235 Queens Quay West (at Lower Simcoe)
Toronto, Ontario M5J 2G8

Examining Yiddish and Jewish culture!!

The 7th annual Biennial Ashkenaz Festival takes place at Harbourfront Centre as part of the World Routes Series.

The Festival celebrates Yiddish and Jewish culture through music, dance, food, art, film, literature and theatre. In fact it is one of the world’s largest Yiddish festivals with approximately 50-75 groups performing with artists from more than 12 different countries.

Musical highlights include the Jewish funk group Abraham Inc. (featuring Fred Wesley, David Krakauer, and Socalled); Argentinian Yiddish Tango diva Zully Goldfarb; legendary mandolinist/clarinetist Andy Statman; Ukrainian brass band Konsonans Retro; Kosher Gospel with Joshua Nelson; Russian Klezmer garage band Nayekhovichi; Sephardic Jewish music with Pharaoh's Daughter, Flory Jagoda and Spain's Mashala and from Canada, jazz pianist Marilyn Lerner, Ken Whiteley & David Wall, Theresa Tova, Shtreiml, Beyond the Pale, Michael Wex, Allen Merovitz, Sisters of Sheynville and many more.

Film highlights include Mira Jedwabnik Van Doren’s The World Was Ours that looks at the history of Vilna, a unique community that prospered while living in squalor. Rina Papish’s Ladino: 500 Years Young examines the Ladino language. Kinky Friedman’s Proud to be an Asshole is a festival favourite. There are also short films, animation pieces and more festival favourites.

Adding to this great line-up of musicians and wonderful films the festival also features theatre, visual arts, and literature, along with family programming, interactive music and dance workshops. On Labour Day the renowned Ashkenaz Parade brings communities together with music, dance, massive puppets, stilt-walkers and features the Shadowland Theatre. This parade is well-known for its entertainment value and grows in size every year.

Founded in 1995, the Ashkenaz Festival has been around for many years and is put on by the Ashkenaz Foundation, a non-profit organization which teaches people about Yiddish and Jewish culture. This year new management is taking over and as a result the festival will hold a “Bar Mitzvah” to celebrate their first time organizing the event.

Official Website: http://www.harbourfrontcentre.com/worldroutes/festivals.cfm?festival_id=21

Added by K-WM on August 27, 2008

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