Amherst, Mass.—The Yiddish Book Center has announced the return of the annual YIDSTOCK: The Festival of New Yiddish Music from Thursday, July 13, to Sunday, July 16, 2023. The four-day festival features a diverse lineup of new performers and audience favorites and promises to be an unforgettable event for fans of Yiddish music and culture. Tickets for YIDSTOCK: The Festival of New Yiddish Music are now available at the Yiddish Book Center website, www.yiddishbookcenter.org.
YIDSTOCK Artistic Director Seth Rogovoy curated this year’s lineup, which includes favorites like Merlin Shepherd, Nigunim Trio, and Lorin Sklamberg alongside new performers, including Forshpil, Midwood, and Sam Sadigursky. In addition to the music performances, the festival includes workshops, talks, films, and conversations with the artists.
The 11th annual YIDSTOCK festival also introduces a new program called “Festival Artists-in-Residence.” This inaugural year features Eleanor Reissa and Socalled, who will make surprise appearances with other performers and lead short, casual sessions exploring their creative process.
“Last year we were able to regain our footing with a live festival after a two-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Rogovoy. “This year, we are thrilled to be able to present three artists and groups making their YIDSTOCK debuts, as well as several international artists. We look forward to the magic and surprises that can only happen at a live event, which often provides a platform for spontaneous cross-pollination and jamming between performers.”
“Yidstock is always a highlight of the year at the Yiddish Book Center,” said Susan Bronson, executive director of the Yiddish Book Center. “Once again we are thrilled to bring together a remarkable group of musicians for a jam-packed program of concerts, talks and workshops and welcoming audiences from near and far.”
The Klezmatics, the Grammy Award-winning modern klezmer band, will kick off the festival on Thursday, July 13, at 8 p.m.
On Friday, July 14, at 2 p.m., Yidstock newcomer Sam Sadigursky will perform excerpts from The Solomon Diaries, his suite for duo, accompanied by accordionist/multi-instrumentalist Nathan Koci. Sam’s musical composition is inspired by photographer Marisa Scheinfeld’s visionary project, The Borscht Belt: Revisiting the Remains of America’s Jewish Vacationland.
The Nigunim Trio, featuring vocalist/accordionist Lorin Sklamberg and trumpeter Frank London, will bring their unique blend of nigunim and zmiros on Friday, July 14, at 5 p.m. They will be joined by special guest Merlin Shepherd, the world-renowned klezmer clarinetist, from Brighton, England.
YIDSTOCK favorite David Krakauer will return on Saturday, July 15, at 8 p.m., with his latest project, David Krakauer’s Mazel Tov Cocktail Party, which showcases an international crew of performers including Iranian percussionist Martin Shamoonpour, jazz bassist Jerome Harris, Montreal rapper Sarah MK, and electric guitarist Yoshie Fruchter.
Sunday’s lineup includes Midwood, a Brooklyn-based outfit led by violinist Jake Shulman-Ment and Forshpil, an international group founded in 2003 in Riga, Latvia, and led by vocalist Sasha Lurje and keyboardist/arranger Ilya Shneyveys.
The festival will culminate with the YIDSTOCK All-Stars, led by Frank London, on Sunday, July 16, at 7 p.m. This once-in-a-lifetime grouping will perform a globally oriented program called “YIDSTOCK All-Stars: The Finale” that features klezmer and Yiddish talent including vocalist Eleanor Reissa, Montreal-based Josh Dolgin, aka Socalled, the de facto godfather of “klezmer hip hop,” clarinetist Merlin Shepherd, vocalists Sasha Lurje, Lorin Sklamberg, Eleonore Weill, and Lauren Brody, plus many others.
YIDSTOCK 2023 is co-sponsored by WAMC Northeast Public Radio and is made possible in part by the following endowed funds at the Yiddish Book Center:
- Joan A. Backman Memorial Concert Fund, established in memory of their daughter by Irving and Charlotte Backman
- Bernard and Reva Broder Memorial Fund for Yiddish Music Projects and Programs
- Lorraine “Libby” Buch Memorial Fund for Yiddish Music Projects and Programs
- Helen and Irving Sunshine Memorial Fund for Programs
- Stanley R. Epstein Fund at the Yiddish Book Center
For more information and images, please contact Rebecka McDougall, director of communications & marketing, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-409-5118.