Jewish Music Festival 2012 in Amsterdam

October 10-14, 2012 in Amsterdam
Tickets now on sale!

In six weeks time the International Jewish Music Festival 2012 will
start. Mames Babegenush and Gerard Edery will kick off the event on
Wednesday 10th October with an opening concert in the Portugese
Synagoge. On Thursday and Friday in the Compagnietheater,
more than 100 musicians from 14 countries will try and secure their
place in the finals on Saturday. On Sunday it’s your turn! Take
your pick from six workshops on offer or visit the Jewish cultural
market. A winners’ concert and jam session concludes the

IJMF 2012: Who? What? Where? When?
Opening concert:
Wednesday October 10, 7:30 pm

Preliminary competition rounds:
Thursday October 11 & Friday October 12, from 10 am till 10 pm

Finale and Prize Ceremony:
Saturday October 13, 7:45 pm

Workshops, Open Podium, Cultural Marketplace & Winners’ Concert:
Sunday October 14, from 10 am till 6 pm

The opening concert will be in the Portuguese Synagogue. All other
events are in the Compagnietheater (Kloveniersburgwal 50, near
Nieuwmarkt and the Dam).

Information & Tickets:

Proudly presenting… the musicians!
For the selection committee it was a hot and busy summer. But their
efforts have paid off! We proudly present the selected ensembles.
They share an unprecedented quality and the passion for Jewish music,
and the diversity of styles is simply dazzling. From ancient music
from Andalusia to hardcore klezmer from Israel, from party music from
the United States to moving Ladino songs from the Iberian Peninsula.
In this newsletter, we introduce the first eight ensembles. In the
coming weeks, the rest of the ensembles will follow. For more
information and audio samples, click on the ensemble’s photo or visit .

half the participants come from Israel. A colorful mix of
instrumentalists and vocalists show that in Israel east meets west
and tradition and innovation go hand in hand. The band Alila, formed
around violinist Yanki Schon, combines traditional instruments like
oud with the modern bass guitar.

Sometimes full of excitement, sometimes intimate, traditional
melodies grow into a feast of contemporary improvisation. Together,
Itamar Erez and Yshai Afterman form Duets. With just a guitar and
some percussion instruments they create the illusion of a complete

Mor Karbasi from Jerusalem feels very much at home in this
musical melting pot. She inherited the Moroccan Ladino tradition and
language from her mother, who also writes texts for her daughter.

young French singer Miléna Kartowski brings her Hassidish
Project to Amsterdam, a rare connection between the classical Yiddish
repertoire and contemporary jazz.
Probably you associate the clarinet and violin with Jewish music, but
in fact, it can be played on any instrument. However, a brass quintet
is not the first ensemble that springs to mind. True, the Israel
Brass Quintet plays fugues by Bach and songs by Duke Ellington, but
the set they bring to Amsterdam will no doubt push the buttons of
Jewish music lovers.

Israeli percussion virtuoso Chen Zimbalista will definitely surprise
you with his Zimba Ensemble: he plays over 40 instruments all by
himself. He already performed Bach on his marimba, so why not Jewish

viol is another instrument that is not often played in Jewish
music. Duo Cancionero brings ancient Sephardic music from Spain to
life with exactly this instrument.
Spanish ensemble Capella de Ministrers also looks back at this
period with a lot of attention to authenticity, but also with a
strong drive to communicate with their audience.

Opening concert by candlelight
This year’s opening concert will be held in the recently restored
fairy-tale ambience of the Portuguese Synagoge in Amsterdam on
Wednesday evening, 10th October. The Danish group Mames Babegenush
and the internationally renowned singer/guitarist Gerard Edery will
present a sparkling introduction to the diversity of Jewish music.
Gerard Edery was hailed by the New York Times as the ‘master of
Sephardic song’ and received the Sephardic Musical Heritage Award.
Mames Babegenush stole the hearts of the audience at the 2010
International Jewish Music Festival. The six-member Danish
‘boyband’ specializes in Eastern European dance music and gaining
success internationally with their exciting shows.

Jury close-up: Gerard Edery
This year, Gerard Edery will also participate in the festival’s
jury. Born in Casablanca into a Spanish-Moroccan-Jewish family, Edery
considers the Sephardic music tradition to be an important part of
his personal identity. In the preface to his first album with
Sephardic songs, he wrote: ‘Remembering and reconnecting to one’s
“own country” is a powerful human need. You find that your
deepest voice can harmonize with other voices that share something of
your past, something of your cultural soil. Having spent over 10
years performing opera with companies throughout the United States,
it has given me a special pleasure to immerse myself in the music of
my ancestors. I have embraced this oral tradition and have added my
own compositions to it. It has been a magical gift in my life.”

Our colleagues at WOMEX are telling everyone about our International
Jewish Music Competition, so we thought we’d return the favor. Many
scouts and contestants at IJMF 2012 will leave for Thessaloniki right
after our festival to attend the World Music Expo (WOMEX) from
October 17-20. It’s the leading international professional market of
world music and brings together professionals from the worlds of
folk, roots, ethnic and traditional music. With concerts, conferences
and documentary films, it contributes to networking as an effective
means of promoting music and culture of all kinds across frontiers.
They expect to welcome over two thousand delegates from more than 90
countries with sixty groups performing on six stages.