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August 31, 2006

Ashkenaz Festival, Toronto, Aug 29-Sep 4

So, what are you doing this weekend? We're going to Toronto for Ashkenaz! If we lived there, we'd already be enjoying the fun.

ashkenaz festival logoA bountiful outpouring of music, theatre, art, dance, literature, cabaret and film will take place from August 29 through September 4 at the Harbourfront Centre, with special events at Earl Bales Park and the Miles Nadal jcc.

Colourful events like the pageant and parade created by the award-winning Shadowland Theatre, Kabbalah yoga and dramatic Havdallah rituals evoke the special nature of the festival, which melds the traditional spirit of Eastern Europe with the new, radical art being created in a contemporary resurgence of Jewish culture.

Most events are free. Click here to see the entire Ashkenaz 2006 schedule.

Some special events will require a ticket, including Retro Ashkenaz, with festival favorites Klezmer en Buenos Aires and Les Yeux Noirs, on Thursday, August 31. Click here for information on all the ticketed events.

Photos from KlezKanada

Bob Blacksberg reports that a "sampler" of photos is now available from KlezKanada

The KlezKanada website’s gallery (www.klezkanada.com/site/photos2.php) now includes a sampler (if one can call 117 photos a sampler) from KlezKanada 2006. There is a neat photoplayer there, so you can browse for individual photos while letting the large display slowly roll through the set.

Jewish food and Klezmer in Carmel Valley, CA

This from Marc Goldman

yesterday (Sunday) the local Temple Beth Israel out in Carmel Valley did their annual Jewish foods festival.. that was fun.. "good eats" .. they got a small group calling themselves "Klezmer by the Sea" kind of a take off of "Carmel by the Sea". one "grown up" on accordion, a clarinet player that is in middle school (junior high) and a very talented violinist named Noah Freedman still in high school.. he has done classical for 10 years and Klezmer and jazz maybe 3 years.. I listen to enough classical I could tell he was no beginner.. he is in local youth symphony. there was one other kid also played clarinet out front of temple.. . about 3 years ago there was an all girl or almost all girl Klezmer group from Santa Cruz . don't know what be came of them.. also on program was Alisa Fineman and Kimball Hurd . she is singer. both play guitar..prof musicians.. have CDs and a web site..

August 30, 2006

Alicia Svigals on fire - catching up on amazing performances

Alicia SvigalsWhile I was wrestling with too damn many things to do this summer (not entirely done wrestling), I took an evening out to see Alicia Svigals Fidl Express at Johnny D's here in the Boston area on August 3rd. While it's known that I am an avid fan of Svigals' playing, I have to say that this was even better than I expected.

The evening started on a promising note with the bluegrass/jazz of fiddler Matt Glazer (Wayfaring Strangers, among other bands). In a tour that ranged from Barzilian music to Americana, Glazer was spot on, and inspired by great music, we were ready for more.

Svigals came out smoking, joined by the wonderful Mimi Rabson on fiddle, with Pete Rushefsky on tsimbl, Jim Guttmann on bass, and I know I'm forgetting someone. Damn it was a good concert. The longer the ensemble plays together, sporadically as they play together, the tighter and more exciting they get. And Svigals was just on fire.

Thank you to everyone who played, and to the audience that came to listen (and just a little, to dance—we need more dancing!)

KlezKanada blog launched ... and we're back

The good news is that the KlezKanada blog was launched the first day of camp - go to www.klezkanada.com and click on "blog". The bad news is that the promised internet connectivity fizzled, yet again, so that after the first day we couldn't usefully post to it from camp. But the good news is that we were busy having fun at camp, so for most of us, it didn't matter. The bad news is that those people who arrived at camp needed email for work, to finalize arrangements for gigs, or places to stay, or transport home, were once again up a creek. It is quite likely that next year KlezKanada will bring its own equipment to support Internet access and not rely on the camp. But that's for discussion later this year.

So, we did a daily newsletter again. It ranged from 4-8 pages, but this year lacked the diversity of languages—we had just Yiddish, English, and Spanish this year. No Russian. The "Personals" ads raised money for the scholarship fund that got into the three digits. Not bad!

We were dwarfed in our fundraising efforts by Emily Socolov and Robin Young who sold ponchos, lap blankets, and some neat magnets to raise funds for the family of German Goldenshteyn, z"l. Emily writes that they raised $700 for the family.

August 20, 2006

the road to KlezKanada

For the record, in the unlikely event that next year I ask myself, "how long does it take to get up to KlezKanada from Boston, anyway?" for the second year running, we have definitively taken 8 hours to do the drive that should take 6.5 hours. But we stop and take it easy when we want to. And we inevitably hit Rt 10 into Montreal around 5pm on a Sunday afternoon when traffic trundles along at 10-20mph for a while as everyone who spent the weekend elsewhere comes home.

We could, of course, plan things out so that we wake up in the morning, pack the car, and take off early. But, as my frequent recent posts to this blog have shown, I haven't had time to do anything that wasn't due RIGHT NOW (or LAST WEEK) in months. So, I woke up this morning, put together the first KlezKanada newsletter, emailed the pdf to Hy Goldman, he who makes the whole damn camp happen, and he took over getting it printed up and on tables so that when Judy and I finally arrived midway through dinner, there it was (and there were we!).

We weren't the only folks to arrive a bit late, but almost everyone seems to have gathered after dinner for the first cabaret night. Judy did her own blog post, on the Jewish Music Web Center. This one is mine.

In the morning I'll get material for the first in-camp daily newsletter. Some of last year's "regulars" have already come up and volunteered to start writing. I'm wondering what languages we'll have this year—Yiddish and English, of course, but what else? Avi Rosenblatt, the KlezKanada webmaster, has installed WordPress, and for the first time there is actual usable internet connectivity here, so expect an actual KlezKanada blog, link to come as soon as there is something to link to, tomorrow? soon?

in the meantime, heed my previous-to-this-post. If you can write and want a place to write; or if you have always wanted to put together a next generation website, or if you have time to help maintain the calendar, the KlezmerShack is absolutely open to volunteers. E-mail me.

In the meantime, where was I? KlezKanada cabaret and the music is intense and wonderful.