The Town Hall launches first Newish Jewish Music Festival in March 2014
with two groundbreaking musical events

Premiere of John Zorn’s Masada Book Three: The Book Beriah on March 19th ;
Havana Nagila celebrates New York’s Jewish/Latin roots with the Klezmatics, Arturo O’Farrill, Fania Legend Lewis Kahn, and more on March 23rd

Festival includes partner events at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy Club Coca Cola, Le Poisson Rouge and City Winery

The Town Hall, one of New York’s most renowned music venues for nearly a century, will present the first-ever Newish Jewish Music Festival—celebrating contemporary Jewish and Israeli culture and music—with two exciting and unprecedented concerts in March of 2014.

The first NJMF date, on Wednesday, March 19 at 8 p.m., marks the world premiere of John Zorn’s Masada Book Three: The Book Beriah, an epic event featuring 20 new compositions by 20 different ensembles in one marathon evening—all performed for the first time.

Then, on Sunday, March 23, at 5 p.m., the legendary GRAMMY-winning Klezmatics—who recently celebrated their 25th anniversary together—will present Havana Nagila, a raucous and ingenious examination of the close cultural ties between Jewish and Latin music, featuring pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill and Fania All-Stars legend Lewis Kahn plus other Latin guests.

The NJMF concerts at The Town Hall are presented in association with World Music Institute. Other New York City venues will also participate in the festival, with Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Dizzy Club Coca Cola, Le Poisson Rouge and City Winery planning concerts.

"This is a festival celebrating adventurous music,” says M.A. Papper, Associate Director of The Town Hall. “So much contemporary Jewish music is diverse and complex because artists have embraced international influences and created a new sound with roots as old as Abel. We have a Cuban-Klezmer blowout with the Klezmatics, Arturo O'Farrill and Xiomara Laugart, and it’s fitting, too, that this festival is kicked off by John Zorn, an artist who has been exploring those new sounds in Jewish music for over twenty years."

One of the most important composers and musicians of his generation, John Zorn has spent two decades building upon his exceptional Masada Songbook, now comprising 613 compositions. The world premiere of John Zorn’s Masada Book Three: The Book Beriah is the newest addition to Zorn’s ongoing work and the last in the series, following 1993’s Masada Book One and 2004’s Masada Book Two: The Book of Angels. The newest Masada songs will be presented in a special marathon “shuffle” concert featuring no less that 20 different bands and more than 50 musicians from wildly divergent backgrounds—jazz, rock, classical, world music, pop and more. The premiere of “The Book Beriah” (Beriah means World of Creation) will be an unforgettable evening of new Jewish music that runs the gamut of emotions, influences and styles.

“The Book Beriah” will feature John Zorn, Marc Ribot, Uri Caine, Secret Chiefs 3, Steve Lehman, Vijay Iyer, Tyshawn Sorey, John Medeski, Jon Madof and Zion 80, Klezmatics members Frank London and Matt Darriau, Abraxas, Cyro Baptista and Banquet of the Spirits, Many Arms, Sofia Rei, Eyvind Kang, Ikue Mori, Mark Feldman, Erik Friedlander, Jamie Saft, Cleric, Uri Gurvich and many more.

The Klezmatics have accomplished nothing less in their quarter-century together than the redefinition and revitalization of klezmer, perhaps the most recognized and beloved form of Jewish traditional music in the world. Time Out New York said about the group, “The Klezmatics aren’t just the best band in the klezmer vanguard; on a good night, they can rank among the greatest bands on the planet.” On the afternoon of March 23 at The Town Hall, the ever-innovative sextet will display another side of their boundless creativity when they team with Grammy-nominated pianist and composer Arturo O’Farrill and the acclaimed Cuban vocalist Xiomara Laugart. The program, cleverly dubbed Havana Nagila, will explore the often surprisingly close relationship between Jewish and Latin music styles.

“The Klezmatics have had a number of intersections with Latin musicians over the years,” says Frank London, the group’s trumpeter and one of its founding members. “We’ve explored the commonalities between fast freylekhs (Jewish wedding dance rhythm) and merengue and some of the members have played Latin music for years. For this special show, we are going to present a much broader picture of what Jewish-Latin music was, is, and can be, more than simply Yiddish songs played to Latin rhythms, although there will be some of those—they are so much fun, and such a part of our cultural and musical history.”

“Latin music and Jewish music have a lot in common culturally, in terms of coming from immigrant cultures,” says Arturo O’Farrill, the leader of the Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra. The two entities have collaborated before, with O’Farrill sitting in with the Klezmatics in concert and London jamming with the ALJO. “The mixing of Latin with Jewish music has been done many times,” says O’Farrill. “It’s a symbiotic relationship. It makes sense to have me sit in with the Klezmatics. Moments like this were created to expand the language of music in many directions. But that all sounds so clinical. It was just a lot of fun.”

Fania All-Stars legend Lewis Kahn brings his uparalleled salsa style to the program. Along with other special Latin musical guests, the ensemble takes over the Town Hall stage to celebrate – and update – the history of Jewish and Latin music in New York.

“As the Jewish people continue to grow into the 21st century, they carry their culture along with them,” says John Zorn about the advent of the Newish Jewish Music Festival. “Tradition, history and the past have always played a strong role in the life of the Jews but it is also important to think about the future. As we grow as a people, it seems natural that our culture should grow along with us. Just as jazz music has progressed from Dixieland to free jazz and beyond in a few short decades, and classical music went from tonality to chromaticism, noise and back again, the same kind of growth should be possible—and is perhaps essential—for Jewish music.”

The Town Hall is located at 123 West 43rd Street, New York, NY 10036

Wed March 19 at 8pm - John Zorn premieres “Masada Songbook, The Book Beriah” $45, $55, $60, $65
Sun March 23 at 5pm – The Klezmatics /Arturo O’Farrill / Xiomara Laugart “Havana Nagila” $40, $45, $50

TICKETS: The Town Hall Box Office 212-840-2824
and Ticketmaster 800-982-2787