Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Montreal Jewish Music Festival 2014

A dynamic and diverse international line-up

by Nancy Snipper

Get ready to celebrate Jewish music like you’ve never heard it before. Now into its fifth year, MJMF has gathered together the crème de la crème of amazing musicians who have made the genre world famous.  Unique and eclectic compositions performed by exciting musicians from over 15 countries will create an abundance of unforgettable beats and melodies - putting their own global stamp on Jewish music in this űber-lively festival. Over a period of four days (August 24th-28th), Montreal will indulge in MJMF’s endless, zesty music feast- creating all kinds of savoury Kosher-style  sounds filled with the food of love. It’s coming to you in a huge variety of flavours in over seven concerts. From Iraqi’n’Roll and Electro-Klezmer-Cumbia – through to Psychedelic Latvian Yiddish Rock, Russian Soul and Cuban Style Klezmer, MJMF is serving a giant potpourri of gorgeous galactic Jewish musical groups whose sounds will fill your ears to their bountiful brim.
On opening night KlezKanada will present one of the most anticipated concerts: a performance by Der Grovyser Concert Internacionale. It will take place in the Oscar Peterson Hall. The group is a world sensation with its sixteen Jewish music instrumentalists and Yiddish song interpreters from Hungary, Israel, North America, France and beyond.
The list of Jewish music wired to the world’s wizards of the genre also includes some dazzling gypsy punks, kingly Kuwaiti back-ups to Dudu Tassa, and so much more.  
For more information, check out the website:

Nancy’s reviews:     

August 24 @ Oscar Peterson Hall
Der Groyser Concert Internacionale

Great concert with music to wow the audience!

It was a feast of superb talents entertaining us all with Jewish songs and klezmer music that had the entire audience clapping away. Packed to the brim, the Oscar Peterson Hall resonated with the masterful music presented by KlezKanada. Its ebullient performers are pros on their instruments and the big lush sounds they produce is almost overwhelming.
We were treated to the lively personality and stunning voice of Shura Lipovsky who truly belongs on the Broadway stage. She is so expressive; we were pulled into Schetel life and Yiddish humour – all made vital through merry and mournful melodies punched with evocative lyrics of love and loss.

Clarinettist Merlin Shepherd teamed up with his saucy pianist/ singer wife Paulina to dazzle us with his playing. Likewise, the Brothers Nazaroff offered amusing stage presence as they sung tried and true Yiddish songs, including, “Boy, What a lucky Jew I am” and “Timbaland”.

I was so impressed with double bass performer Rémy Yulzari who played with Israeli-born guitarist, Nadav Lev. Residing in New York this brilliant guitarist is winner of the André Segovia Competition. Mr. Yulzari brought out new sounds with his instrument as he bounced his bow off its strings.
The duo stole the evening. You could hear everyone listening so intently and the thundering applause after told the whole story.

Speaking of stories, MC Michael Wex is a humorous fellow who was able to turn car woes into Jewish humour.

I found the music very loud, and boisterously over-the-top in some pieces, but the crowd lapped it all up.


Dudu Tass & The Kuwaitis Rock the Stage Wild

August 28th, 8 pm at D.B. Clarke Theatre

What a great group of superlative musicians! Tassa’s 6-member band dig deep to bring out the star’s Jewish Iraqi’s roots  and stellar singing which truly is the iconic voice of the Middle East. His grandfather and great-uncle were recognized as two of the greatest composer/musicians in Baghdad during the first half of the 20th century. Tassa performed his great hit non-stop for over an hour, singing in Arabic; and his encore consisted of three Hebrew songs. The lighting effects were fun, and it would have been nice had some landscapes been projected on the back wall, as his raw voice evoked this setting.
 I wish though he had talked a bit about the meaning of the lyric for his songs. I also wish the audience was not allowed to come and go during songs – as they pleased. Late attendees and recording the show was disturbing.
Tassa’s god-like guitar skills and powerful voice are awesome. He is the Israeli version of Chris Martin, Pat Matheny and Black Sabbath rolled into one.