Ashkenaz and Yiddish Summer Weimar mark this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day with a very special performance by the first ‘supergroup’ of the Klezmer Revival. At the heart of Brave Old World’s “Song of the Lodz Ghetto” (“Duz gezang fin geto Lodzh”) are rare songs of protest and satire performed in the streets of Poland’s Lodz Ghetto between 1940 and 1944, part of an oral legacy that was preserved by ethnomusicologist Gila Flam in the late 1980’s. But this program is far more than simply historical reproduction. With a repertoire spanning pre-WWII Europe, the Holocaust and our own time, “Song of the Lodz Ghetto” links the past and the present in a profound performative collage, theatrically synthesizing traditional Jewish folk with the compositional sophistication of classical music and the idiomatic spontaneity of jazz. This poignant program is as fresh and moving today as it was when this performance was captured at Harbourfront Centre’s Fleck Theatre as part of the 1999 Ashkenaz Festival in Toronto.
Join us again on Wednesday February 3, 2pm, for a Brave Old World virtual reunion. Bandmembers Michael Alpert, Alan Bern, Kurt Bjorling and Stuart Brotman will reflect on this program, the group’s broader legacy, and the current state of the New Jewish Music scene. This presentation will also include additional never-before-seen live footage of the group from past Ashkenaz Festivals.