Washington Jewish Music Festival Sound Byte: The Afro-Semitic Experience

A lot of lip service gets paid to the historic alliance between African-Americans and Jews. The actual experience of that history is a lot more complicated. All it takes is something like the recent media circus surrounding Reverend Jeremiah Wright to remind us that tensions below the surface can come gurgling to the surface with an intensity that evokes strong reactions and escalating rhetoric. By the time the shouting dies down, the gulf of misunderstanding has grown that much wider.

Warren Byrd and David Chevan of the Afro-Semitic ExperienceEnter The Afro-Semitic Experience on June 5th as part of the Washington Jewish Music Festival to narrow that gulf, if only a little. Led for nearly a decade by Warren Byrd and David Chevan, TASE not only talks the talk, but walks the walk by responding to racism and anti-Semitism with its unique fusion of Gospel, Klezmer, Jazz, Niggunim, Spirituals, Swing and straight-up Funk. Granted, the premise seems tailor-made to produce cheap warm fuzzies of racial tolerance–but TASE brings the chops that imbues their polyglot sound with artistic validity that is impossible to deny.

The only way to become a believer is to take a listen for yourself. The track below is “Nefesh” from This Is the Afro-Semitic Experience.


Tickets are on sale May 1 for the Washington Jewish Music Festival. The Festival begins June 1 with the Capital Celebration of Israel @ 60 on the National Mall featuring Regina Spektor, Mandy Patinkin and Mashina.
 

In Case You Were Expecting to see J.D. Salinger…

This post was an April Fools joke. I think it was pretty obvious, but people have believed more ridiculous stuff they’ve read on the internet. So just in case you didn’t notice there was no such date as April 31–there will be no reading by JD Salinger at the 16th Street J…this week anyway.

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