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Rogovoy Report For 7/17/15

I have to confess that I am of course partial to this weekend’s YIDSTOCK Festival of New Yiddish music, an international four-day event featuring klezmer concerts, dance and instrumental workshops, lectures, film programs and all kinds of fun stuff, at the Yiddish Book Center in Amherst, as I helped put it together. So let me just say that up front, but also to let you know that there are still tickets available to tonight’s concert by the Yiddish Art Trio at 5pm; Saturday night’s show by hip-hop Yiddish-fusion artist Socalled, with special guests, at 8pm; and Sunday afternoon’s unique show at 3pm by Lorin Sklamberg of the Klezmatics and two of Europe’s greatest Yiddish musicians – clarinetist Merlin Shepherd, from Wales by way of Brighton; and vocalist Polina Shepherd, from Tatarstan by way of Brighton. There’s nothing else like Yidstock outside of major cities like Toronto, Krakow, or New York City, and the festival has events all day today through Sunday night.

Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let me tell you what else is going on this weekend. I’m excited about the program at Tannery Pond Concerts at the Darrow School in New Lebanon, N.Y. Typically the series presents trios and quartets playing standard classical repertory, and indeed string quartet Brooklyn Rider, performing on Saturday night at 8, will play works by Haydn and Schubert. But the ensemble will also tackle contemporary compositions they have commissioned by avant-jazz guitarist/composer Bill Frisell, jazz pianist/composer Vijay Iyer, and Glenn Kotche of indie-rock band Wilco. This bodes well for the future of the Tannery Pond series, and hopefully it will attract a new and more diverse audience that may become regular attendees of this great summer program.

Likewise, PS21 in Chatham is broadening its program a bit, perhaps in an effort to appear to a more diverse audience, by bringing The Villalobos Brothers, an ensemble that blends the richness of Mexican folk music with the intricate harmonies of jazz and classical, on Saturday at 8pm. Along with the music, which features “high-octane Mexican fiddling,” the group incorporates theatrical elements into their performance.

Lynn Cohen, perhaps best known for her role as Magda in TV’s “Sex and the City,” stars as Grandma Kurnitz in Neil Simon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy “Lost in Yonkers,” a heartfelt and hilarious coming-of-age story by America’s great comic playwright, running at Barrington Stage Company now through August 1.

Singer-songwriter Iris DeMent brings her Grammy Award-nominated country-folk songs to Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday at 8pm. Since her debut in 1992 with “Infamous Angel,” DeMent has been regarded in musical circles as an authentic living legend, the last of fourteen children born in a Pentecostal household in Arkansas, who spent her childhood immersed in gospel and traditional country music.

Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkshire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available online at rogovoyreport.com