Diet? Exercise? Travel? What are your resolutions for the New Year? Allow me to propose one that is easy to keep: see more live music. Seeing a great performance (or any piece of great art) makes me glad that I’m alive. It is, in fact, awesome…an experience that fills me with joy, wonder and awe.

 

And with the Boston Jewish Music Festival offering 5 weeks of musical events in celebration of our 5th anniversary, seeing more music should be a resolution you can keep easily at least until the end of March!

 

Looking for some suggestions? Here are some of the Festival events that I am particularly excited about.

 

Heartbeat on February 23.  A musical ensemble made up of Israeli and Arab teens that uses music as a way to find common ground.

 

An evening with Theo Bikel on March 1. This man is simply amazing. His first movie role was in the African Queen. He was the original Capt Von Trapp in the Sound of Music on Broadway. And while his most famous role is Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, his most important roles may well be human rights activist and a walking library of Jewish folk music. This rare Boston appearance will be an early celebration of his upcoming 90th birthday and will feature Hankus Netsky and many guest artists.

 

Aaron Bensoussan on March 2 with Frank London. A charismatic Moroccan singer and oud player will be spurred to new heights by one of the most important Jewish musicians and improvisers.

 

Peter Himmelman, March 4.  A great singer/songwriter and performer. A personal favorite.

 

Dudu Tassa and the Kuwaitis, March 16. Is Dudu Israel’s next gift to the world music scene? Catch him on his way to the prestigious SXSW music conference. Like seeing Idan Raichel at the Paradise many years ago, this could be one of those shows that you’ll be telling people ‘you were then when..’

 

The Sarajevo Haggadah March 26. Presented with The New Center, this is a new multi-media presentation inspired by the story of this treasured manuscript with accordionist Merima Kljuco and pianist Seth Knopp. After the concert, Geraldine Brooks, author of People of the Book, will join Merima for a discussion.

 

Those are just some of my personal favorites. Ask me again tomorrow and I’ll probably pick something different. Maybe salsa dancing at Oberon with Malachei Mambo (Angels of Mambo) with New Center NOW or Yiddish dancing with Alicia Svigals at the JCC. Maybe it will be Yaeko Elmalah’s Ensemble, family fun with the Mama Doni Band, or Ezekiel’s Wheels triumphant return to Ryles. And lets not forget our showcase of three of the brightest new lights in Jewish music: Saul Kaye, Joey Weisenberg and Noah Aronson at the Natick Center for the Arts, a perfect location for such an intimate show.

 

Brochures will be mailed on January 6 but complete info is already available at BostonJewishMusicFestival.org. Tickets for all events go on sale on the website, January 6.

So as you think about your resolutions, don’t forget that 5 weeks of great music start on February 22. After all, music is something is an essential part of any healthy diet.

 

Happy 2014.

 

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