot Azoy and Goldene Pave. Book now to secure a place and take advantage of our early bird discount.
There are some great gigs coming up this month including two of my personal favourites at Jamboree: Evan Christopher and Geoff Berner.

We are holding a fundraising Gala Performance of Drawing Life at JW3 on July 2nd, you can preview our trailer here. Please do contact the JMI office if you are interested in attending.

If you're free tonight, come down to SOAS for our special screening of 'The Lady at No 6' details here
All best wishes

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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, Director of The Golden Peacock (Goldene Pave), will also teach a daily session of Yiddish through song. This year we are pleased to welcome to the faculty Annick Prime-Margules of The Medem Yiddish Institute in Paris. Last summer the course was full, attracting participants  from countries as diverse as Canada, Sweden, Germany, Lithuania and Scotland, so we recommend early booking and if you book by the end of 1st May you can receive up to £30 in discounts.



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 teaching classes on roots, modality and traditions. The change comes during the afternoon when following repertoire classes also attended by Ot Azoy students, there will be a master class with our esteemed international faculty of acclaimed Yiddish singers, Shura Lipovsky, Polina Shepherd and 2014 Songlines Awards Nominee Karsten Troyke. Singers will also be taught Yiddish for Singers with Helen Beer and no day will be complete without joining in Polina's Yiddish Choir. If you book by the end of 1st May you can receive up to £30 in discounts.


Date: 10-15th Aug
Venue: SOAS, Vernon Sq. London
Price: £130-245
Call 020 7898 4307




Gala Performance and Dinner
Following the success of the Drawing Life preview at Kings Place at the opening night of Jewish Book Week, JMI is proud to present a Gala Performance of Drawing Life, followed by a celebratory dinner with the artists. Drawing Life is a new multimedia performance piece co-created with Jocelyn Pook, dramaturge Emma Bernard and visual artist by Dragan Aleksic. It is inspired by the collection of poems and drawings made by the children imprisoned in the Terezin concentration camp. This is a rare opportunity to see our latest commission on stage at JW3, ahead of the world premiere in October. For more information on Drawing Life please see here


Date:  2nd July
Time: 730pm
Venue: JW3
Call 020 7898 4307





Led by Polina Shepherd, one of Europe’s leading musicians in the field, JMI’s Zingt! The People’s Chorus at JW3 is open to all. Participants learn traditional and new Yiddish songs, nigunim and specific ornamentations of this singing style. They sing Yiddish songs in 1-4 parts with and without sheet music, and nigunim mostly accompanied by piano but also a cappella.


Dates: 13th May - 15th July
Time: 645-845pm
Venue: JW3
Price: £10 per session

Sponsored Event: Geoff Berner & London Klezmer Quartet  

Canada’s finest alt-klezmer Geoff Berner with the UK’s very own London Klezmer Quartet. Berner fuses klezmer melodies and Ashkenazic rhythms with a cabaret flavour and more than a dose of punkish posturing, gaining a cult following for his controversial wit, politically charged songs and legendary showmanship. He writes in the style of traditional Eastern European Jewish folk music, the music of his heritage. He also plays old traditional Yiddish songs. He has played at many Jewish culture festivals, including Klezmore in Vienna, and the Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto. The London Klezmer Quartet will also be performing on the night. Last year Geoff came to play and we interviewed him for a radio show which can be heard here


Date: 2nd May
Time: 8pm
Venue: Jamboree
Price: £6

Sponsored Event: Evan Christopher  

Concert: Django a la Creole
Possibly the World’s greatest jazz clarinettist from New Orleans Evan Christopher will be celebrating the release of his third album with his current project Django a la Creole, an impassioned and elegant fusion of Gypsy swing with hot syncopations from the streets of New Orleans, the Caribbean and Brazil. Clarinettist, Evan Christopher is a refreshingly bright light on the international jazz scene. He combines virtuosity, immaculate taste, and enthusiasm with a deep commitment to capturing the full range of musical possibilities that come from having strong roots of New Orleans jazz and the Créole clarinet style.

Pre concert talk: Evan Christopher will give a pre-concert talk on the great Louis Armstrong and the Karnofskys. Please visit our webpage on the book now link, for more information on the Karnofsky family’s influence on Louis Armstrong and also listen to our interview with Evan Christopher at the podcast here


Date: 30th May
Time: 8pm
Venue: Jamboree
Price: £6




Future Music
This summer, MyIsrael is bringing the Musicians of Tomorrow over from Israel for a UK tour that includes performances in Leeds, Manchester and London. The Musicians of Tomorrow are a group of child musicians who were each discovered and trained by Anna Rosnovsky, a retired first violinist of the Israeli Philharmonic Orchestra. These musically gifted children, mostly from tough socio-economic backgrounds, are aged from seven upwards and travel from all over the North of Israel to attend daily music lessons. The tour, sponsored by Donna and Trevor Leigh in memory of Erica Lane will be the first time that any of the youngsters have been in the UK. There will be two performances on July 6th at LJCC's Ivy House in Hampstead - a 3pm interactive concert for families and a separate evening programme from 8pm.


Date: 6th July
Time: 3pm & 8pm
Venue: LJCC




Klezmer with Ilana Cravitz
Come and discover the joys of klezmer with fiddle player Ilana Cravitz one of the UK’s top teachers and performers. Over the course of the week you’ll learn how to play the soulful and celebratory music of Jews from Eastern Europe from the last century. We’ll be looking at tunes, ornamentation and accompaniment, as well as dance steps to go with the melodies that form this rich & enjoyable musical tradition.
Open to all instruments and ages. Minimum instrumental proficiency Grade 5 or equivalent; no klezmer experience necessary. In association with the Jewish Music Institute.


Date: 7-11th July
Time: 7-9pm
Venue: SOAS
Price: £70-90


Once again, we are delighted to give you advance notice that booking is now open for the 9th Annual European Cantors Convention in Budapest 10 – 14 July 2014 at the Bethlen Square Synagogue. Budapest has some of the most beautiful synagogues in Europe and an outstanding musical tradition. This year's theme is "The High Holydays: Inspire and Be Inspired". Organised and hosted by the Central and Eastern European branch of ECA, headed by Rabbi/Cantor David Schwezoff and Cantor Laszlo Fekete. In a recent statement the ECA said, "We are honoured to have as our guest teachers this year, the revered cantors, Asher Hainovitz of Jerusalem and Yaakov Motzen of Florida. They will be supported by Toronto’s Eric Moses and others. Sessions include nusach and davening as well as masterclasses and a session on ‘Leadership, Goal Setting, and Job Satisfaction’." This is a must for all cantors and those involved or with an interest in synagogue music.


Date: 10-14th July
Venue: Dohány Street Synagogue, Budapest
Price: £145-245


JMI radio returns after the Pesach break to bring you two features in one show. Our host Gil Karpas interview's Evan Christopher to hear more about Django a la Creole. While discussing the musical and cultural make-up of New Orleans we came across one of the greatest cross-cultural stories of the Twentieth century, the story of Louis Armstrong and the Karnofsky family. 17th May will see Israeli musician Shye Ben-Tzur come to play the Southbank with Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood and we interview Shye to hear more about his fusion of the Hebrew language with classical Indian music.To listen, please visit our radio page here




2nd May - Brooklyn Rider - Wigmore Hall 
The ensemble’s late night concert catches the full force of Ljova’s Culai, named after the elder violinist and vocalist of the wild Romanian Gypsy band Taraf de Haïdouks, and explores the folk flavour of Bartók’s Second String Quartet of 1917 and finishes with Three Miniatures by Colin Jacobsen.

Ljova: Culai
Bartók: String Quartet No. 2 Op. 17
Colin Jacobsen: Three Miniatures

Tickets here

9th May - Melange Collective - Wiltons Music Hall

On returning to London after 10 years in Jerusalem playing and studying the music of the region world music and jazz cellist Shirley Smart formed Melange. This 7-piece band blend rai, chaabi, Gnawa, exotic Middle Eastern and Turkish melodies and improvisations, Central Asian folk melodies, the fiery Tango of Argentina and the street Choro of Brazil with jazz-influenced improvisation.

Tickets here

17th May - Shye Ben-Tzur and Jonny Greenwood - Southbank
A world premiere from Qawwali singer and composer Shye Ben-Tzur and guest guitarist Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood. Shye Ben-Tzur performs his UK debut at Alchemy this year, joined by Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead. Together they give traditional sounds a new and experimental edge. Israeli composer, poet and performer Shye Ben-Tzur's musical roots lie in Indian classical music, and have evolved to become a cross-cultural mix of genres, languages and rhythms. Gil Karpas interviewed him for the JMI Radio show and that feature can be found here

Tickets here

18th May - Savina Yannatou - JW3 

Accompanied by her band, Primavera en Salonico, Yannatou continues to demonstrate her mastery of Sephardi folk songs and Mediterranean music creating a sensational world music sound. The band's repertoire includes songs from Sardinia, Corsica, Israel, Turkey, Italy, Cyprus, Albania, Spain, Africa, South America, the Caribbean, and her homeland Greece.

Tickets here

21st May - Trans Siberian Marching Band & She' Koyokh - Rich Mix 
The Trans-Siberian March Band is a London-based Balkan Brass Band. Formed in 2007, the group’s flamboyant, high-energy performances have earned them a reputation as flamboyant and fearless entertainers. This month they host JMI's favourites She'Koyokh, who fresh from their album launch at The Forge in Camden last month bring their truly unique blend of Klezmer with a Balkan flavour to East London for this concert.

Details here

25th May - Michael Greilsammer - JW3
Israeli violinist Michael Greilsammer mixes classical violin and electric guitar techniques to create his unique sound. Having toured the UK, Canada, the US, Barbados, India and France, Michael and his band have also supported several international artists including Macy Gray, Ziggy Marley & the Wailers. Michael’s love of world music has seen him collaborate with musicians world-wide, from Mali’s Amadou & Mariam to Ireland’s John McSherry and Emer Mayock.

Concert tickets here

Michael will be presenting a masterclass for students and enthusiasts as a precursor to this performance.

To book for the masterclass, please click here.



With numerous events of all sizes happening throughout 2014 celebrating JMI’s thirtieth year, we are looking for volunteers to help facilitate them.  Are you friendly, energetic, a good communicator with time on your hands?  Would you enjoy helping JMI deliver either one, or several of our wide-ranging programme of events which take place mainly in and around London?  We offer the opportunity to be part of music-filled events that move and educate audiences as well as wow critics.  If this sounds interesting to you please contact us here