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Return of Klezfest

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2006-08-10



It's that time of year again, when musicians from all across the world gather in London for the annual KlezFest event, celebrating klezmer music and more. This year promises to be bigger and better than ever, with events and workshops running throughout August, so whether you're a budding musician or you just want to hear some great music, there'll be something here for you.

These are some of the highlights:

KlezFest In The Park – this annual free concert takes place in Regents Park on Sunday August 13, with live performances, Yiddish dancing, and the chance for audience members to bring their own instruments and join in.

KlezFest London – the main event runs from August 13-18 and promises a week's worth of workshops and masterclasses for both professional and amateur klezmer musicians. Among those taking part are Klezmatics founder Frank London, British musician Merlin Shepherd and the US-based klezmer band Veretski Pass. This year, as well as the chance to sharpen your musical skills, there will also be classes on developing marketing and business related knowledge, for those looking to take their klezmer career to the next level.

Jewish Song Summer School – taking place at the same time as KlezFest London, from August 13-18, this course is aimed at those hoping to brush up on their singing. Klezmer experts including Polina Shepherd and Effim Chorney will offer prospective students the chance to learn songs in both Yiddish and Ladino.

Klez In The City concerts – a trio of shows at the Spitz in East London, which kick off on August 8 with a set from Klezmer Alliance, a pan-European band featuring musicians from the UK, Germany and Eastern Europe. Klezmer Klimax, on August 16, includes music from Veretski Pass and the German klezmer band Khupe, as well as an appearance from Frank London. And finally there's a more modern spin on klezmer on August 23, with a double bill of Sway Machinery – who blend rock, blues and punk with ancient religious melodies – and Ghettoplotz, who mix dance beats with old klezmer tunes.

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