The Ashkenaz Festival, North America’s premier festival of international Jewish music and culture, returns to Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre with its 10th biennial event this summer. Celebrating a wide range of Jewish creativity and artistry, from traditional styles to cross-cultural fusion, the week-long festival runs Aug. 26 to Sept. 1. Featuring artists from across the globe, the Festival’s programming includes music, film, theatre, cabaret, dance, literature, panel discussions, crafts and visual arts – with the majority of events offered free to the public.
This year’s international headliners include Jewish-Afrobeat pioneers Zion80 (New York), Yiddish psychedelic rockers Forshpil (Russia/Germany), genre-busting DJ Simja Dujov (Argentina), Iraqi-Jewish roots rocker Dudu Tassa (Israel), with the Canadian premieres of the racy Yiddish folk-opera Lilith, The Night Demon in One Lewd Act and the multimedia tour de force The Sarajevo Haggadah: Music of the Book. Canada is also well-represented, with local heroes and guerrilla-folk insurgents Lemon Bucket Orkestra, JUNO-award winning David Buchbinder’s Odessa/Havana, Vancouver klezmer-punk upstart Geoff Berner, Quebec fiddling femme fatale Briga, and Jaffa Road’s Aviva Chernick in her stunning new solo project.