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The Warsaw Voice » Stage & Screen » July 29, 2011
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Eighth Singer’s Warsaw Festival
July 29, 2011   
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This year’s eighth Singer’s Warsaw Festival of Jewish Culture Aug. 27-Sept. 4 will feature a select group of top-notch musicians from Poland and abroad. During the nine festival days, they will play and sing works combining traditional klezmer music with all kinds of international inspirations.

The festival will open with a concert by Joseph Malovany, one of the greatest contemporary cantors, accompanied by the choir of the Pod Białym Bocianem Synagogue in Wrocław. The concert will take place on Sunday, Aug. 28, at the Nożyk Synagogue on Twarda Street. Malovany has for over three decades been the cantor of the Fifth Avenue Synagogue in New York. His phenomenal spinto tenor voice and over a dozen albums released to date have earned him the nickname “Pavarotti of the Synagogue.”

For several years, guests invited to perform at the Singer’s Warsaw Festival have included well-known Polish performers who draw inspiration from Jewish music. This year, Jewish songs will be sung by vocalist Anna Maria Jopek, who will give a guest performance with the Kroke klezmer band Aug. 30 at the Jewish Theater.

One of the festival’s main events will be a ceremonial concert which the Opole Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Bogusław Dawidow, will play on Sept. 1 at 7 p.m. at the All Saints’ Church on Grzybowski Square in Warsaw. The orchestra will play the Fifth Symphony in C Minor op. 67 by Ludwig van Beethoven and a music piece based on Stempenyu, a novel by Sholem Aleichem telling a romantic story of love, betrayal, loyalty, human weaknesses and the strength they draw from tradition. Stempenyu will be narrated by leading Polish actor Zbigniew Zamachowski.

Noteworthy performances by festival guests from abroad will include The Night in the Old Market Place, a klezmer opera and inventive show that combines unique music with avant-garde visual effects. The opera was co-written by Frank London, a New York-based trumpeter, conductor and composer whose Wonder Wheel album has won a Grammy Award in the Contemporary World Music category. London will also perform in the show in Warsaw, sharing the stage with some of the world’s finest klezmer musicians, including Aaron Alexander and Lorin Sklamberrg. Fans of London will be then able to hear him during the Night of the Klezmers, playing with the Brass All Stars group from New York and Christian David, an internationally famous clarinetist from Germany. Sept. 4, London will also take part in a concert entitled Nigunim at the Hydrozagadka club in Warsaw’s Praga district.

This year’s festival guests will also include the Ger Mandolin Ensemble from San Francisco, a group of mandolin players who have made an attempt at recreating a prewar Jewish band from Góra Kalwaria near Warsaw. Fans of songs in Yiddish will be glad to attend the My Yiddishland concert by Ben Zimet, a legendary French bard of Polish descent who sings in Yiddish and French. Zimet will perform with the Yiddish Quartet and Ran Dank, an Israeli piano virtuoso. Hailed as an international star, Dank is the winner of many international competitions held all the way from Sydney to Cleveland.

Karsten Troyke, a German actor and singer fascinated by Yiddish music, will play a concert Sept. 1 at the Jewish Theater, featuring tracks from his album entitled Jiddish Tango. Troyke will be joined on stage by top German musicians Jan Hermerschmidt, Sara Bialas-Tenenberg and Trio Scho.

The eighth Singer’s Warsaw festival will mark the first Polish performances by the Sisters of Sheynvill sextet from Canada and Lorie Wolf, who will give a concert entitled Zing Shvesterlakh, Swing Sisters!

This year’s festival will also please audiences fond of vanguard Jewish culture. During a special performance concert at the Akademia Theater on 11-ego listopada Street in Praga, contemporary artists Candy, Marcin Gokieli a.k.a. King Kong, Paweł Szamburski and Paweł Zakrocki will perform their SzaZa project. Toying with musical conventions and making a grotesque use of a clarinet and violin, they seek to establish unity in contradiction and overthrow cultural stereotypes.

Back on Grzybowski Square, the Ektoplazma band, fascinated by American swing music in its most archaic form, will play an outdoor concert entitled Jewish Swing. The musicians deliver their own adaptations of works from archive recordings made by brass orchestras in the Mississippi Delta between the 1930s and 1950s.

One of the most remarkable music projects of this year’s festival will be performances by the OPA! group from St. Petersburg, Russia. The group will play their songs near the Palace of Culture and Science, on ¦więtokrzyska Street and in Praga. Other notable acts this summer will include Michał Hochman, Mendy Cahan (Israel), The All Star Fray Band (Canada), and the vanguard Daktari band.

The festival will close Sept. 4 with a finale concert entitled Tzadik’s Court on Grzybowski Square. It will be performed jointly by Lenka Lichtenberg, Frank London, Christian David, Gołda Tencer, Szymon Szurmiej and actors from the Jewish Theater.

Events of the eighth Singer’s Warsaw Festival of Jewish Culture will be taking place Aug. 27-Sept. 4 in the neighborhood of Próżna Street and, for the first time this year, in Warsaw’s Praga district.

The festival will be held under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, the mayor of Warsaw, and the ambassador of Israel. This year’s festival is part of the official agenda of the Polish presidency of the EU Council. It is organized by the Shalom Foundation which has since 1988 worked to preserve the memory of the rich heritage and culture of Polish Jews.

For further information on the festival program
and accompanying events go to www.festiwalsingera.pl
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