Upcoming performances at
Congregation Beth Sholom’s
Friday Night Reconnect!
What is the role of music in experiencing the sacred? Where is the boundary between the pleasure and emotion inspired by music and the joy and spiritual engagement that we encounter in prayer? Is listening a spiritual experience? How can music serve to forge powerful bonds across boundaries of identity?
Listen is a music series that will help us explore these questions in the context of a unique Friday evening service. Coming on the heels of an enormously successful first year that featured internationally acclaimed artists such as Ziek McCarter (Con Brio), Veretski Pass, Terrie Odabi, Ravid Kalahani (Yemen Blues) among others, musician and scholar Jeremiah Lockwood will continue to call upon world-renowned musicians working in diverse genres to present profound and soulful musical experiences. Listen offers an opportunity to engage in deep listening, hear virtuosic performances, and learn about music traditions—both our own Jewish traditions and those of the people we share homelands with today and in other periods in our history.
The second year of Listen will feature an exciting array of performers, leading off with powerful testimony from some of the most powerful female voices in contemporary music.
Dates for upcoming shows
September 20, 2019
October 18, 2019
November 15, 2019
December 20, 2019 (Artist TBD)
January 17, 2020
February 21, 2020
Artist: Fay Victor
Date: Friday, September 20
Fay Victor is an improvising vocalist, composer, lyricist and educator riding all the chasms and seams of musics that are improvisational and conversational in nature.
Based in Brooklyn, NY, Victor hones a unique vision for the vocalist’s role in jazz and improvised music. Victor encompasses a distinctive vocalizing language and performing approach with the foundation of the jazz vocal idiom, now encompassing an “everything is everything” aesthetic bringing in references that span the globe. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The whole legacy of Jazz is in her voice.” We are pleased to announce that Fay Victor will also appear as a special guest in the Kol Nidre service series curator Jeremiah Lockwood leads this year at Congregation Beth Sholom!
Artist: True Life Trio
Date: Friday, October 18
True Life Trio features the vocal talents of three dynamic performers whose musical collaboration was forged in Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble. This Bay Area–based trio delves deep into a vast array of folk music that lends itself to three-part vocal harmony, massaging and expanding the boundaries of traditional styles. Their concerts take audiences on a borderless journey through the villages of Ukraine, the mountains of Bulgaria and Louisiana’s Cajun country, demonstrating the beauty, power and diversity of vocally driven folk music from Eastern Europe and North America. True Life Trio honors these traditions while adding their own unique spin via innovative arrangements and folk-inspired compositions. The trio’s fiery and supple vocals bridge musical worlds and deliver them right to the listeners’ ears.
Artist: Laurie Lewis
Date: Friday, November 15
Grammy Award-winning musician Laurie Lewis is internationally renowned as a singer, songwriter, fiddler, bandleader, producer and educator. Laurie has twice been voted “Female Vocalist of the Year” by the International Bluegrass Music Association and has won the respect and admiration of her peers. Linda Ronstadt speaks for many when she says of Laurie: “Her voice is a rare combination of grit and grace, strength and delicacy. Her stories are always true.” A pioneering woman in bluegrass, Laurie has paved the way for many young women today, always guided by her own love of traditional music and the styles of her heroes that came before.
Artist: Charming Hostess
Date: Friday, January 17
Charming Hostess is a whirl of eerie harmony, hot rhythm and radical braininess. The Bay Area-based band led by Jewlia Eisenberg makes music that explores the intersection of text and the sounding body—complex ideas expressed physically, based on voice and vocal percussion, handclaps and heartbeats, breath and silence.
The band lives where diasporas collide, incorporating piyyutim and Pygmy counterpoint, doo-wop and niggunim, work songs and Torah chanting. According to The New Yorker, “Eisenberg’s songs are hilarious and touching, and they run the gamut from hard-edged and powerful to sweet and soulful.”
Artist: Laila and Smitty
Date: Friday, February 21
Direct from Brooklyn, NY, Laila and Smitty is the brainchild of trumpet virtuoso Kenny Warren, a quintet that began as an exploration of Americana roots music, but has matured into a one of a kind band that has become an outlet for some of Kenny’s most personal thoughts and soul searching. The trumpeter/improviser/singer-songwriter who may be best known for his work with Balkan brass band Slavic Soul Party has also played some of New York’s largest stages with rock bands like The Walkmen, Spoon and Devotchka, Budos Band, and was featured on the soundtrack of the highly acclaimed film Beasts of the Southern Wild. Laila and Smitty is on tour celebrating the release of their third album. The group’s performance at Beth Sholom will be their Bay Area debut!
Goals and Intentions of the Listen series
After the last event of year one of the Listen series, a young adult member of Beth Sholom came up to greet MJ, the leader of the New Orleans second line brass band MJ’s Brass Boppers. The young man told MJ that he has been coming to Congregation Beth Sholom with his family for his entire life, and he had also been going to hear the Brass Boppers for years. The young congregant was incredulous and inspired to witness these two aspects of his life intersecting. These intersections between the spirit, aesthetics and the joys of communities joined together are the kinds of moments that Listen was meant to foster. In wonderful moments like this, the spiritual and the secular rub against each other, as the Listening community encounters the spirit as it is felt in “real life,” in the context of concerts and dance and sociality.
The goals of the Listen series are to both engage regular synagogue-goers and bring new people into the synagogue who aren't usually there on a Friday night by producing aesthetically and emotionally engaging experiences. The successful first year of Listen was a first step towards expanding Congregation Beth Sholom’s reputation as a community that cares deeply about the arts and about building experiences of joy and pleasure in a Jewish communal situation.
Moving forward into its second year, the Listen series will be guided by the following three intentions:
To capture the heightened spiritual state that people have when they listen to beautiful music and to harness that energy into the sacred Jewish community.
To make powerful bonds across divisions of identity and to expand the idea of what a prayer leader can look like in a Jewish sacred space.
To open Jewish people to the idea that aesthetic experience is a viable pathway to prayer and to offer a context where Jews can revisit and revive specifically Jewish forms of sacred aesthetics.
About the curator
Jeremiah Lockwood has played around the world from Montreal Jazz Festival to the Festival au Desert in Timbuktu, Mali, as the leader of The Sway Machinery and as the guitarist in Balkan Beat Box. Jeremiah was a recipient of a Six Points Fellowship for Emerging Jewish Artists, an Artist-in-Residence for the Forward and a Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra Composer Fellow. He is currently completing a PhD at Stanford University. His thesis focuses on cantorial music revivalism in the Chassidic community in Brooklyn, NY. His duo project Book of J (with singer Jewlia Eisenberg) released their debut album in 2018.