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It’s not easy for a Jewish music festival to break certain associations in the public’s mind—namely, the ones that involve a lonely Hasid sitting on a roof, fiddling away. But Jewish music doesn’t end with klezmer, as the Jewish Community Center’s annual showcase demonstrates. Sure, it may begin there, with acts like Abraham Inc., led by clarinet wiz David Krakauer. But then things get complicated; Krakauer’s band also includes James Brown’s former trombonist, Fred Wesley, and DJ SoCalled, who mixes Eastern European Yiddish tunes with hip-hop. Other highlights include Klezmatics co-founder Alicia Svigals performing the score to a 1918 silent film, a Sephardic indie-rock band singing in Ladino, and a DJ set by Diwon, who blends Middle Eastern traditional music with club beats. In other words, this isn’t music for alter kockers.
The 13th annual Washington Jewish Music Festival runs May 3 to May 21 at various venues. Ticket prices and schedule information at wjmf.org. (202) 518-9400.