Golem - The 16th Annual Washington Jewish Music Festival is nearing an end, but it is going out with a loud band as tonight's group of New Yorkers have a ton of energy to share with the crowd who are more than ready. Golem works the gypsy punk terrain that is getting rather crowded of late, but they specialize more in the trad-gypsy with speedy playing and a sense of fun with their music. There is no guitar, with violin and trombone trading off solos along with the bass, drums and accordion laying down the foundation. Male and female vocalists work together and offer a variety of moods and tones. Tempos vary enough and the songs are always vibrant, worldly, and extremely well played. The Ukranian songs go down well along with the Yiddish tunes, but everything clicks with the dance happy crowd. It was kind of hard for me to watch the stage when just off to the side, a barely school age girl was fully engaged with the music with wonderful dance moves. She pogoed, circled, waved her arms, shook, with energy I haven't seen since a Bad Brains show from the early 80s. She locked into the tempos and was a great reminder of the simple essence of the joy of music. Between that youthful unpretentious energy and this festival's display of diverse world music, it is an important reminder for all of us to continue to explore beyond the comfortable boundaries that we establish too early in life.
festival closes this Saturday, although there is also a free afternoon event in Stead Park on Sunday, from 11am to 3pm. So check these out if you can and make an effort to see what this festival does next year. I am never disappointed.
Quote of the Night: From Annette Ezekial Kogan (singer/accordion)... "This song is about how animals help out, like the dogs who guard the house, the cats that catch the mice, but little girl--what good are you? (laughter) Yiddish--it's a harsh language."