— North America’s largest showcase of global Jewish performing arts and culture features world-renowned Abraham Inc., The Klezmatics and the Canadian Premiere of Yiddish-language Death of a Salesman, among over 250 international artists —
— New food component features Zane Caplansky, Judy Perly and Michael Wex—
The Ashkenaz Festival, North America’s premier festival of global Jewish music and culture returns to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre for its 11th year from August 30 to September 5. The weeklong festival celebrates a wide range of Jewish arts and culture with artists from across the globe. Festival programming includes music, film, theatre, dance, literature, visual arts and a new Jewish food component.
The headlining acts include the Grammy award-winning ensemble The Klezmatics and Jewish-funk super-group Abraham Inc, which features klezmer clarinet master David Krakauer, legendary funk trombonist of James Brown and George Clinton Band fame Fred Wesley, and Yiddish hip-hop renegade Socalled.Since it began in 1995, the Ashkenaz Festival has evolved into a broad celebration of Jewish and cross-cultural art and performance. The 2016 line-up includes exciting programming, featuring over 90 presentations and more than 250 individual artists from across 12 countries.
“Ashkenaz represents the cutting-edge of contemporary Jewish artistic creation,” said Eric Stein, Artistic Director of The Ashkenaz Festival. “It’s a dynamic international scene, producing some of the most exciting music and art being made today. The festival reflects as much of our own city’s multicultural flavour as it does the eclecticism and vibrancy of Jewish arts in the worldwide diaspora. I’m constantly inspired by the cross-cultural exchange and diversity of both the artists and audiences at our festival.”
The festival concludes with the family-favourite Ashkenaz Parade on Labour Day. The parade finale— produced by Shadowland Theatre—features a procession of music, dance, theatre, giant puppets and stilt walkers along the waterfront.
Other programming highlights include:
- Canadian Premiere of the acclaimed Yiddish-language version of Arthur Miller’s iconic Death of a Salesman, presented with English subtitles, starring the original New York cast and Drama Desk-nominated Avi Hoffman
- A new program devoted to Jewish food and culinary trends, with talks and tastings by some of Canada’s most colourful Jewish food personalities Zane Caplansky, Judy Perly and Michael Wex
- Stalwarts of the Canadian folk and world music scene, Gypsy Kumbia Orchestra, Beyond the Pale, Ventanas, Nomadica, and the ever-popular Lemon Bucket Orkestra
- Unique musical projects that build bridges across musical cultures, including: the outstanding Japanese klezmer group Jinta La Mvta, Hungarian folk music legends Muszikás; Sephardic group, Janet and Jac Esim Ensemble from Turkey, and a Jewish-Persian musical project with the Israeli-Iranian Musical Initiative.
- Launch of the new Theodore Bikel Artist-In-Residence Program
- North American premiere of Berlin’s Semer Ensemble, re-creating music recorded on the German-Jewish Semer Records label in the 1930s, and thought to have been destroyed by the Nazis
- A multidisciplinary commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the creation of the Venice Ghetto (the world’s first Jewish ghetto), including a performance by Italy’s Lucidarium Ensemble, a lecture by renowned Venician-Jewish scholar Shaul Bassi, and a traveling museum exhibit
- Performances by up-and-coming contemporary Jewish musicians, including: NYC-based Hassidic-Reggae hipsters, Zusha, middle-eastern/Americana fusion with NYC’s Sandcatchers
For a full list of programming, please visit www.ashkenaz.ca. Additional attractions, as well as full performance and workshop dates and times, will be announced shortly. The Ashkenaz Festival is coproduced with Harbourfront Centre.
Images of performing acts here.