Jewish folk music in Canada is being revived through Zoom

Josh Dolgin, a.k.a Socalled, with a 20-piece jazz band, during a pre-recorded performance that will air for this year's Ashkenaz Festival. (Photo courtesy Eric Stein)

KlezKanada and the Ashkenaz Festival are some of the largest Jewish and Yiddish arts celebrations in North America, and both are being held mostly virtually this year because of COVID-19. As the pandemic has upended cultural events around the country, so too has it forced these two renowned annual celebrations to figure out new ways to reach fans of Yiddish and Jewish culture.

Despite the hurdles, both events are gearing up for innovative programs this year, and organizers from KlezKanada have even said their audiences have grown in 2021, because technology has swung open their doors beyond geography.

On today’s episode of The CJN Daily podcast, we’ll hear from the artistic director of Ashkenaz and the executive director of KlezKanada about what to expect this year from both festivals. Plus, the host of Winnipeg’s Jewish radio hour joins to explain why she feels the pandemic may have actually saved Yiddish music.

Watch the full, uncut interview on the current state of Yiddish and Jewish music:

Listen and subscribe above.

What we talked about:

The CJN Daily is written and hosted by Ellin Bessner (@ebessner on Twitter). Victoria Redden is the producer. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Dov Beck-Levine. Our title sponsor is Metropia. We’re a member of The CJN Podcast Network; find more great Jewish podcasts at