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July 17, 2017

Yet another amazing Yidstock

As a working person who gets no vacation and is paid by the hour, I haven't been able to take time off for the Yiddish Book Center's "Yidstock" festival, curated by Seth Rogovoy these past half dozen years. I may have to figure out a way to rethink. This year I missed Frank London's "A night in the old market," which I have yearned to see for years. I missed Hankus Netsky and Eden MacAdam-Somer (okay, I get the opportunity to see them almost often enough here in Boston—and same for Ezekiel's Wheels). I missed Frank, again, this time with the fabulous Eleanor Reissa and the Klezmer Brass AllStars. I missed Frank, this time with Lorin Sklamberg and Rob Schwimmer in the Nigunim Trio.

I did, however, see Alicia Svigals and Lauren Brody in their first Yidstock appearance, reprising material from Mikveh, their late-1990s/early 2000s supergroup, and surprising us with amazing new material—not just klezmer, but also new-to-us Yiddish poetry, often with sharp, germane, and obvious addressing of women's issues, reminding us why the Yiddish revival isn't just a linguistic tic, but for many, represents fighting for social justice.

The day ended with Andy Statman, also in his first Yidstock appearance. It has been a rough, tired day after breaking my rule about never staying for the last Yidstock show, but we were well-rewarded. The last few years, wherever I have seen Statman, he never fails to deliver klezmer, nign, bluegrass, and "Statman-music." Last night, though, he was just on fire, delivering almost two hours of nearly non-stop music, punctuated only by occasional intros to special nigunim. He was backed by his usual trio: Larry Eagle on drums, and Jim Whitney on bass. An old friend, Bob Weiner (sp?) joined on percussion for several numbers.

Kudos to the Yiddish Book Center for another excellent festival. 2018 has already been scheduled: July 12–15, 2018. Put it on your calendar now.

"Hassidic New Wave" continues to delight

Just a quick note a propos of nothing. Was hanging out with spouse at a performance of Mahler's 8th out in Tanglewood this past weekend. One of the singers in the mammoth choir was talking about music that she loved. "Hassidic New Wave!" she enthused. "Been in my car for years. The kids got tired of it, but I still love it."

The KlezmerShack notes that this is one more reason why Sir Frank earned the "Knight's Cross" Order of Merit from the Hungarian government last year. Not bad for a Jewish kid from NYC. And we regret that we have once again missed the opportunity to hear/see a performance of his "A night at the old market" which appeared at Yidstock this weekend. Mahler. What can we say? Joey Baron, or anyone else from Boston's Jewish Arts Collaborative, can you make this a bit easier for me and just bring the production to Boston already?