Israeli bands at one of Canada’s most prominent jazz festivals

  (photo credit: Israeli embassy in Canada)
(photo credit: Israeli embassy in Canada)

Several Israeli artists performed at the Ottawa Jazz Festival, one of the most prominent in the country.

The Ottawa Jazz Festival is an annual celebration of jazz music that takes place in Canada’s capital city.

It attracts thousands of spectators as well as a significant amount of international talent. This year two Israeli bands, Avishai Cohen Trio and Pulkes band, participated in it.

Head of Public Diplomacy at the Israeli embassy in Canada, Eli Lipshitz (Credit: Israeli embassy in Canada)
Head of Public Diplomacy at the Israeli embassy in Canada, Eli Lipshitz (Credit: Israeli embassy in Canada)

Avishai Cohen Trio’s lead vocalist Avishai Cohen, (with pianist Elchin Shirinov and drummer Roni Kaspi) is among one of the most talented artists in the Jazz scene. The Tel-Aviv native who now resides in New York has an incredibly large following of 400 thousand monthly listeners on Spotify as well as over 11 million streams on his hit song 'Remembering' on Spotify. The 2023 edition marked the band's second time performing at the Jazz Festival.

 "After a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is great to see Israeli culture in all forms, being showcased here in Canada's capital and at festivals around the country," said Embassy of Israel's head of Public Diplomacy, Eli Lipshitz, who introduced the band prior to their performance at the main stage in Ottawa's downtown Confederation Park. 

Pulkes an Israeli-born group formed in 2018 within the walls of the city of Jerusalem, was also on the lineup for the Ottawa Jazz Fest.

Pulkes' is a Balkan-Klezmer band that has quickly gained recognition and captivated audiences both in Israel and around the world. The band's energetic performances have graced prestigious festivals such as InDNegev, Expo 2020-Dubai, and the Tower of David, as well as collaborations with renowned artists like "Quarter to Africa." They have also embarked on a successful festival tour in Canada, solidifying their international appeal.

The musical journey offered by 'Pulkes' is a delightful fusion of Balkan influences and Klezmer traditions, intertwined with a diverse range of genres, including Afrobeats and Eastern European melodies. Their infectious rhythms and grooves ensure that no one remains seated during their performances.

Comprising seven talented musicians, including a virtuosic brass section and a powerful Rhythm Section, 'Pulkes' brings unparalleled energy to every stage they grace. Their dynamic presence and captivating sound make for an unforgettable live experience.

The Embassy of Israel in Ottawa partnered with the DANBE FOUNDATION INC. a strong supporter of Israeli culture and many Israel-related projects in Ottawa's Jewish community, in facilitating the performances of the artists during the festival.

Credit: Israeli embassy in Canada
Credit: Israeli embassy in Canada

As part of this cooperation with the Ottawa Jewish community, Pulkes performed for over 200 community members in a pre-Shabbat concert at the Machzikei Hadas synagogue in the city. During the concert, Pulkes played from their own repertoire as well as Jewish klezmer music and Shabbat songs.

These Israeli bands left an indelible impression on the festival-goers, further enriching the vibrant tapestry of jazz music celebrated in downtown Ottawa giving it a Middle Eastern and Jewish taste that only Israeli culture can offer.

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