Ashkenaz 2004: Great music, but still some questions
Toronto's bi-annual Ashkenaz Festival is one of the most eagerly awaited Jewish music extravaganzas. It doesn't have the depth or longevity of say, Berkeley, California's "Jewish Music Festival" held every year, nor is it the once-every-350-years extravaganza taking place in New York City right now, but nowhere else in the world can one stroll around and hear so much Jewish music and Jewish language in one place, most of it for free, much of it happening all at once.
This year, as in each of the preceding four festivals, there was no shortage of amazing music. So, I'll get to that in a minute. Instead, I'd like to spend a few minutes talking about some of the few things that went wrong, starting with the fact that this festival, officially tagged "a festival of new Yiddish culture" contains precious little that is new, and is clearly not limited to Yiddish culture.