There’s still time to nominate local icons for Best of D.C.
When Yosi “The Hasidic Hendrix” Piamenta rocked the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center’s Goldman Theater last March, the ground literally moved under my feet. If you haven’t heard by now, contemporary Jewish music rocks a lot harder than “Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel”—or even Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song.” Yosi usually plays the Knitting Factory and CBGB’s in New York, where young Orthodox kids slamdance to his electrified Jewish beat. When his fingers began flying and his psychedelic yarmulke-adorned head started shaking last spring, Yosi lifted me out of my seat, onto my feet, and a minute later had me crashing downward into a row of chairs. I’ve learned, regrettably, that it’s hard to mosh in stadium seating. So I’ll be snagging some precious aisle space during this year’s inaugural Washington Jewish Music Festival. Besides, I don’t see how I could possibly sit still for the Cajun-Yiddish hybrid of the New Orleans Klezmer Allstars (at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6). And it will be hard not to get a little meshugge when Knitting Factory performers Uri Caine & DJ Olive, Pharaoh’s Daughter, and the Paradox Trio—led by the Klezmatics’ Matt Darriau—rock the very foundations of the DCJCC on closing night (at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 9). The festival also includes vocalist Neshama Carlebach (at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 4), Sephardic music ensemble Voice of the Turtle (pictured, at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 5), and Israel-imported quartet Shesh Besh (at 8 p.m. Saturday, April 8). Skank to the sounds of the shofar at the District of Columbia Jewish Community Center, 1529 16th St. NW. Free-$25. (202) 518-9400. (Elissa Silverman)