Europe’s travelling troubadour of Yiddish culture, internationally acclaimed, Bente Kahan returns to Melbourne in December for a short season of storytelling and song in two distinctly different events with two of Melbourne’s icons of Yiddish life, Arnold Zable and YID!.
A diva of Jewish music, Bente Kahan leads the Centre for Jewish Culture and Education in the White Stork Synagogue in Wrocław, Poland, where she collaborates with Polish and European artists in musical and theatrical productions which focus on tolerance and diversity.
On Thursday 5th December, Bente Kahan will appear with award winning author and story-teller Arnold Zable in an evening of story, song and politics. They will spark off each other to trade tales and songs about writers, poets and ideas that inspire them to keep writing and fighting for justice and their concern at the rise of right wing populism, both here and abroad. They’ll delve into the rich and often hidden culture of Yiddish poets, troubadours and cabaret performers and shine a light on modern activists, like WWII Warsaw Ghetto fighter, Marek Edelman. A theatrical performance, as much as a conversation between two great proponents of Yiddish culture, the evening promises to both entertain and inform.
On Sunday 8th December, Bente Kahan will join Melbourne’s own YID!, the much loved funk/indie/folk/free jazz/spoken/world/Balkan/swing/ethnic/Klezmer/avant garde/big band group of 22 of Melbourne’s finest musicians that burst onto the world stage just two years ago. Still making it up as they go, the band is constantly adding to its repertoire of Yiddish drinking songs and at this concert – their last for 2019 – they will be launching three new songs, two of which will be sung by the Zygier sisters. You’ll hear beautiful harmonies, pounding grooves, frenetic solos and untamed soundscapes, all translated into supertitles, to make them accessible to everyone, Yiddish speaker, or not.
Yiddish is enjoying a renaissance amongst non-Jews and Jews alike in Europe, north America and Australia. The language of central and eastern European Jews for one thousand years before the holocaust, its melodic fusion of German, ancient Hebrew and various Slavic and Romantic languages now features in contemporary theatre and music productions across the western world. Artists like Bente Kahan, Arnold Zable, YID! and others are leading the revival.