La Vache Qui Rit 311.
(photo credit: Courtesy of Ya’arah Nahar Davis)
The Jacob’s Ladder Winter Weekend is a bit like a blast from the past. In the
nicest possible way, it reminds you of something else, something which is
equally as dear although not quite the same. That “something else” is, of
course, the elder and bigger sibling festival which has been taking place up
north for over three decades, while the Winter Weekend generally feels like a
cozy furtive taste of the main event.
There were familiar faces on and
off stage, with the likes of vocalist-guitarists Diane Kaplan and Shay Tochner
joining forces on Saturday morning for emotive renderings of songs by folkie
scene giants the likes of Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell and Jim
Naturally, there was plenty to be had from the Emerald Isle and
other parts of the Celtic world, particularly from the main act from abroad,
uillean piper Fiachra and Québécoise fiddler Sophie.
They did a couple of
shows and also took part in an intimate “meet Fiachra and Sophie” session in
which they explained some of the mysteries of their art, and let the audience in
on some behind-thescenes goings on.
The other import was returning Jewish
New Yorker singer-guitarist-comic Sean Altman who delighted and shocked with
ditties about how much taller he is than Jesus, confusion about some of our
religious holidays, and a wistful number about a part of his anatomy that went
missing when he was eight days old.
Harpist Sunita Stanelsow regaled us
with a selection of songs from North America and beyond, with longtime
collaborator Kaplan helping out on a couple of numbers, while Jacob’s Ladder
favorite La Vache Qui Rit had the joint jumping with an international program
that ran the gamut from Greece to France and many points betwixt.
penultimate act on Saturday afternoon stretched the cultural and genre spread
even further as the Echoes 3 guitar- bass-violin trio provided a high quality
rendition of a multicultural repertoire that took in klezmer, Spanish, classical
and blues, with added gypsy and pop seasoning.
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There were also a couple
of shake-a-leg slots with country line-dancing, and an international
folk-dancing session with Meir and Meshi while, as usual, gravitation- defying
Manny put the faithful through their Irish dancing paces.
Kinneret laid low – far too low – and shimmered in the sinking sun as we packed
up our belongings and tent – one of just three on the lawn near the main stage
site in the spring - and headed back home, and counting the days till the spring
festival comes round.
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