Sebastian Schulman believes that Montreal is the best place to run a Yiddish cultural organization.
Kahn, whose video of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” in Yiddish has attracted over 685,000 hits, met his bride-to-be at a Jewish museum in Berlin
Call it heresy, but New Yorker Leah Koenig is a devoted fan of the heavily seeded, sweet and petite beauty that is the Montreal bagel.
For 20 years, KlezKanada has been offering a summertime retreat for music lovers in Quebec. This year promises a new poetry program and a tribute to Sholem Aleichem on the occasion of his 100th yahrtzeit.
If, as Shelley had it, poets are the legislators of the world, then at this past year’s KlezKanada Poetry Retreat their law was music. Hosted at the large, week-long klezmer festival, the poetry was surrounded by accordionists, tsimbelists, people tapping out rhythms or tuning their violins. I was privileged to be co-teaching the retreat along with poet, scholar, and performer Adeena Karasick. It is a further privilege to introduce some of the poems, written at the retreat, to Forward readers. This kind of Jewish poetry, as it became clear throughout our sessions, doesn’t merely escape definitions. It drops words like notes into a stewing, communal, dialogical collective, quite like the one that unfolded amongst us.
This is the first part of a four-part article originally appearing in the Spring 2011 issue of Lilith Magazine.
Montreal is a city with a packed music calendar. From the Montreal International Jazz Festival to Pop Montreal to Francofolies, the city has something for every kind of fan. While Jewish bands and artists have cropped up at all of these events, until now the city has been missing its own full-fledged Jewish music festival.
Each year the KlezKanada Summer Institute, held for a week in August in the Laurentian mountains north of Montreal, reveals new surprises. This time around choreographer Steven Weintraub introduced a masquerade ball, so couples were dancing “Pas Despans” along with their bulgars and freilichs. Eight virtuoso musicians from The Other Europeans project, which examines Jewish and Roma musical relationships, put on a concert and taught some wonderful classes. And Hankus Netsky, founder of Boston’s Klezmer Conservatory Band, continued the summer collaboration between Klezkanada and the Discovery Project of the National Yiddish Book Center.