The inaugural Polyphonic Ground Presents concert and 16th Annual Small World Music Festival launch! Ashkenaz Festival and Small World Music stage a night of Balkan voices, Middle-Eastern/Appalachian fusion and Algerian grooves. The women who make up Turkwaz share passion and expertise that brings to fervent life the ancient songs of Greece, Turkey, the Middle East. Sandcatchers are nothing if not eclectic, bridging NYC jazz sensibility to Middle-Eastern, Jewish and American roots, while GROOZ lays Algerian Raï on top of funky reggae and more for a rousing dance floor vibe.
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Grooz “Groove & Jazz,” an agent of both the Gnawa tradition and occidental instrumentation, Grooz takes the audience on a journey that isn’t soon forgotten. Singer songwriter Abdelhak Benmedjebari provides a unique perspective through vocals and bass guitar, inspired by his experience performing with his father “Maalem Mejbar” and uncles from the “Gaada Diwan Bechar” group. Grooz brings you to a realm where Jazz, Rock, Reggae and Blues are fused with traditional repertoire.
New York-based quartet Sandcatchers was formed by guitarist and oud player, Yoshie Fruchter, in the corner at Cheryl’s, a soul food restaurant in Brooklyn. Given the opportunity for a weekly gig, Fruchter invited his friends, Canadians Myk Freedman (lap steel) and Michael Bates (double bass) to see what kind of music they could make together. Over the course of many weeks, a fresh sound emerged, a blend of the Middle Eastern trope of the oud with the dreamy, Americana-infused textures of the lap steel… a new project was born. With percussionist Tim Keiper, and featuring original music by Fruchter inspired both by “maqam” and the Appalachian trail, Sandcatchers is a beautiful collaboration of sound and souls.
United by long standing friendships and a love of singing, Maryem Tollar, Sophia Grigoriadis and Jayne Brown join forces to celebrate the stories of life through song. Their curiosity and insatiable thirst for musical experience has led to explorations of song traditions from the Middle East and Turkey to Greece and the Balkans. Apart, they have been collecting, performing and recording traditional repertoire – both as solo artists and as members of numerous bands – for over 30 years, lending their voices to films, theatrical productions and multiple Juno-nominated recordings. As the recently formed Nazar-i Turkwaz, they have been sharing and exploring this repertoire, creating their own adaptations and cultivating a sweet sonic union that is unstoppable.