Sunday kicked off the 14th annual Washington Jewish Music Festival, presented by the Washington DCJCC’s Morris Cafritz Center for the Arts. Israeli icon Noa opened the festival at Montgomery College Cultural Arts Center with a performance as versatile as it was contagious, including operatic pop, adapted children’s songs, and tin cans.
Achinoam Nini (Noa)’s Israeli-Yemenite-Bronx sound has become an international sensation. On Sunday night she was backed up by long-time collaborator Gil Dor, The Yoed Nir String Quartet, and Gadi Seri on percussion. The performers used a modest stage of two platforms and some chairs – plus a rug for Noa’s bare feet – to produce a huge sound spanning continents.
Their eclectic collection – including the theme song to Life is Beautiful along with songs from her Yemenite heritage and the Israeli songbook – was a perfect start to what will likely be a wild mix of world music this year. Here are some other events to look out for (see the full schedule here):
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National Menorah and Tree 7676
courtesy of tedeytan
The 23rd Washington Jewish Film Festival – one of the oldest and largest festivals of its kind – has returned to the district, with events running through January 13.
Curated by the Washington DC Jewish Community Center, the WJFF features 55 films at ten different venues. It includes a U Street short film pub crawl for the first time this year and a major pass discount for patrons 30 years old or younger.
A special focus on French cinema and a number of music-related films stand out in the 2013 lineup, including a retrospective on Lou Reed and a film detailing the founding of the Palestine Philharmonic Orchestra.
There are also, of course, a few films in there inspired by Woody Allen.
The festival’s closing event on January 13 features a screening of Hava Nagila (The Movie) a documentary by Academy-Award nominated director Roberta Grossman which follows the famous song from its origins in Eastern European shtetls to worldwide familiarity.
Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (202) 777-3231. In addition to single tickets, WJFF will be offering full festival passes for the first time this year. Those passes run at $75, but are discounted to $30 for attendees 30 years old and younger.