One of our stages is devoted to workshops, panels & films about Jews & music, a varied and interesting program, so drop in sometime.
A conversation about Jews & music & Jews in music with: Deborah Conway, Lucky Oceans, Emily Lubitz, Yaron Hallis & Zusha, convened by Bram Presser.
Bram Presser has been many things in his life. A punk prankster who, with his band Yidcore, toured around the world, invading radio, TV and stages with loud, obnoxious songs in funny languages. A criminal lawyer. A writer. The singing voice of Mick Molloy in the film Boytown. The focus of a Discovery Channel documentary on Melbourne. A lecturer. Above all, though, Bram is a passionate believer in the healing powers of hummus.
Not only were both the terms “rock n’ roll” and “rhythm n’ blues” coined by Jews but Jewish songwriters were also responsible for many of the greatest rock and pop hits of the 20th century. Some of these songwriters, such as Carole King, Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Leonard Cohen, Neil Diamond, Randy Newman and Billy Joel are household names. Many more, however, are known only to a select few, yet their songs have become classics known and loved the world over. Songs such as ‘Rock Around the Clock’, ‘Jailhouse Rock’, ‘Twist & Shout’, Viva Las Vegas, ‘Do Wah Diddy Diddy’, ‘You’ve Lost That Loving Feeling’, ‘For Your Love’, ‘Sunshine of Your Love’, ‘Piece of My Heart’, ‘Eve of Destruction’, ‘Whiter Shade of Pale’, ‘Black Magic Woman’, ‘Billy Don’t Be A Hero’, ‘I Want Candy’, ‘Like A Virgin’, ‘I Touch Myself’ and ‘You’re the Voice’, to name but a few, are all written by Jews …who knew! Come along to this highly entertaining multi-media presentation and discover the Jewish songwriters behind these and so many other unforgettable songs which still fill classic rock radio stations and movie soundtracks to this day. Rare clips and interviews will be screened and an endless number of great tracks will be played. Group sing-a-longs are actively encouraged!
PRESENTER PROFILE – GARY HOLZMAN
Gary Holzman, Shir Madness founder and Sydney Shir Madness Festival Director, is an intellectual property lawyer who has spent all of his spare time (and a fair bit of his work time) listening to and reading about music. As a result of his extensive (some would say excessive) research Gary has developed an encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music with a particular emphasis on the history of Jewish songwriters and performers. He has parlayed this knowledge into a 10 week course entitled “The Jewish School of Rock” which he has presented to enthusiastic music lovers on a regular basis. Over the last 10 years he has also delivered numerous talks on the subject at Shalom College, Limmud Oz, North Shore Temple Emmanuel, Moriah College, B’nai B’rith and to the general public.
What is Jewish songwriting? What is Jewish music? And what place does contemporary Jewish songwriting have in our lives today?
Join singer, songwriter and Jewish educator Shannyn Gelbart as she explores what makes up contemporary Jewish music, basic songwriting and how to connect the two to express our Judaism through music. Participants will reflect on their own Jewish identity to explore how they connect to their spirituality. Music knowledge and skills not necessary, but enthusiasm and creativity is a must!
Awake Zion (1 hour 5 mins) USA
Zion…it’s closer than you think…Awake Zion is a documentary that explores the unexpected connections between Rasta, Reggae, and Judaism, through one woman’s beat-laden adventure into the meaning of identity.
In the summer of 1991 a young black boy, Gavin Cato, was accidentally killed by a Hasidic man driving a van. Days later, another Jewish man, Yankel Rosenbaum, was killed by mob violence as vindication. These events ignited the infamous Crown Heights Riots, which became a tragic display of human and cultural animosity. Awake Zion is dedicated to the memories of Gavin Cato and Yankel Rosenbaum.
Under African Skies (1 hour 48 mins) SOUTH AFRICA
For the 25th anniversary of “Graceland,” Paul Simon returns to South Africa for a historic reunion concert-and a look at his landmark album’s turbulent birth. Interviewing anti-apartheid activists and music legends like Quincy Jones, Harry Belafonte, Paul McCartney and David Byrne, Berlinger’s (Crude, Paradise Lost) new doc explores both the anatomy of a musical masterwork and the responsibilities of art.
Leonard Cohen I’m Your Man (1 hour 43 mins) USA/AUSTRALIA
This documentary on the legendary singer-songwriter features performances by those musicians he has influenced. Woven through a riveting tribute is a career-spanning interview with the man himself. Sprinkled with his own artwork and personal photos, Cohen speaks of his stately writing process; “savage criticisms” exchanged with fellow Montreal poets; the scene at the Chelsea Hotel; tea and oranges with the real Suzanne; his retreat to Mt. Baldy and more.