It’s back! Shir Madness heads to Sydney

August 23, 2018 by Geoff Sirmai
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SHIR MADNESS returns to Sydney celebratingthe Jewish contribution to music with 11 hours of joyous, funny, soulful & rocking performances of every imaginable kind. 25 acts will play on multiple, concurrent stages and a single ticket covers all acts, all day.

There will be a special kids’ concert too, plus artisan stalls and demonstrations, kosher food and drink… and much schmoozing!

Headlining the festival is thrilling New York band Nefesh Mountain (“where Bluegrass and Jewish traditions meet… and fall madly in love!”). Critically acclaimed by Rolling Stone and Billboard magazine, Doni Zasloff and Eric Lindberg together with their band are pioneers of a transcendent new genre – fusing the apparently disparate worlds of American Appalachian and Jewish traditions! Refreshingly eclectic, wildly spiritual. 

Super-popular Ilan Kidronand Glasscross over from jazz to pop and world music: Paris to New Orleans to Rio and beyond! Arguably Australia’s greatest contemporary composer, Elena Kats-Chernin, will play some of her most popular music and tell the stories around it from behind the keyboard. Melbourne musical comedian Jude Perl presents her catchy and hilarious satire, while Byron-based Temple of Songand multi-instrumentalist Shai Shriki marry music and spirit, leading a singing circle that weaves prayers, original texts and compositions in a total soulful musical experience that will have everyone singing!

 Pianist Simon Tedeschiand violist Roger Benedict play the Romantic ‘hits’ of Schubert, Schumann, Rachmaninov and Jewish-Viennese WWII refugee Hans Gal. Also featured are two NY-based Aussie musicians, Sephardic music doyen George Mordecai with “Baghdad to Bondi” featuring the most exotic of Eastern musicians and their instruments; and cabaret star and Helpmann nominee Alexis Fishman with her tribute to Amy Winehouse “Amy: Reimagined”.

Also appearing in the festival are Alma Zygier Quartet, Bonnie Love, Chelsea Berman, Dafka, Philip Foxman Band (ex Supernaut!), Graeme Pillemer, Harmony of the Angels, Hello Tut Tut, Jonno Zilber, Leonie Cohen & Nicky Crayson, Medicine Voice, On the Stoop, Phia, Raduga Trio, Tiptoe Giants and Keppie Coutts’ ‘swamp-folk operetta’ “The Mysteries of Mad River”.

Plus Song of Songs is returning as the final set of the night, starring the cream ofAustralia’s musical community singing one of their favourite songs by a Jewish composer. Names to be released soon… but previous festivals have featured Archie Roach, Claire Bowditch, Kate Ceberano, and Kate Miller-Heidke.

Festival Director Gary Holzman said he was excited to be holding this year’s festival at the newly renovated Emanuel Synagogue campus. “For the first time Shir Madness audiences will be able to experience all the incredible talent on offer in fully seated comfort! Our program this year will once again feature an astonishing variety of top class local, interstate and international acts covering all musical genres from classical to klezmer, jazz to Jewish music and cabaret to contemporary pop. It will be amazing!”


SHIR MADNESS for Sunday 7 October – from 11am ‘til late!


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