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For "the big picture," see Schedule.
For more about individual teachers, see Teachers.
Participants will play simplified versions of klezmer tunes using written music.
Klezmer jam for intermediate and advanced instrumentalists.
Learn about and practice playing klezmer. This workshop is for those who can play their instrument but have little or no experience playing klezmer.
Learn the elements of klezmer style for melody instruments, including rhythmic flexibility, energy flow, ornamental styles, and fills.
Learn the elements of klezmer style for accompaniment, including creating klezmer grooves, nuances of accompaniment patterns, beat manipulation, and integration of the melody into the rhythmic foundation.
Discuss and practice strategies and techniques of composition of new Jewish musics and improvisation based upon (but not limited to) Ashkenazic music styles -- klezmer, nigunim, cantorial, Yiddish song, etc. Given the time limitations, we will compose and improvise new material during the workshop periods and also try and study, analyze, and critique participants' compositions. Bring instruments, something to compose on, and samples of your work if possible.
Learn some easy klezmer tunes by ear and a little theory. Sheet music will be provided at the end for participants to take home.
Musicians will be assigned to one of these two ensembles at the end of the morning technique workshops.
Based on -- but moving beyond -- the master class model of play-and-critique, this class will develop exercises for all who will to participate. Individuals and bands may sign up and prepare something to perform: something you love, something you're proud of, or something you're just working on. Christian will use each performance to generate an active, in-depth discussion, inspection and exploration of Yiddish music. Then everyone with an instrument will try out the point made, whether they performed or not. If you would like to perform (which is not required to attend this class), email masterclass[at]klezcalifornia.org with subject “Dawid Master Class,” saying who would perform and, if a group, the group’s name.
We will explore the modes, the harmonies and the vast modulation possibilities in klezmer music. In this class, which will be part theory, part playing, part ear training and part exploration, participants will learn to identify and play simple and complex patterns found in klezmer music. Bring your instruments.
This workshop, expressly for musicians, will teach you what dancers need. Half the group will dance while others play for them, then those who danced with play while those who played will dance.
Bands and individuals will present a piece for comment and suggestions by Frank, Cookie and Stu. If you would like to participate, email masterclass[at]klezcalifornia.org with subject “LSB Master Class.” Describe who would like to perform. If a group, give the group’s name.
Learn about the interaction among the musics and musicians of these cultures. Long after their historic collaborations in Eastern Europe, Jewish and Roma musicians today are mainly connected through the myths and cliches of the World Music Market. Nothing wrong with Kosher Balkan Beats! But what is this soup really made of? What are the similarities and what are the differences between Klezmer and Gypsy styles? This is a participatory workshop. We will play, listen and discuss, with sheet music provided. Listeners are welcome.
Zmires are poems sung during meals on Shabbes around the world. In this workshop, learn to sing some of the exquisite, fun and table-banging melodies for these beautiful texts.
A historical overview of Yiddish song from the early 19th century to the present. Nigunim and the effect of nigunim and khazones (cantorial singing) on songs; folk songs and folkshtimlikhe lider; art songs and theatre songs. Illustrated with recorded selections. Handouts and the opportunity to sing one or two songs.
Roes are red, violets are blue, kumt un zingt iber libe dertzu! Yiddish songs describe many beautiful, romantic and sometimes challenging experiences of love. Come, learn and sing your heart.
Take a stroll down a cobblestoned street, peer through the window of a strange house, take flight with bees and angels, and discover new worlds in lesser-known Yiddish songs.
What began as local organizing efforts in Poland and Russia continued in the U.S. as immigrant workers quickly learned that labor in the New World needed unions, too. You will learn songs from both sides of the ocean which chronicle this struggle for better pay and conditions in the workplace.
Individuals and groups of singers will present a piece for comment and suggestions. Eleanor's focus will be on enhancing self-expression and communication. Her interest is in connecting the singer with the song, examining the song lyrically and musically, finding the singer's points of connection, and transmitting those connections to an audience. If you would like to participate, email masterclass[at]klezcalifornia.org with subject “Master Class for Singers.” Describe who would like to perform. If a group, give the group’s name. If you would like Sharon Bernstein to accompany you, bring charts.
Learn the Jewish wedding dances traditionally done to klezmer music: freylekhs, shers, bulgars, and others. These line, circle and partner dances can enliven any simkhe.
Ever wonder how to get people to get up and start dancing? And to follow your lead? Steve will show you how.
How klezmer music has become the object of a revival that is disconnected from Jewish life, or re-purposed within Jewish life to serve very different goals than those traditionally served by “Eastern European Jewish instrumental music” (the usual definition of klezmer), and the implications for musical culture in general (music market, broadcasting, music knowledge, etc.) and for Jewish life itself. Discussion of the music "scenes" in Italy, France, Germany, Lithuania, and Israel, and more broadly the musical exchanges between Jews and non-Jews. This topic links to the history of Jewish musical revivals, before (and beyond) klezmer music and Yiddish song, going all the way back to mid-nineteenth century Europe.
Traveling from gentile parodies of Jews at the turn of the century to Mickey Katz's parodies of gentile culture in the 1940s, this workshop will trace the Jewish presence in commercial recordings during the first half of the twentieth century. Listening to a variety of music produced by both Jews and non-Jews, we will consider how the changing sounds reflect the social and musical interaction of Jewish and American cultures.
A showing of this classic, 1939 Yiddish film followed by discussion of its portrayal of Jews, their Ukrainian neighbors and intermarriage in the turbulent years before World War II.
Yiddish continues to play a significant role in contemporary Hasidic communities. Mame-loshn (Yiddish) and loshn-koydesh (Hebrew) coexist with Hasidic English, which has emerged as a new Jewish language. Ken Blady, who grew up in a Hasidic family, will distribute a Glossary of Hasidic Terms and explain some basic concepts such as shrayim, pidyoinis, kvitl, kashketl, and gartl; talk about the regional differences between those who wear shtraymlekh and those who wear spudiks, and discuss Yiddish within the Hasidish world. Zachary Baker will show how Yiddish has become a factor in the consumer marketplace, with a proliferation of glossy magazines. He will discuss Hasidic publications in Yiddish and recent findings by ethnographers and historians.
We will read a few self-authored epitaphs/poems, including Sholem Aleichem's and Anna Margolin's, exploring the Yiddish practice of composing one's own epitaph as a distinctive genre. Texts will be available in both Yiddish and English translation, along with photos of the inscribed gravestones.
We will read one of Sholem Aleichem's short "Monologn" in Yiddish and English translation, and consider why these texts -- with their famously irritating narrators -- appealed to readers.
For many contemporary Jews, the story of their (lack of) Yiddish is, “My parents (or grandparents) spoke Yiddish but didn’t teach it to me,” but in fact many of us did grow up with (some) Yiddish, whether learned in families and communities, kheder (religious school), secular Yiddish schools, or college. Each panel member will speak about where he or she learned Yiddish and what they’ve done with it since, answer questions, and encourage discussion.
Throughout its thousand-year history, Yiddish has been enriched by elements of ancient, medieval, and modern languages, thanks to the widespread geographical distribution of its speakers and readers. Most Yiddish texts up to the mid-nineteenth century were religious, but Yiddish literature then started moving quickly into the modern world. Fiction, drama, and poetry flourished, mainly in Europe. In the twentieth century, avant-garde poets, many of them women, were influenced by international literary trends and wrote in Europe and the United States. Yael will survey Yiddish literature from its origins to modern times.
In this informal lecture, supplemented with DVD documentary, Ken will portray Jewish life in Eastern Europe, specifically Greater Poland (which included Lithuania and Ukraine) up to the mass migration to New Worlds in the late 19th century. Topics will include origins theories of the Ashkenazim and the Khazar thesis; development of the Yiddish language and the difference between a shtut, shtetl and derfl; chafing under the czar in the Pale of Settlement; and "Was there a Russian Jewry before 1917?"
Learn how to say a variety of interesting expressions in Yiddish. Learn Yiddish expressions you can use every day in the English-speaking world!
How do you say “computer” in Yiddish? What about “mortgage?” We will use vocabulary from the contemporary world in order to learn (or review) basic Yiddish expressions and grammar and look at what's available about and in Yiddish on the web. If you love the music, the food and the people, maybe it's time to learn the language!
On Sunday, Eleanor will lead participants through a variety of fun theatre games and exercises in order to get comfortable and more fluid and fluent. On Monday, the group will read through scenes from several Jewish-themed plays and have an opportunity to work on creating roles. The two days combine physical acting with text analysis.
Audio and video clips of the two "golden ages" of Yiddish theatre from the fifty year period from its beginnings in Romania to New York's Second Avenue. The contributions of Yiddish theatre to literature, politics, the labor movement, and religion. The roots of current Yiddish performing arts ("show business," high and low) in Yiddish theatre.
Stories, language, Yiddish singing. Yiddish dance with Julie Egger.
The Youth Program during this time period will consist of several arts & crafts projects. You don't need to be or have a child; people of all ages are welcome to participate.
Sunday: Papercutting for All Ages: Come learn the Jewish folk art of papercutting. The amazing thing about papercutting is that you can create beautiful art work even if you don't know how to draw or "can't draw a straight line." In this class, we will cut with scissors and/or x-acto knives (for those older than ten). We will learn to make royslekh (circular or rose-shaped paper window decorations for the holiday of Shevuos. Royslekh are folded so that one snip with scissors creates a mogn dovid in the center. Then we will delve into micrography, the Jewish folk art of creating pictures or patterns entirely of tiny words.
Monday: Hamsa Amulets for All Ages: We will create hamsas (hand-shaped amulets) out of thick metal foil. These foil hamsas can be embossed with a pencil, embellished with beads and then hung on a wall. Although amulets are part of Eastern European Jewish folklore, the hamsa shape comes to us from Middle Eastern Jewish tradition. Claire will have available other crafts materials for participants who finish early.
Stories, language, Yiddish singing.
If enough youth (ages 6-12) attend the Festival who are not ready to participate in any of the (regular) ensembles, we will have a Kids' Klezmer Ensemble. When you register, please indicate the child’s age, instrument, and number of years’ playing.