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YIDSTOCK: The Festival of New Yiddish Music Returns to the Yiddish Book Center, July 7— 10

The Yiddish Book Center will present the 10th anniversary of YIDSTOCK: The Festival of New Yiddish Music, Thursday, July 7, to Sunday, July 10, at the Center. The Klezmatics, Eleanor Reissa, Socalled, and Paul Shapiro’s Ribs & Brisket Revue will all be performing, in person, at the Center, which is located on the Hampshire College campus in Amherst, Mass.

This year’s festival, curated by Seth Rogovoy, celebrates some greatest hits of the first decade of YIDSTOCK, featuring the return of some fan favorites, as well as new faces. Workshops, talks, films, and conversations with artists round out the schedule of events.

“We are looking forward to being together once again,” said Seth Rogovoy, who serves as artistic director for the festival. “We all have so much catching up to do, including audiences and performers, and we look forward to the magic and surprises that can only happen at a live event.”

Making his YIDSTOCK debut, Cantor Yaakov “Yanky” Lemmer will kick off the festival. With an ensemble led by Frank London of the Klezmatics, Lemmer brings fresh interpretations to traditional liturgical prayers and Hasidic nigunim as well as to some more obscure Yiddish songs. Lemmer, who has performed at Carnegie Hall, the Tel Aviv Culture Hall (with the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra), at various European culture festivals, and throughout the United States, Canada, and England, currently serves as head cantor of Lincoln Square Synagogue in Manhattan.

Veteran Michael Winograd brings his band, the Honorable Mentshn, to YIDSTOCK for the very first time, celebrating the launch of their newest album, Early Bird Special. Packed with the energy, passion, and drive that listeners have come to expect from the Honorable Mentshn, Early Bird Special delivers the schmaltz-drenched, hard-hitting klezmer that your soul craves and gets you up and dancing. In addition to clarinetist/bandleader Michael Winograd, the Honorable Mentshn are Daniel Blacksberg (trombone), Will Holshouser (accordion), Carmen Staaf (piano), Zoe Guigueno (bass), and David Licht (drums).

Perennial favorite Eleanor Reissa returns with a new sound and a new ensemble led by her frequent collaborator, trumpeter Frank London of the Klezmatics, to share her unique takes on Yiddish song, as she continues to reinvent the art of storytelling through Yiddish cabaret. (Read an interview with Eleanor Reissa on page 10.)

Paul Shapiro’s Ribs & Brisket Revue returns to perform its “Music of Mrs. Maisel” program. Shapiro and company celebrate the unique era when Jewish music was merging into the American mainstream. Blending jazz, Yiddish swing, R&B, klezmer, and humor, this joyous ensemble swings hard and is endlessly entertaining. Featuring vocalists Cilla Owens and Eleanor Reissa, this program features the 1950s repertoire that underscores The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel TV series, particularly the music of the Barry Sisters. The band features Jerry Korman on piano, Dave Hofstra on bass, and Tony Lewis on drums.

Josh Dolgin, aka Socalled, the de facto godfather of “Klezmer hip-hop,” returns to YIDSTOCK singing solo at the piano and accordion in a rare, intimate, unplugged program of Yiddish and Yiddish-related music and history.

Vocalist Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell and accordionist Dmitri Gaskin return with their enhanced project, Tsvey Brider + Baymele. For the past five years, Russell and Gaskin have been entertaining audiences internationally as the duo Tsvey Brider (“Two Brothers” in Yiddish), performing their original and stylistically diverse settings of 20th-century Yiddish modernist poetry. Their collection of songs, now reimagined through Gaskin’s arrangements for string ensemble, bring a whole new world of sound, texture, and color to the work of Tsvey Brider with the addition of Matthew Stein (fiddle) and Misha Khalikulov (cello) of the San Francisco Bay Area klezmer trio Baymele.

The Klezmatics, the internationally acclaimed, Grammy Award–winning modern klezmer outfit, will once again bring down the curtain on YIDSTOCK on Sunday. Founded in New York City in 1986 and performing around the world since then, the Klezmatics blend instrumental and vocal virtuosity and experimentation with theatricality firmly rooted in klezmer and Yiddish tradition. The Klezmatics brought the revival of klezmer into the rock era, blazing the path for the klezmer renaissance with one foot in the shtetl and the other in the downtown avant-garde. The Klezmatics are Lorin Sklamberg (vocals, piano, and guitar), Frank London (trumpet and keyboards), Matt Darriau (clarinet, saxophone, and recorders), Lisa Gutkin (violin), Paul Morrisett (bass and tsimbl), and Richie Barshay (drums).

YIDSTOCK 2022 is co-sponsored by WAMC Northeast Public Radio and is made possible in part by the following endowed funds at the Yiddish Book Center:

The Yiddish Book Center is a nonprofit organization working to recover, celebrate, and regenerate Yiddish and modern Jewish literature and culture. To learn more about the Center, visit YiddishBookCenter.org t

Tickets to YIDSTOCK can be purchased online at yiddishbookcenter.org/yidstock

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