Portland Klezmer Festival
Friday, April 29 – Sunday, May 1, 2022
Join us for a weekend of concerts, workshops, dancing, and communal music-making as we celebrate Eastern-European Jewish music and culture.
Featuring music by Midwood, Michelle Alany and the Mystics, Yankl Falk, and Varda.
Weekend passes and a la carte tickets available here! Please contact email@example.com for work-trade opportunities.
4/29 6:30p: Nigun session and Kabbalat Shabbat with Yankl Falk and Aaron Vitells. NW Portland Hostel (1810 NW Glisan Avenue). Suggested donation $5.
4/30 10-11:30am: Klezmer for Kids with Jake Shulman-Ment at Pacific Crest Community School (116 NE 29th Ave). Sliding scale $15-20.
Music at 8pm, dance party at 9:30. Jamming after! Sliding scale $12-15.
1:00-4:30pm: Singing, instrumental, and cultural workshops at Eastside Jewish Commons (2420 NE Sandy Blvd). $15 for 1 workshop, $25 for 2 workshops.
- Yiddish Singing with Yankl Falk and Ethan Chessin – Yankl shares some favorites from his repertoire of paraliturgical and Chassidic song, Yiddish theater and art song, and more. In singing these tunes together, we’ll look at the context of each tune, stylistic elements of Yiddish song (including pronunciation and phrasing), and the interplay between text and melody. Song texts will be provided with English translation.
- Klezmer for Beginners with Michelle Alany – Are you brand new to klezmer? New to your instrument? Feeling like taking things slowly for any reason whatsoever? This class is for you! Join us for an introduction to klezmer scales, rhythms, ornaments, and melodies. You’ll come away filled with sounds and inspiration to help start you on your klezmer journey.
- Finding your Voice: Composing new Jewish Music with Yoshie Fruchter – While we study and experience the amazing history and heritage that we have in klezmer, Jewish music and culture, this workshop is an opportunity to continue writing the future. With Midwood guitarist Yoshie Fruchter, we will explore some new compositional directions that have been taken by boundary crashers and adventurers like John Zorn, Frank London, Jewlia Eisenberg, and Marc Ribot. We will use some of the traditional themes and nuances of Jewish folk music and incorporate whatever new elements we can come up with, including rock, jazz, metal and the avant-garde. Participants are encouraged to bring their own original tunes to workshop as well. Join us as we run Yidl’s Fidl through a sonic blender!
- Klezmer for Melodic Players with Jake Shulman-Men – Open to all instrumentalists from intermediate through professional levels, in this workshop we will learn old spiritual and dance melodies by ear in the way klezmer music has traditionally been passed down. We will also learn to phrase, ornament, and accompany the melodies in the Ashkenazic Jewish folk style, and explore modal improvisation using typical Eastern European Jewish motifs and scales.
- Klezmer Groove Train: a Body Percussion and Rhythmic Flow Class with Richie Barshay – A crash course in body percussion and movement, designed to enhance your groove and rhythmic creativity in the klezmer idiom. For beginners and seasoned musicians alike who are looking to find a little more pocket, rhythmic independence, and more familiarity with klezmer drumming in general. The class will teach traditional rhythms found in klezmer and yiddish music going back to folk yiddish folk dance, with a focus on traditional folk dance and the fundamentals of grounded time and groove. Through elements of the Alexander Technique (Richie is also a certified teacher), you’ll learn to use your body as a gateway to more rhythmic flow!
- Yiddish Folklore: Stories, Legends, and Magic with Natan Meir – The Jews of Eastern Europe had a rich folk culture stretching back hundreds of years. In this session we will explore some different genres of Yiddish folklore, including folktales and magical practices such as incantations against the evil eye. We will discuss what makes the Yiddish language and Yiddish folklore unique, and gain a new understanding of Jewish culture.
- One Tune, Four Ways with Joshua Horowitz – In this workshop, Josh will take just one simple tune and teach how it can morph from a beguiling doina into a lilting hora, then a meditative khusidl, and finally a rollicking Bulgar, all using the same musical DNA. In this way, students can experience and understand firsthand the elements that make up each of these genres, using both melodic and accompaniment patterns as building blocks. For intermediate to advanced students.
7pm: Concert at the Village Ballroom (704 NE Dekum St) with Varda, Yankl Falk, and Midwood with Josh Horowitz. Doors at 6:30, music at 7:00. Sliding scale $15-20.
Weekend passes: Sliding scale $45-55 for all events, $30-40 for all events minus workshops.
We are committed to following the most up-to-date CDC, state, and local guidance for COVID-19. To maintain a safe event spaces for us all, we have adopted the following policies:
Proof of vaccination and a valid ID or a negative Covid test within 48 hours is required for all concerts and workshops (Saturday/Sunday).
While we will not require masks, we strongly encourage guests to wear a mask when indoors except for when eating, drinking.
Led by violinist Jake Shulman-Ment, Midwood is a contemporary psychedelic klezmer celebration of freedom and the Jewish tradition of wandering and migration. This supergroup, featuring some of the most exciting young performers on the international world music stage, seamlessly traverses borders through original compositions, expansive improvisations on traditional melodies, and heart-wrenching re-imaginings of Yiddish folk songs. Their debut album on Chant Records, Out of the Narrows, draws from deep Eastern European Jewish roots to explore the power of love, movement, and wilderness to transform the human mind and heart.
Jake Shulman-Ment – violin (Daniel Kahn, Frank London, Di Naye Kapelye)
Yoshie Fruchter – guitar (John Zorn, Zion 80, Pitom)
Richie Barshay – drums (Herbie Hancock, The Klezmatics, Esperanza Spalding)
Eleonore Weill – vocals, wooden flute, hurdy-gurdy (Tsibele, Frank London, Joey Weisenberg, Fada, Ali Dineen, eleonoreweill.com)
Joshua Horowitz is the director of the ensemble Budowitz and co-founder of the trio, Veretski Pass. He has taught, performed and recorded with Itzhak Perlman, Theodore Bikel, Stan Getz, The Vienna Chamber Orchestra and The San Francisco Symphony and is currently the curator and orchestrator for the San Francisco Symphony’s Jewish Music Currents Series and co-curator of the The Sonoma State University Jewish Music Concert Series. He received the Prize of Honor by the Austrian government in 2000 for his orchestral work, Tenebrae, based on the poem of Paul Celan and continues to compose and perform in a variety of genres and disciplines.
Michelle Alany and the Mystics
Internationally touring violinist & vocalist, Michelle Alany, is a dynamic performer & ambassador of world folk traditions. She specializes in soulful Sephardic, Mediterranean & Eastern European-inspired music, as well as original music, drawing on rich folk and classical traditions. Now based on the west coast, Michelle maintains a strong touring schedule, and is often a guest soloist around the country with chamber ensembles and other engaging orchestras.
Michelle’s versatility and depth as a performer will stir your soul, delight your senses, commune with your ancestors and ignite your spirit.
Marit Olivia and Mae Kessler, hailing from Olympia and Quilcene, have been playing folk and original music in bands locally and internationally for over 10 years. In Varda, their latest project together, they craft captivating duets of klezmer and traditional Scandinavian tunes. It was their excitement about this music that sparked the formation of Varda, and they are delighted to share their love of these rich musical traditions with the public.
Jack “Yankl” Falk
For the past 40 years, Jack “Yankl” Falk has been at the center of Yiddish cultural life in Portland and beyond. Yankl’s repertoire and performance reflects his long involvement with Hungary’s premier Yiddish ensemble, Di Naye Kapelye, with whom he recorded three acclaimed CDs of Carpathian Jewish roots music and performed at festivals across Europe. His other collaborations have included work with Don Byron’s Music of Mickey Katz, Polka Madre (Mexico City), Di Fidl-Kapelye (Amsterdam), Yale Strom, the Tone Sharks, accordionist Christina Crowder, violinist Andrew Ehrlich, and cellist Lori Goldston. For more than 30 years, Yankl produced and hosted the Sunday morning Yiddish Hour on Portland radio. A traditional singer of Jewish liturgy, Yankl was recently featured in a New York Times article about itinerant High Holiday cantors. “Yankl’s singing…returns us to a time when the power of the voice could tell a story and move an audience.” (Ari Davidow, Klezmer Shack).
The Portland Klezmer Festival is supported by…