Ashkenaz at Tastes of the Hill

Ashkenaz @ Tastes of the Hill Festival
August 25, 2013, 4-7pm – FREE
Richmond Green Park, 1300 Elgin Mills Rd. East

As Toronto’s Jewish community sprawls ever-northward into Richmond Hill and Vaughan, Ashkenaz is developing a long-term strategy to establish an ongoing presence in this dynamic region of the GTA. As the first initiative of this effort, Ashkenaz will offer an afternoon of music programming as part of Richmond Hill’s multicultural food festival, Tastes of the Hill. Now in its fourth year, this free outdoor event offers a cornucopia of culinary delights from area restaurants, along with complimentary music, dance and family programming. Drawing a multicultural audience, the event provides an ideal opportunity for Ashkenaz to bring its programming to an area of the GTA that remains underserved in the arts/culture realm. Ashkenaz is pleased to present three musical performances, providing the Richmond Hill community with a ‘taste’ of its own signature downtown festival. Featured artists include:

4pm – Jaffa Road
Toronto’s Jaffa Road is an award-winning world music group made up of some of Canada’s most exciting and innovative interpreters of inter-cultural music. The group has created a unique sonic landscape that  draws easily and organically from the worlds of sacred and secular Jewish songs, Arabic and Indian music, modern jazz, rock, and dub. In doing so the group creates a union between acoustic and electronic, secular and sacred, ancient and modern. Each of the group’s two CD releases has been nominated for a Juno award, and their song “LYG” took Grand Prize in the John Lennon Song Writing contest. The group has toured widely across Canada, including theatres, jazz and folk music festivals, and general music and arts festivals. Jaffa Road features Aviva Chernick (vocals), Aaron Lightstone (guitar, oud), Chris Gartner (bass), Sundar Viswanathan (sax, flute) and Jeff Wilson (percussion).

5pm – Yiddish Swingtet with Mitch Smolkin
The Yiddish Swingtet infuses the heartfelt emotion of Eastern European Klezmer music with the cool grooves of American swing. Klezmer clarinetist Jonno Lightstone combines forces with stride pianist Jordan Klapman and jazz guitarist Tony Quarrington to explore classic tunes from the golden age of swing, hits from the Yiddish theatre, and “heymishe” down-home klezmer music. From the gypsy jazz of Django Reinhardt to the Jewish jazz of Sammy Musiker, the Yiddish Swingtet takes you on a cross-cultural musical journey that you will want to take again and again. At Tastes of the Hill they will be joined by guest vocalist Mitch Smolkin, one of Canada’s most accomplished and beloved interpreters of Yiddish music.

6pm – Lemon Bucket Orkestra
From Toronto to New York, Budapest to Berlin, audiences around the world are hailing the Lemon Bucket Orkestra as folk music revolutionaries. Self-described as a “balkan-Klezmer-Gypsy-party-punk” band, the group has grown since its birth three years ago from its initial quartet of buskers to a fifteen-piece guerrilla folk force with an army of grass roots followers and mainstream fans at home and abroad. Those discovering the band for the first time quickly realize that their shows are more than concerts: they’re wild, joyful experiences rarely contained by four walls; they’re celebrations of tradition and culture expressed with an explosive punk spirit; they’re ecstatic street parades that erupt from the collision of nostalgia and imagination. The group’s explosive take on Ukrainian, ex-Yugoslavian, Romani and other east European traditional styles, combined with their desire to play anywhere and everywhere (including airplanes and subway cars!) has earned them the reputation as Toronto’s liveliest and most irreverent party band.

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