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Jewish music, arts and culture.

The Ashkenaz Festival is one of the largest and most prestigious showcases of Jewish music and culture anywhere in the world.  Since 1995, the festival has taken place biennially at Harbourfront Centre, Toronto’s premier venue for the presentation of world and folk culture and for the meeting of diverse communities through the arts. Originally founded as a showcase for Klezmer and Yiddish music and culture, the Ashkenaz Festival has evolved over the years into an eclectic showcase of global Jewish art and culture, encompassing not merely the traditions of eastern Europe, but also Sephardic, Mizrachi and Israeli culture, and all manner of cross-cultural fusion. The Festival is offered 90% free to the public and attracts a multicultural audience of over 60,000 people. Nowhere else in the world does so large and diverse an audience come together to experience Jewish cultural arts. Though strongly focused on music, Ashkenaz is a multidisciplinary festival, including dance, theatre, film, literature and talk, visual arts, and kids/family programs. Ashkenaz usually features over 80 performances and 200+ individual artists, hailing from across Canada and around the world. Over the years, Ashkenaz has presented artists from over 25 countries and 6 continents.

Their blend of bluegrass and old-time traditions with Jewish spirit and soul has been heard across the US, including their recent debut at Nashville’s iconic Grand Old Opry.
Queen Kong’s collective CV spans Balkan punk, hip-hop brass, classical ensembles, reggae, traditional jazz and Brazilian psych-rock
Joined in his latest project by pianist Roy Mor, bassist David Michaeli and drummer Nitzan Birnbaum, Abate Berihun presents original compositions, Ethiopian-Jewish soul music and songs inspired by Jewish prayers.
Mostly Kosher, the acclaimed Klezmer/Rock Band, radically reconstructs Judaic and American cultural music through ravenous klezmer beats and arresting Yiddish refrains. Led by frontman Leeav Sofer, Mostly Kosher is comprised of some of the highest regarded LA musicians: violinist Janice Mautner Markham, drummer Eric Hagstrom, bassist Adam Levy, accordionist Gee Rabe, trombonist Taylor Covey and Aníbal Seminario on clarinet and sax.
Kundish and Farrell warmly invite audiences into this poetic musical world they have been creating together since 2013. The combination of rigorous and subtle precision, flights of virtuosity, and emotional presence they bring to the stage make their performances thrilling and satisfying experiences.
Pulkes is a Balkan-Klezmer band that was formed in 2018 within the walls of the city of Jerusalem. The band has already performed in a variety of festivals around the country and around the world. : InDNegev, Expo 2020-Dubai, Tower of David, festivals tour in Canada and more.
Zhenya’s songs ring deeply familiar. They stir the soul and awake memories even for those who are too young to remember. And for those old enough to know, the sounds transport them to a world cut short by war and migration. She is joined by Oren Neiman, renowned guitarist and composer whose compositions explore a combination of Jazz sensibility with Middle Eastern rhythms and melody.
ROMada is an amazing new ensemble exploring the rich pan-national musical traditions of the Romani people through a Canadian lens.
The 2022 Ashkenaz Festival will open with the North American Premiere of a new program of Women’s Cantorial Music featuring Cantors Sveta Kundish, Rachel Weston, and Judith Berkson, together with music director Patrick Farrell and an all-star ensemble.
Nani Noam Vazana is one of few artists in the world that writes & composes new songs in Ladino, a language that only 150 families worldwide speak. Together with her trio, the fiery sound or Spanish guitars blend seamlessly with her powerful vast vocals & her lyrical trombone playing. Even De Volkskrant named it “A Must-See Show”!
Inspired by the New Orleans Hot Jazz pioneers of the 1920s and 1930s, they offer up a repertoire rich in history, as well as original compositions inspired by this period. The unique sound of Les Royal Pickles has made them an essential part of Montreal nightlife, music festivals and dance competitions alike.
Combining elements of the ancient with the modern, the avant-garde with the traditional, and the classical with folk, award-winning artist Chloe Pourmorady is joined by a world-class ensemble of musicians from Argentina, Egypt, Iran, Canada and the U.S.
Dumai Dunai is a dub-punk Slavic folk band from Montreal formed in 2021. Rooted in the folk singing traditions of singer Natalia Telentso’s homeland of Ukraine and melodies inspired by Juno-nominated bandleader Eli Camilo’s extensive adventures in the lands of the Danube, the band powers these influences with deep dubbed-out grooves and the energy of punk rock.
Ashkenaz Festival founding Artistic Director David Buchbinder is joined by accordionist Michael Ward Bergeman and multi-instrumentalist Mark Rubin in an adventurous and playful new trio. The group explores the intersections of multiple musical tributaries originating in the cultures of the Jews, Roma and African Americans.