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Adventurous music lovers will head for the Judean Hills this week to take in the second annual Accordion, Mandolin and Balalaika Festival at Yad Hashmona from August 8-10.
What do these three instruments have in common, besides their unlikely juxtaposition for this festival? In addition to sharing European origins, all three retain a healthy following among informal musicians, harking back to the days when families played together after a day's labor instead of watching TV or surfing the Net.
But don't worry; if you make it to the festival, you won't be hearing amateurs but will be able to choose between five stages featuring small groups, specialized ensembles and virtuoso soloists. The program is extremely diverse, as befits a festival dedicated to these popular instruments, with Israeli, Balkan, Russian, European classical, chanson, jazz, country and tango among the styles to be heard.
The concerts begin at 4 p.m. each day and continue into the evening, with a major performance scheduled at 9 p.m. each night featuring the stars of the accordion, mandolin and balalaika worlds, including artistic director/Balkan accordion maestro Emil Eibinder. The entire event is family-friendly, with special performances for (and by) children, as well as activities, food, educational opportunities, sing-alongs and, of course, the pastoral atmosphere of Yad Hashmona itself.
The Festival of Accordion, Mandolin and Balalaika runs from Tuesday August 8 through Thursday August 10. Tickets for a full day are NIS 140 for adults and NIS 80 for children, or NIS 80/50 for just the afternoon or evening concerts. The opening 9 p.m. concert on Tuesday has a special price of NIS 50/30.
A full schedule of events can be found at www.yadha8.co.il. Tickets can be ordered by calling (02) 534-3956.