Festival review: Jacob's Ladder Winter Weekend

The low key and intimate winter vash features Irish storyteller and musician Colum Sands.

Jacob's Ladder Winter Weekend 370 (photo credit: Barry Davis)
Jacob's Ladder Winter Weekend 370
(photo credit: Barry Davis)
Nof Ginosar
December 14-15
The ninth edition of the Jacob’s Ladder Winter Weekend kept the Anglo event’s fires gently burning and warmed the hearts of the hundreds who attended.
The winter bash is much more low key and intimate than the annual springtime festival, and therein lies its charm. None personified that homey ethos more than Irish storyteller and musician Colum Sands. Sands performed a couple of gigs over the two days, as well as a cozy Saturday morning session at which he played a song or two but mostly fielded questions from the members of the highly engaged audience.
Sands is undoubtedly a storyteller par excellence, and he regaled us with amusing and moving tales of life in Ireland, and his childhood home life. There was generally a moral to his stories but they never smacked of preaching – filtered, as they were, through Sands’ gentle demeanor.
Larry and Mindy are always a popular item at Jacob’s Ladder and, in the past, have had their festival audiences singing along and basking in the warm glow of nostalgia with Simon & Garfunkel and The Beatles programs. This time round we all joyfully sang and grooved to hits of the Sixties and Seventies, the likes of The Fab Four’s “Here, There and Everywhere,” Bryan Hyland’s unabashedly farcical “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and Don McLean’s ever endearing, and protracted, “American Pie.”
There were more numbers from those two decades, at the Bob Dylan and Leonard tribute show with young singer Maya Johanna and long-serving Jacob’s Ladder performer, guitarist-harmonica player Shai Tochner, with some extra high energy provided by the irrepressible fiddler Yonatan Miller.
The now Stateside-based Miller lived in Israel for over 20 years and was a member of the legendary The Taverners folk-bluegrass band. Although somewhat lacking in the depth one can only get from accrued life experience, Johanna’s vocal delivery was impressive and Miller wowed the audience with a white hot rendition of the Charlie Daniel Band’s 1979 hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
As usual, Cyrelle Forman-Soffer’s square dance workshop was unadulterated joy. Roll on the spring festival...