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Seattle Yiddish Fest

February 1, 2019 - February 3, 2019

3 days of jams, concerts, and workshops in Yiddish song, dance and klezmer music.

Bringing the world’s leading performers and instructors of Yiddish music to Seattle, Seattle Yiddish Fest is an intensive workshop in the vocal and instrumental music of Eastern European Jewish culture, and the language and dance that go with them. Open to everyone, regardless of experience, religion or anything else, this workshop will cover a lot of ground in a short time, offering the beginner a crash course in this rich culture, or for the advanced player a chance to really understand the subtleties of this culture and find new areas for growth.

Throughout the weekend we will split up into various groups: singers and instrumentalists, melody players and rhythm section, beginner and advanced, etc. There will be workshops in specific styles, rhythms, genres as well as an overview of the history and variety of Yiddish expressive arts, plenty of time for jamming, and a final concert and dance event featuring the band Lebedik, led by the workshop’s directors, Sasha Lurje and Craig Judelman (more info below).

The goal of the workshop is to spread familiarity with this rich musical culture, to establish a context for it and to grow the community in the pacific northwest. We are grateful to have four of the worlds leading musicians in the genre as our faculty which will allow us to adapt to the needs of the participants and make sure that we provide valuable instruction to each and every student. You can find a rough schedule for the workshop and more info about the faculty on our website, but be advised we will adjust the schedule based on how things go.

There is also info on registration, fees, and more. We want this to be accessible to all who are interested so we have a few levels of fees, and if you need more of a scholarship please just write to us at and we will happily work out a scholarship or volunteering arrangement. No one will be turned away!

About the faculty:

The vocal program will be led by Sasha Lurje (Latvia), one of the world’s most sought after performers and teachers of Yiddish song. Sasha specializes in the lyric song and ballad tradition that is barely known today, and is equally known for her tremendous voice and ability to sing everything from Yiddish cabaret and art songs to religious niggunim and folk songs.

The instrumental program will be led by Ilya Shneyveys, Mark Rubin and Craig Judelman, each an important member of the contemporary Klezmer scene. Ilya Shneyveys (Latvia) is Sasha’s longtime collaborator in their Yiddish prog ?? rock band Forshpil as well as on the organizational team at Yiddish Summer Weimar, and whether its teaching, researching, arranging, composing or innovating, Ilya is a treasure of traditional Yiddish Music and one of the great creative minds developing it. Mark Rubin is well known in the Jewish music world for his work with Frank London’s Klezmer Brass All-Stars, The Other Europeans, and Andy Statman, as well as two decades on faculty at KlezKamp and a featured performer at Toronto’s Ashkenaz Festival. Craig Judelman has taught and performed at many Yiddish music festivals around the world and is devoted to the older styles of Yiddish fiddling, understanding the cultures and music’s of its surrounding cultures, and the evolution of musical culture today.

About the band Lebedik who will perform Sunday Feb 3 at 7:30 pm, and are the band in residence for the festival:

Lebedik! is the story of songs told in songs, a journey from Eastern Europe to the theaters of New York City’s lower east side. This collaboration between celebrated Latvian singer Sasha Lurje and American violinist Craig Judelman explores the songs of their homelands, the journeys of the songs and their singers, and their evolution from raw folk art to the sophisticated and diverse recordings made in 1920’s New York. For this tour they are joined by longtime collaborators, accordionist Ilya Shneyveys and bassist Mark Rubin.


Friday Shabbes Tish/song session
On Friday we will start the workshop with a bit of playing and dancing. We are still finalising the plan but the idea is to have a potluck dinner at the venue during which we will also lead a roundtable discussion on the history of Yiddish culture and music, followed by a song session led by Sasha Lurje, which will undoubtedly turn into some kind of jam. This event will include a short blessing of the wine and some traditional elements of the sabbath table, but we are trying very much to make it something that is inclusive for all people as the event is a celebration of Yidish culture, not the Jewish faith (of course the two aren’t mutually exclusive, but neither are they by any means synonymous!)

Saturday Jam

At the end of the day on Saturday we will have a big jam session, where faculty and students will all have a chance to lead tunes, and hopefully do some dancing and singing as well. This event will be open to the public as well as workshop participants so feel free to invite friends. We will try to keep the music within the Yiddish realm and hopefully use the things learned in the workshop to play in a way that reflects core stylistic principles of Yiddish music, but we hope that this can be a chance to share with our larger community the things we work on during the day.

Sunday Concert and Dance

The workshop ends with a concert by the Berlin based band Lebedik. They will perform a variety of Yiddish song, tracing its evolution from folk songs and ballads of the Yiddish home in eastern Europe, to the stages of cabaret theaters and finally the wonderful amalgamation of all those things plus cantorial and American pop music that is their namesake, Aaron Lebedeff (most famous for his Magnum Opus ‘Roumania’). Lebedik will play for an hour and change, and then we’ll clear the floors and Sasha Lurje will lead some traditional Yiddish dancing to end the festival. Admission to the Sunday Concert is included in the festival weekend pass, or tickets can be bought separately at the door, for which we encourage you to make a reservation by emailing us at the address below).

More info at:
Please write to with any questions or to find out how you can help make it happen!SeaSeS


February 1, 2019
February 3, 2019
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Seattle Yiddish Fest
1406 E. Pike St
Seattle, WA 98122 United States