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See the Line Up for Tarbut Festival of Jewish Culture 2015 November 14 - 22, 2015 Rady JCC

by Jane Enkin, October 19, 2015




The opening event of the Rady JJC's Tarbut Festival of Jewish Culture 2015 is the concert Ron Paley presents: A Tribute to Neil, Billy, Barry and Bette-Sat. Nov 14, 8:00 p.m.


Winnipeg treasure Ron Paley will lead Julian Bradford on bass and Rob Siwik on drums, as Lisa Bell, Curtis Newton and Keith Macpherson sing the songs of Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, Billy Joel, Barry Manilow, Bette Midler and more. Expect terrific jazz arrangements of well-known and well-loved tunes. This will be a fun salute to famous Jewish pop stars, part of Tarbut's successful series of tribute concerts.


From Israel, the band Baladino brings their program Ladino Music of Spain-Nov 19, 7:30 p.m.


Baladino makes music deeply rooted in traditional folk music from the Mediterranean. Ancient instruments, intricate hand-drumming and highly ornamented vocals are supported by Western instruments, both acoustic and electric – plus an unusual wind instrument that I hope makes an appearance here, a contraption that looks like some long pipes tied together and sounds like a cross between a flute and a didgeridoo. I really appreciate the powerful connection they maintain to the folk origins of their material, and their infectiously light-hearted, celebratory approach. I love the samples I heard online – this group looks and sounds terrific. Not to be missed.



New York band Pharaoh's Daughter takes a more eclectic approach to folk music.-Sat. Nov 21, 8:00 p.m.


Leader Basya Schechter blends world music rhythms and harmonies to make her own energetic, delicate sound, with spiritual lyrics in Hebrew, Aramaic, Ladino, Yiddish and English. See my interview with her in this issue of WJR.




American author Nomi Eve will speak about her novel Henna House. Wed. Nov 18



Presented as a work of historical fiction, this novel is more significantly a work of cultural fiction, with fascinating details about life in a small town “a day's ride” from a city in Yemen. Clothing, food, magical amulets and stories are all described. There are betrothals, weddings, births and deaths. And of course the role of henna painting in women's lives is explored.


The story begins in the 1920s, and follows Adela as she grows up in her village, as her family eventually leaves their home, and finally as they arrive in the new country of Israel. Her village childhood is not romanticized. The chores she does for her hostile mother and the tasks she does for her loving father in his shoemaker's shop are physically demanding. Her mother and brothers beat her and mistreat her in ways that are presented as simply typical. And most importantly, the non-Jewish government imposes harsh and degrading laws on Jews. From the age of five, Adela has strong reasons to fear the Confiscator, the man with the job of taking any Jewish child who loses their father; these children are taken from the community immediately and converted to Islam.


Intricate family relationships are at the heart of the book, and there are romantic love stories as well. Eve's language is vivid, with occasional slides into dreams and, at least from the perspective of a child, the imagery of magical realism. “In front of my eyes, the shoes grew tails, ears and whiskers, turning into rats that the Confiscator could feed to the snakes on his knife.” The beautiful language, the intriguing cultural details, and the tender portraits of Adela and the people she loves make Henna House an appealing book.


David Matas will speak about his book Why Did You Do That? The Autobiography of a Human Rights Advocate. Sunday Nov 22 11:00 a.m.

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