Festival Review: Jammin' with Jacob

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.

May 23, 2011 22:27
2 minute read.
Jacobs Ladder Festival

Jacobs Ladder Festival 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)


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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.

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Veteran 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 Daughter.

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.

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