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NYJMHF: Mikveh, Svigals, Lerner, NYC, Sep 19

Jewish music and heritage festival
MikvehAlicia Svigals & Mikveh
w/ special guest Marilyn Lerner
37 West 26th St.
Admission $15 - Please purchase tickets at the door


Mikveh began when Obie-winning playwright Eve Ensler called Alicia Svigals to put together an all-star group of female klezmer musicians to join a host of celebrity performers at her gala event V-Day in New York. As a founding member of the Klezmatics, Svigals was well-positioned to do just that, and she called singer Adrienne Cooper, accordionist Lauren Brody and bass player Nicki Parrott. The group rocked the house at their very first performance at the Hammerstein Ballroom Theater and then at Madison Square Garden for the second V-Day, sharing the stage with Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey, Lily Tomlin, Glenn Close, Phoebe Snow, and Brooke Shields among others. Soon afterwards trumpeter/vocalist Susan Hoffman Watts joined the group and kicked up the excitement one more notch.

Since then, Mikveh has brought their unique woman-inflected spin on Jewish roots music, both traditional and brand-new, to audiences around the U.S. and Europe. In live concerts and on their eponymous debut CD, they create music that draws on the experiences and traditions of Jewish women, singing songs about spiritual fervor, forbidden love, pregnancy and miscarriage, hard work, a bas mitzvah, domestic violence, and powerful women everywhere. They combine rare finds from the folk tradition on surprisingly contemporary topics, with new Yiddish and English songs written in collaboration with lyricists who range in age from twenty-something to eighty-something, keeping the tradition alive and propelling it forward. And they leaven their arrangements with the ecstatic energy of old-time klezmer dance music, performed by some of the very best instrumentalists in the klezmer world.

Mikveh is named in tribute to the traditional women’s mikveh (ritual bath), the place of monthly immersion marking the cycles of women’s lives.

Montreal born pianist/improviser Marilyn Lerner has performed widely in Canada and abroad. She has recorded extensively over the past ten years, has written for film, theatre, radio and television, and has produced a series of audio art pieces. She has performed with the likes of Jane Bunnett, Gerry Hemingway, Steve Lacy, and Tito Puente. Ongoing artistic collaborations include audio artist Ken Gregory, poet Patrick Freisen (with whom she has just released a CD collection of poems and improvised music entitled Small Rooms), From Both Ends of the Earth, the Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band, Lori Freedman, and Dutch violist Ig Henneman.

"...this remarkable pianist..has established herself as one of the most exhilarating improvisers in Canada's jazz and new music scene." -Tamara Bernstein (National Post)

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