Jacobs Ladder Festival 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Considering much of our wine comes from the north of the country it only seems
fitting that the annual Jacob’s Ladder Festival takes place in that neck of the
woods. Last weekend the 35th edition of the major cultural Anglo event of the
year took place at Nof Ginosar by the Kinneret and, like a good vintage vino, it
plainly gets better as the years roll by.
There were tons of great shows
to catch on any of the four stages, and fun dance and other workshops to shake a
leg at, at the sports hall on the other side of the parking lot.
Dutch-born bluesman Hans Theessink went down a treat at his Friday and Saturday
shows, and his Saturday afternoon master class attracted an enormous crowd of
budding blues guitarists and admiring non-musicians. Also delivering the goods
on the blues front, although with a somewhat earthier style, was stripy
trilbysporting US singer-songwriter Delmark Goldfarb.
The Diane Kaplan
Project, with a pared down band of just Kaplan on guitar and vocals, her
vocalist son Edan and percussionist- flutist-vocalist Dana Keren, performed
material from Kaplan’s latest Kezayit Raanan album. The harmonies were
exceptionally tight – a la Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – although the
soundman let them down.
Kaplan also put in a guest appearance at the
Sunita & Friends concert, led by harpist Sunita Staneslow. The most emotive
event of the festival took place during the show, when Ada Moriel provided her
vocals for “Ready for the Storm”, off Moriel and Kaplan’s last CD, Shepherd’s
Moriel has appeared at many Jacob’s Ladder bashes but had some
serious health issues in recent years.
The audience also enjoyed a
stunning duet between Staneslow and 19-year-old electric harp player Raz
Weintraub, and percussionist Abe Doron starred on bones and, later, bodhran.
Irish singer-songwriter Ben Sands regaled his audiences with his usual highly
entertaining mix of songs and comic stories, and also joined in a number of jam
sessions in the hotel lobby.
At the end of the day, it is the latter that
gives Jacob’s Ladder its delightful added value. Wherever you go there are
people strumming, blowing and drumming along together. As Ben Sands told me, as
we watched a bunch of youngsters jamming in the hotel lobby: “this is a real
festival, not just shows, but people playing and enjoying music together.” Amen.