Yiddish Folk Fest to be biggest Yiddish-culture event ever in MarinCelebration of Eastern-European arts, Klezmer expected to draw hundreds
San Geronimo -- The San Geronimo Valley Community Center, Congregation Gan Halev and KlezCalifornia present Yiddish Folk Fest: an interactive day of Art, Food, Storytelling, Dancing and outstanding Klezmer Music, Sunday, September 30th, 2007, 3-7 pm. Tickets: $15 Adults; $5 Kids and $30 Family of 3 plus.
The upbeat secular event will offer a “cultural harvest” on the week of Jewish Harvest Holiday, Sukkoth [Yiddish spelling], offering a window into these dynamic Eastern-European Jewish cultural traditions for music-lovers and people from all walks of life.
The day begins with two tracks – dynamic Klezmer performance on the main stage AND in-depth workshops offered by talented and engaging instructors. At 3pm, six simultaneous participatory workshops will begin:
- Klezmer workshops (1 melody and 1 rhythm workshop taught by members of the Red Hot Chachkas),
- Yiddish Dance workshop with Bruce Bierman
- Yiddish Singing workshop with California Klezmer’s Gerry Tenney
- Yiddish Story Telling (in English) taught by Andy Rader
- Children's workshop taught by Susan Tacherra
Musicians are encouraged to bring their instruments.
While the workshops take place, attendees also have the option of enjoying two fine Klezmer bands each performing a set each from the main stage. Petaluma’s Jubilee Klezmer, featuring members of the Santa Rosa Symphony at 3pm followed by The Freilachmakers, dubbed a “Jewish-Irish-Appalachian hybrid” by the J.’s Dan Pine, at 4pm.
The event will provide an exciting shopping and dining experience. Art and Judaica vendors will offer unique finds and a variety of delicious Jewish foods offered by San Rafael’s House of Bagels. In addition to the children’s workshop, the Community Center’s 0-5 year-old playroom will be available and there are three playgrounds a short walk from the Festival activities.
The event will culminate at the main stage with a dynamic concert set with the Red Hot Chachkas First Place winners in the J. Readers' Choice Award
2006 and 2007, from 5-6 pm followed by a festive dance party led by Bruce Bierman, featuring The Red Hot Chachkas. Don’t miss a special lighthearted surprise during this performance!
The colorful, fanciful art on the poster for the event comes from established Jewish artist Fran Barrish, a resident of Petaluma. Barrish utilizes watercolors, acrylics, collage, India ink, and resins to make her art. She has been honored by the Fireman’s Fund and the Watercolor Artists of Sonoma County and her work has been exhibited at institutions including the Koret Gallery of Palo Alto and the California Museum of Art. Barrish, who speaks Yiddish and loves to dance will be on hand at the Yiddish Folk Festival to talk with attendees about her art. She says, “Dancers are ‘always in my head’ since I folk danced for many years, so music and dance are important themes (for my work).”
The Red Hot Chachkas’ sound swings, shakes, and serenades. Comprised of multi-talented performers on violin, clarinet, mandolin, accordion, bass, and drums, the group plays traditional Eastern European dance tunes, ranging from frenzied to tranquil tantsn, plus original compositions and improvisations building on the Klezmer tradition. Led since 1997 by Julie Egger, whose violin playing is inspiring, emotional, and contagious, they have performed at concerts, festivals, senior centers, schools, Jewish congregations, art and cultural exhibits, and private parties and simchas in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 10 years, where their versatility has excited, entertained and educated audiences young and old. Their first album "Family Album", full of traditional as well as a few original tunes brought the band to the public eye. Their new album, to be released at the Yiddish Folk Festival, "The Red Hot Chachkas -- Spice It Up", brings together the band's worldly influences as they morph Klezmer through jazz, Irish, and even reggae with hot new works that inspires the listener to dance and cry. The Chachkas were First Place winners of the J. Readers Choice Award
in 2006 and 2007 and were recently featured on the prestigious KQED Spark program. Ari Davidowitz of KlezmerShack raves: “I am rewarded and blessed with just what I wanted to hear: exquisitely-rendered traditional Klezmer, with that hint of bluegrass and even…a bit of California jam band and ensemble improvisation. The result is a mechaye, a delight.”
The Freilachmakers Klezmer String Band. According to Richard Sharma, of the UK’s Rainlore's World of Music, the Freilachmakers work ". . . bubbles with exuberance and a great sense of fun. The playing is highly virtuosic, yet subtle. Truly original and inventive. . . a style that is as compelling as their album and of equal charm and wit." This heralded ensemble from Sacramento has been entertaining audiences since 1995 with rambunctious Klezmer instrumentals and Upbeat Jewish music from the Ashkenazic and Sephardic traditions, with Brazilian, gypsy and Celtic influences. Their two CDs, The Flower of Berezin (1998) and And I in the Uttermost West (2005) were released to critical praise throughout the print, on-line and broadcast media. The J. – Jewish News Weekly of Northern California’s Dan Pine calls them ". . . a Jewish-Irish-Appalachian hybrid a hop, skip and a shpring from bluegrass."
The Petaluma-based Jubilee Klezmer Ensemble performs Klezmer and Israeli dance music. Featuring two members of the Santa Rosa Symphony, the ensemble has performed at the Sausalito Art Festival and Petaluma Library World Music Concert.
Award-winning playwright/choreographer Bruce Bierman has toured the country as a performer and teacher with the critically acclaimed Aman Folk Ensemble. He is a sought-after Jewish and world dance instructor and teaches as an artist-in-residence in schools, synagogues, community centers, libraries and festivals throughout California and the United States, and has been a guest presenter for KlezCalifornia, the Jewish Music Festival, and the Bureau of Jewish Education Library. He has written, directed, and choreographed three original award-winning plays, and most recently choreographed and co-directed the Peninsula Youth Theatre’s production of Fiddler on the Roof at the Mountain View Performing Arts Center. Bruce lives in San Francisco.
Singing instructor Gerry Tenney has been working with children for over forty years. He has worked in a variety of Jewish camps on both the east and west coasts. Currently he is the director and music teacher of the East Bay Kindershul, the only school for children in the Bay Area that emphasizes the Yiddish component of Yiddishkayt. He is also the leader of California Klezmer, the only Bay Area Klezmer band that has children's music as an active component of its repertoire. Gerry lives in Oakland.
Andy Rader has been sharing Jewish stories with the Gan Halev community for many years, usually during High Holiday services. He also finds ways to tell stories in his daily life as an acupuncturist and hypnotherapist.
Susan Tacherra has been associated with Gan Halev for many years as a Sunday School teacher of K and Pre-K. She is the Teacher/Director at Stinson Beach PreSchool.
Congregation Gan Halev is an alternative, intimate and community minded Jewish congregation that started gathering in 1992. It is dedicated to the principles of inclusiveness, social responsibility, spiritual growth and celebration. Its members represent a broad spectrum of Jewish life and practice. The Congregation meets at the San Geronimo Valley Community Center. Its members are socially and economically diverse representing a wide range of Jewish practice and affiliation. It is enriched by the diversity and inclusiveness of its community -- families with children, single-parent families, couples, and single adults of all ages at all stages in the life cycle. Its events, religious serves and Sunday School serves people from all over Marin County and the greater Bay Area. Phone: (415) 488-4524.
KlezCalifornia was founded in 2003 to celebrate Klezmer music and Yiddish culture in the San Francisco Bay Area. We strive to produce programming that engages, teaches, and inspires people to connect with this inheritance by participating in its defining activities, not just observing others' performances. You are warmly invited to participate.
The San Geronimo Valley Community Center has been serving the people of the San Geronimo Valley, in western Marin County, since 1969. Our goal is to foster a strong community by focusing on human services, cultural enrichment, and educational programs that support the well-being of San Geronimo Valley residents and residents of surrounding communities. The Center is a focal point in the Valley for arts, human services and community affairs. It has become a central gathering and meeting place for the community. Our visual, literary and performing arts programs provide outstanding cultural opportunities for all who live in the Valley and in the San Francisco Bay Area.