25th Jewish Music Festival Starts March 20




Mixing the sacred and the secular will be the focus of this year’s Jewish Music Festival, which celebrates its 25th year. “Our attitude is that in this economy, we need all the help we can get; whether it be Jewish and Muslim mystical music and dance, or Irish and Jewish songs about love, death, betrayal, and the demon drink,” said Eleanor Shapiro, the festival’s director.

To that end, the festival will feature US and West Coast premiere performances by Lorin Sklamberg and Susan McKeown (whose album Saints and Tzadiks links Irish and Yiddish songs), and Diaspora Redux, a septet of musicians from New York, Berlin, and Buenos Aires. Other events include Sacred Jewish and Muslim Music of the Middle East with the Yuval Ron Ensemble and Mevlavi Dervish Aziz, Klezmer Buenos Aires, and a panel discussion called “Back to the Roots: Notions of Jewish Music Revival.”

Festival dates run March 20 to 29 at the Freight & Salvage in Berkeley, and will continue in July with several multimedia arts events in San Francisco, including the premiere of Dan Plonsey’s Bar Mitzvah, a commissioned performance piece, at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. For tickets, call 800-838-3006.