March 12 is opening night for the 6th annual Atlanta Jewish Music Festival. The following 11 days promise a medley of traditional and contemporary Jewish entertainment. The festival incorporates an eclectic mix of artists and Jewish community leaders, embodying the panoptic diversity within the community, which the festival hopes to illuminate.
Kicking off the festival is Canadian ska/rock band Jump Babylon. They’ll set the tone with their contagious, unorthodox sound at Steve’s Live Music in Sandy Springs. The festivities take a more conventional turn with Shabbat (Hebrew Sabbath) Service with music from Ahavath Achim Synagogue and Congregation Bet Haverim. They will lead the sacred Jewish Kirtan chants to celebrate Jewish tradition on Friday, March 13. The festival returns to Steve’s the next night where alternative Americana songstress, Zale, celebrates the impending release of her first solo album, Fortress. On Sunday, festival goers are invited to get funky for a cause with the 4th Ward Afro-Klezmer Orchestra and Tony Levitas as they entertain runners at the 31st annual Hunger Run/Walk at Turner Field. Also on Sunday, Red Heifers plays Congregation Beth Shalom, which is also where you can catch Rabbi Brian Glusman, Sammy Rosenbaum, and local musicians performing on Friday, March 20. On Saturday, the party turns up at Variety Playhouse with Yael Deckelbaum and Diwan Saz.
Amidst this lofty lineup is the notion that music can transcend “the blurred lines between religion and culture.” The festival seeks to strengthen Atlanta’s Jewish community, a demographic that has proved elusive over the years. At it’s core the AJMF seeks to foster an interest in Jewish identity through modern culture. To learn more about the mission of the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, visit atlantajmf.org.