Askhenaz 2006, Motzei Shabbat
First day of Ashkenaz! We rush down to Toronto's HarbourFront (trying to miss the traffic that is going to a Chinese Festival at a different venue—Toronto has this quaint idea that the city should support arts funding for lots of different cultures and perspectives, one of the reasons this is such a liveable city). Although the "fresser's" tent is filled with all sorts of good food, from Indian to Chinese to Eastern European, we opt for Israeli felafel.
The highlight of the evening, for me, is watching and hearing Veretski Pass in concert. I have separately kvelled about bassist Stu Brotman, tsimbl/accordion player Josh Horowitz, and fiddler Cookie Segelstein for years. But when they play together, it is watching three amazing musicians become something more. Cookie apologized for not doing much talking, but with only an hour to play, they wanted to get in as much music as they could, and they did. It was incendiary. As good as the CD is (and it remains one of my all-time top ten favorites), live is even better.
Later that night was saw a new collaboration between the always-inventive David Buchbinder and Hilario Durán. Excellent, excellent music. Only Frank London is involved so excellently in more world musics than Buchbinder, and unlike London, Buchbinder seems to travel rarely, and record with relative infrequency. The band was tight, and the Cuban-Klezmer fusion, if not always successful as a fusion, was always wonderful to listen to as music.
We rounded out the evening with the Cabaret Russe, hosted by Michael Alpert and featuring the incredibly talented contingent from the former USSR that had been performing and studying at KlezKanada last week. And later, exhausted, so to bed.