Festival of Jewish Arts and Music
Melbourne Recital Centre will be taken over by the Festival of Jewish Arts and Music (previously Shir Madness) – a celebration of contemporary Jewish culture – on Sunday September 8. There’ll be plenty of live music, talks and a storytelling slam.
The festival has a strong music focus. International headliners include Israeli beat maker and producer Noga Erez, and American singer-songwriter Chris Cohen, formerly of the band Deerhood. And for the festival’s headline performance, Transformer – A Tribute to Lou Reed, indie-pop artist Gabriella Cohen and Kate Dillon (Full Flower Moon Band) will direct a performance of Reed’s iconic album Transformer by artists such as Chris Cohen, Alex Gow (Oh Mercy), Emily Lubitz (Tinpan Orange), Bella Venuti (IV League), Spike Fuck and ARIA-winning post-punk legend Deborah Conway.
Another performance, Song of Songs, will pay tribute to legendary Jewish songwriters and composers such as Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon and Carole King. On the line-up are Paul Kelly, Vika Bull, Kate Ceberano, Clare Bowditch, Harry James Angus, Lisa Mitchell and more.
The day will start with Why We Stand, a performance by poet and musician Neil Morris that honours Yorta Yorta man William Cooper, who took a stand against the treatment of Jewish people when he lead a protest to the German embassy in Melbourne in 1938.
There’ll also be a storytelling slam and a series of talks, including one by British journalist and performer Vivien Goldman (aka the Punk Professor) and another by artist and LGBT activist Zackary Drucker, a producer on the ground-breaking Amazon TV series Transparent. She'll speak about her work on the show, queer representation on screen and the intersection of Jewish and queer identities.