An educational journey in Romanian and Yiddish storytelling, music and dance.
This wonderful project – created in collaboration with Sue McCall (Harrow Music Service) – brings together some of the UK’s best educators in Eastern European music to inspire students with a rich programme of folk tales and song. Primary School children explore the colour and energy of the four seasons through interactive sessions that include instrumental workshops, puppetry and dance.
The programme gives each child the opportunity to learn the accordion, one of the central instruments in both Romanian and Yiddish folk music. Children also learn special songs and dances that represent the different seasons.
Classes are led by renowned klezmer clarinettist Susi Evans, who is supported by expert klezmer musicians Simon Roth (percussion), Zivorad Nikolic (accordion) and Paul Moylan (double bass).
Sue McCall, Head of Music Tuition at Harrow Arts Centre says of “Anotimpurile: The Four Seasons”:
“This programme has been piloted in Harrow and has proved very successful for several reasons. The musicians from the Jewish Music Institute are not only highly skilled in their disciplines but also have a wealth of knowledge of Romanian songs and dance music, infused with Yiddish tradition and culture. One of these musicians who leads the project, Monooka, is a wonderfully child centred practitioner and a singer of great power and beauty. She is also a consummate story teller – whether through puppets, singing or language. In addition to this, the children embark on the first stages of accordion playing and are delighted with the instrument. Of course there are along the way several children for whom this particular cultural adventure strikes a poignant chord and for whom this is an affirmation of their culture – many who are at the start of their lives in Britain, so this is well timed! I wholeheartedly recommend this programme as one which not only enriches the music curriculum but also relates to other areas of the curriculum”
If you are interested in Anotimpurile: The Four The Seasons for your school, shul or community centre, please contact JMI’s Education and Development Manager Raphael Knapp: firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 0207 898 4307
Yiddish song project for primary school children in Canvey Island
In 2018 Jewish Music Institute partnered with Essex Cultural Diversity Project and Essex Music Hub for the first time to offer workshops at various schools in Canvey Island ending with a community concert to celebrate Hanukkah.
Canvey Zingt! celebrated Yiddish language, history and culture through song (‘zingt’ meaning ‘sing’). It gave school children the chance to experience Jewish music played by world-class professionals from London-based band Don Kipper, with workshops led by musician, writer and composer Joseph Finlay, who taught the children arrangements of Yiddish songs.
Charly Richardson, Music Service Lead Officer for Essex County Council:
“A number of Haredi Jewish families have recently relocated from Stamford Hill in North-East London to Canvey Island. We are all thrilled to have this great opportunity to work with our partners and the community to celebrate and learn more about Yiddish music and culture.”
Indi Sandhu, Creative Director Essex Cultural Diversity Project:
“We are very honoured to work with Essex Music Education Hub and The Jewish Music Institute in a very exciting commissioned project in Canvey Island to support Culturally Diverse activity in the area.”
Joseph Finlay, Canvey Zingt! Workshop leader:
“I am thrilled to be leading Canvey Zingt – it’s a joy to teach Yiddishsong, language and culture to students with little or no experience of Jews and Judaism. I feel this is a great way of teaching cultural diversity – focussing on a diasporic culture, showing that many languages belong to peoples not states, and that in any area there will be many languages being spoken. It’s wonderful to see the students embrace Yiddish song in all its variety, religious, secular, comic and sad. I hope it provides a template for similar projects.”
The project was funded by Essex Cultural Diversity Project and Essex Music Education Hub (using funding from Arts Council England). It was produced by Essex Music Education Hub and delivered by Jewish Music Institute.