Music fills In One Voice festival

Musician Willy Zygier and daughters (from left) Syd, Hettie and Alma rehearse in preparation for the YID! concerts at In One Voice. Photo: Peter Haskin

WHILE the street fun of the In One Voice festival will bring Elsternwick alive on Sunday, March 18 with entertainment on the big stage, food outlets, stalls, an art exhibition and a kids’ zone, music fans can start celebrating the night before with the In One Night concert being held at the former ABC sound stage opposite the Kadimah from 8pm.

The line-up for In One Night features Japanese Wallpaper (20-year-old Melbourne producer Gab Strum) who mixes indie sounds with electronica.

Strum gained international attention with his first single, Breathe In, and won 2014’s Triple J Unearthed High when he was 17.

Last year Strum played at the South by Southwest festival in Texas and he is currently putting the finishing touches to his debut album.

Big band group YID!, which made its debut at last year’s In One Voice street festival with a line-up of 19 musicians including jazz musician Simon Starr and his brother Adam, guitarist Willy Zygier, Husky Gawenda and Gideon Priess from indie folk band Husky, violinist Alex Burkoy (Tinpan Orange), pianist Tomi Kalinsky, percussionist Ariel Valent, drummer Daniel Farrugia and electronic keyboard players Josh Abrahams (Puretone) and David Haberfeld (Honeysmack).

Simon Starr, who came up with the idea to form a big band of top musicians with Yiddish as the driving force, has been thrilled with the success of the group, which last year also performed at the Shir Madness Jewish Music Festival and this week is in Adelaide for Womadelaide.

Starr hopes that the band will tour Europe and Israel later this year.

YID! takes centuries-old Yiddish songs and melds them with Duke Ellington’s 1930s bigband sound, 1960s free jazz, a dose of 1970s New York avant garde funk, a sprinkling of 21st century electronica, and a hint of sweet indie-folk pop.

“The result is a daring fusion of tribal beats, improvised riffs and indie vocals,” said Starr.

“What started out as a bit of a lark has proved to be exciting, exuberant and liberating.”

For YID!’s performances at In One Voice, Zygier will be joined by his daughters Alma, Syd and Hettie as they provide vocal support and also sing the classic song, Bei Mir Bistu Sheyn.

Zygier, who is married to acclaimed singer Deborah Conway, said it was a thrill to be performing with his daughters.

“There is nothing like a family working in harmony – it doesn’t always happen in life, but YID! is larger than life,” he said.

“Performing with my daughters is, of course, a special joy and fills me with naches, but the rest of YID! is also like a crazy extended family.”

Alma Zygier will also take to the stage with her quartet to perform jazz classics from the American songbook.
“Growing up in a household filled with music, has given me an appreciation of good music and a love for music that is old,” she said.

Also performing at In One Night are the Ghetto Cabaret Orchestra and comedians Lainie Chait, Eve Ellenbogen and Eli Landes.

A pop-up bar and food trucks will provide refreshments at the Saturday night concert.

On Sunday, the music at In One Voice starts at noon with a variety of performances including YID!, the Bashevis Singers featuring Husky Gawenda and Gideon Priess singing in Yiddish, Approachable Members of Your Local Community and Hello Tut Tut.

Approachable Members of Your Local Community comprises seven former Bialik College students performing a mix of their own indie pop material and their favourite Jewish songs.

Hello Tut Tut plays a variety of Klezmer, Hungarian and Balkans music.

Community and school choirs and dance troupes will also be performing during the afternoon.

The In One Voice street festival is presented by the Kadimah Jewish Cultural Centre and National Library and SKIF. In One Voice street festival is on Sunday, March 18 in Selwyn Street, Elsternwick from 11am-5pm. Enquiries: www.inonevoice.org.au. The In One Night concert is on Saturday, March 17 in Selwyn Street, Elsternwick from 8pm. Bookings: www.trybooking.com/TUPQ