Ashkenaz '97--A Festival of New Yiddish Culture, August  25 - September 1, 1997, Harbourfront Centre, Toronto, Canada


Medina (Toronto)
Urban Square Tent

A band of bandleaders! An exciting new ensemble dedicated to exploring the sonic crossroads where Arabic music, Yiddish music and improvisation meet. About half an hour of this performance is available online.

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Sound Files from Ashkenaz '97

It is impossible to convey the entire festival online. We have tried to capture some of the audio experience. In selecting which events to record, we tried to emphasize diversity. This diversity was enhanced by the usual accidents of recordings that didn't work, record buttons that we forgot to push, and the usual chaos of life at an exciting festival.

As of 9/3/97, sounds are being added daily and should to be added continue over the next month. To discuss the festival or future projects, do visit Virtual Ashkenaz. All recordings are processed to RealAudio 3.0 mono. (Requires a 28.8 modem or better, and RealAudio 3.0 player.) If these recordings are useful, do let us know--send e-mail or regular mail to the festival office.

Available so far:

Esta, 8/30/97
Flying Bulgars Klezmer Band, 8/28/97
Ghetto Tango, 8/31/97
Hu-Tsa-Tsa, 8/31/97
Koulack, Lerner & Boychuk, 8/26/97
(Koulack and Lerner at the late-night cabaret, 8/30/97)
Late Night Cabaret of Dreams, 8/30/97
Macedonian Mazl Tov, 8/27/97
Medina, 9/1/97
Naftule's Dream, 8/30/97
Salomon Klezmorim, 8/31/97
Toronto Jewish Folk Choir, 8/31/97
Theresa Tova and Liza Balkan, at the Late Night Cabaret, 8/30/97
All-star jam Late Night Cabaret, 8/30/97
Zumerteg: Songs of Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman, 8/30/97
Spoken Word
Adventures in Yiddish, Michael Wex, 8/28/97
The Artist as Jew, the Jew as Artist, 8/27/97
Deb Filler, at the Late Night Cabaret, 8/30/97
Zev Feldman: Gypsies, Greeks, and Klezmer Music, 8/31/97
Finf un Tsen: Canadian Jewish Writers I, 8/31/97
Sheldon Oberman, 8/31/97
Chava Rosenfarb, 8/31/97
Libby Scheier, at Finf un Tsen, 8/31/97, and at late-night cabaret, 8/30/97)
Sex in Yiddish: Golus Storytheatre, 8/30/97
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Koulack, Lerner & Boychuk (Winnipeg)
8/26/97, Water's Edge Cafe, 9:30pm

These three wonderful Winnipegers present a unique sound based in their respective Yiddish, jazz, folk and Ukrainian backgrounds, achieving a startling new synthesis. Created especially for the Festival. We have the last four songs of the band's set (about 20 min.) online.

The Artist as Jew, the Jew as Artist
8/27/97, Water's Edge Cafe, 7:00pm

Three contemporary artists participating in the Festival -- Devora Neumark, Cyril Reade and Yvonne Singer -- discussed their work in the exhibition and how they explore Jewish cultural issues. Moderator: Sylvia Ptak. This forum is available for listening online. It takes about one hour, 20 minutes to play.

Macedonian Mazl-Tov (Vancouver)
8/27/97, Water's Edge Cafe, 9:30pm

This new group from the West Coast bring their Eastern-European funk to the Festival for a late night dance party! About half an hour of the band's 8/27/97 set at the Water's Edge Cafe is available online.

Adventures in Yiddish A lecture by Michael Wex (Toronto)
8/28/97, Water's Edge Cafe, 8:00pm

A lighthearted, absolutely accurate look at the weirdest language around. This lecture is available online. It will take about one hour to play.

Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band (Toronto)
8/28/97, Water's Edge Cafe, 9:30pm

Riding the success of their third CD Fire, Canada's premiere klezmer band once again pushes the limits of traditional Eastern European music. Listen to the last half hour of the Flying Bulgar's 8/28/97 set online. Band lineup included Rick "Shadrach" Lazar (Medina, Montuno Police) and Alicia Svigals (Klezmatics). Marilyn Lerner plays piano on the encore (Koulack, Lerner, Boychuk).

Zumerteg: The Songs of Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman
8/30/97, Molson Place, 8:00pm

Five of the most soulful Yiddish singers around (Adrienne Cooper, Dave Wall, Beth Anne Cole, Lorin Sklamberg, and Stella Walker) interpret the deeply beautiful songs of poet and treasure Beyle Schaechter-Gottesman. With an all-star band under the direction of Zalmen Mlotek. This performance is available online (48 minutes).

Esta (Israel)
8/30/97, Brigantine Room, 8:00pm

This acclaimed power quartet has an electrifying Mediterranean sound that spices its Sephardic/Arabic roots with African, Celtic, jazz and rock grooves. The next wave of world music! About 30 minutes of this concert is available online.

Sex in Yiddish by Michael Wex with music by Heiko Lehmann, Golus Storytheatre (Toronto, Germany)
8/30/97, Brigantine Room, 9:30pm

Performed by Michael Wex and Heiko Lehmann, Sex in Yiddish is yet another of Golus Storytheatre's unique blends of storytelling, Yiddish and music. Chasidic boy discovers Elvis and nudist magazines, acquires a girlfriend and a social worker, becomes a yeshiva beatnik and more! About an hour of this concert is available online. Don't miss the closing country/western ode to circumcision!

Naftule's Dream (Boston)
8/30/97, Water's Edge Cafe, 10:30pm

Intense modern improvisation and orchestration intermingle with traditional klezmer to create a jazz sound which resembles like circus music run amok. About half an hour of this performance is available online

Late-Night Cabaret of Dreams with Theresa Tova and Deb Filler
8/30/97, Water's Edge Cafe, 10:30pm

Torchy Diva Theresa Tova and comedienne Deb Filler join fellow festival performers for spontaneous musical explorations, poetry, comedy, jamming and dancing to deep Yiddish grooves in new collaborations and cutting-edge pieces that are perfect for this intimate stage! Most of the late-night cabaret has been stitched together online in RealAudio 3.0 mono format. Tonight's cabaret featured Koulack and Lerner (13 min. online), Libby Scheier (12 min. online), a long Michael Wex piece (3 min. online) prior to Theresa Tova and Liza Balkan (34 min. online), a Howard Jerome interlude, buying time (7 min. online) preceding comedienne Deb Filler (19 min. online), followed by a song by Henry Sapoznik (10 min. online), and an all-star jam session featuring Steve Greenman, Lorin Sklamberg, Daniel Koulack, Frank London, and I don't remember who else. Sound gets funky towards the end. (30 min. online)

Toronto Jewish Folk Choir (Toronto)
8/31/97, Brigantine Room, 2:30pm

In its 71st year, the oldest Jewish musical organization in Canada performs both traditional and contemporary Yiddish music. With guest conductor Zalmen Mlotek. Part of the concert is available online (about 40 minutes).

Gypsies, Greeks and Klezmer Music: The Creation of the "Southern" Klezmer Repertoire in 19th Century Moldavia (New York)
8/31/97, Brigantine Room, 3:30pm

A lecture by Zev Feldman. The "southern" repertoire--the unique fusion of Moldavian Gypsy, Greek and Ashkenazic musics--unfolded in Ottoman Moldavia and Russian Bessarabia in the 19th century and transformed much of the klezmer music that survived into the 20th century. This process is described and linked up with earlier developments that had created the "core" klezmer repertoire in the north east of Ashkenazic Europe. This lecture is available online. It lasts about 40 minutes.

Finf un Tsen: Canadian Jewish Writers I
8/31/97, Urban Square Tent, 3pm

Canada is rich in Jewish writers, many of whom continue Jewish literary legaicies and expore Jewish traditions in their writings. Featured will be award-winning writers as well as those known for their exciting peformances. This session is available online in its entirety. You can also listen to the various artists singly: Libby Scheier (5 minute reading); Eddy Yanofsky (5 minute reading); Carol Rose (4 minute reading); Ronna Bloom (7 minute reading); Norman Ravvin (10 minute reading); Adeena Karasick (5 minute reading); Rhea Tregebov (6 minute reading); Jason Sherman (10 minute reading); Michael Wex (6 minute reading).

Sheldon Oberman Tells Tales (Toronto)
8/31/97, Urban Square Tent, 4:30pm

Tales Along the Fringe, The Always Prayer Shawl and other tales for children of wondrous changes in the heart and soul. You can listen to these stories online. The recording is about 40 minutes.

Chava Rosenfarb
8/31/97, Urban Square Tent, 7pm

One of the last great Yiddish writers, Bundist, Lodz Ghetto and Holocaust survivor, winner of Israel's Manger Prize for her life's work, author of the masterpiece Der boym fun lebn (The Tree of Life), Survivors and other works, Montreal-based Chava Rosenfarb will read in Yiddish and English from her work. This reading is available online. It lasts for a little over one hour.

Salomon Klezmorim (Holland)
8/31/97, Molson Place, 8:00pm

A trio which weaves its own sound from the multi-coloured strands of Khassidic melodies, Eastern European grooves and MIDI electronics. This 30-minute performance is available online.

Ghetto Tango: Music in Extremes (New York)
8/31/97, (as part of the "Late Night Cabaret of Dreams"), Water's Edge Cafe, 10:30pm

Singer Adrienne Cooper and pianist/arranger Zalmen Mlotek, internationally celebrated reinterpreters of Jewish music traditions, bring an eclectic musicality to the unknown song repertoire of World War II Jewish theatres and tap into the black humour, rage and anxiety of the artists who created this music in extremis. Part of the reprise of "Ghetto Tango" recorded during Sunday night's Late-night cabaret (~30 min.) is available online.

Hu-Tsa-Tsa (Toronto)
9/1/97, Ann Tindal Square, 1pm

The newest addditon to the Toronto klezmer scene, Hu-Tsa-Tsa takes swinging Yiddish roots music from a traditional angle but also embraces klezmer's potetial for experimentation. At the festival, the band mostly wandered about Harbourfront. This was their one gig in a fixed location, so about half an hour of the band is now available online.

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