While this year has been incredibly difficult on performing artists, J-Pride is bringing four musicians together – and anyone else who joins in – for a digital folk music performance.
The J-Pride Virtual Concert and Open Mic show takes place on Sunday, Dec. 20, from 3 p.m. brings together a diverse group of musicians with a variety of backgrounds and stories to tell through their music. Registration is available online.
“I think the vision is to create an offering for people this season,” said Sarah Larsson, one of the four performers. “It would be more fun if we could all be together, but the livestreams create a homey opportunity to connect, even if through the screen.”
Larsson sings folk melodies in pursuit of her great-grandmothers’ stories. Solo vocal music and poetry in Yiddish, Hungarian, and Bulgarian, are accompanied by drone box and strings. Sarah sings with The Nightingale Trio and Nanilo, and is the creator of the new podcast, Folk Will Save Us.
Izzy Buckner, who performs under the stage name Tuffy Red, said they are influenced by punk and folk music because of their political content and accessible instrumentation.
“The first 10 years I played was just me playing in my bedroom and playing when I thought no one could hear me,” said Buckner, who is a founding member of the Minneapolis-based Ungrateful Little String Band. “Then I started writing songs and started feeling like I wanted to be brave and share my music. And I really like playing with other people.”
Tzipporah, a Minneapolis-based singer-songwriter-educator, has started using her Hebrew name, but didn’t want to be known as a Jewish musician – just a musician.
“I came to the realization that these things are all a part of who I am,” she said on this week’s Who The Folk?! Podcast. “And even if I’m not always explicitly writing for a Jewish audience, it still influences the way that I look at music and the mission of my music. Now, I feel more comfortable incorporating Hebrew and Jewish themes, bits of Jewish folk songs into my music as a part of it, even if it’s not necessarily explicitly talking about Jewish issues.”
Masha Trius, who was born in Leningrad, USSR, and grew up in Haifa, was raised on Russian and Ashkenazi music, and now collects and performs Yiddish folk songs in their spare time. They received a grant from the Minneapolis Federation to arrange and transcribe lead sheets for Yiddish music. Although not a professional musician, they bring deep knowledge and interest in musicology.
“Music is a repository of consciousness that is universal, as well as specific,” they said. “All of us who live in a space share a musical heritage and we’ll take our own spins on it. All the music that is going to be played on December 20 is Jewish Music, insofar as it is performed by Jews insofar as that it is about Jewish themes and Jewish experiences, regardless of what else it’s pulling from.”