The first of this year’s brace of Jewish festivals gets under way this week. Philip Parr discovers that this is the locals’ chance for fame.
The Israel Philharmonic, The Amadeus Trio, Benny Green and films by Allen, Simon and The Marx Brothers all help to make November’s Festival ofJewish Culture one of the biggest ‘community’ events of 1990. This summer, it is the turn of Glasgow‘s own Jewish community to take to the boards. The names ofArnold Rabinowitz, Anna Antebi and Linda Raskin may not be as familiar but ‘Summer Events’ organiser, Judith Tankel, is convinced that they are worth the effort which she has put in over the last year.
‘It takes an awful lot of work to put on this kind of thing,’ says a nonetheless buoyant Tankel. ‘It would really not have been possible at all without the umbrella ofThe Festival ofJewish Culture in the autumn. The last time we had one of them was in 1951 so this is really a great achievement. In the summer concerts, some of the performers are professional and some aren‘t, but they’re all really talented. Linda Raskin is hilarious— she does a really brilliant Margaret Thatcher. She writes really quickly. her poems come out in this long stream and she covers all aspects of life — she‘s a kind ofGIaswegian Pam Ayres.’
I wondered if Raskin's performance was typical of those which would make up the four variety concerts in the summer events. After all, if this was a Festival ofJewish Culture surely one could expect traditional Jewish entertainment.
‘Not really‘, sastudith. ‘the idea of the week’s events is to provide a stage on which Jewish artists could perform. The autumn festival will be a real extravaganza but we thought that it was really important to give the local community a chance as well. What they do when they‘re on the stage is really up to them — we haven‘t pressurised them in any way at all. (Except we think that the singers should include one or two songs by a Jewish writer.) We‘ve got a really talented trombonist, Sarah Gordon, on as part ofthe youth night and we would never stop her from performing just because she couldn‘t do anything by a Jewish composer.
‘The one event which is traditionally Jewish is the concert of Klezmer music. Klezmer bands were groups ofitinerant musicians who roamed around eastern Europe at the end of the 19th and beginning of
the 20th century. Ofcourse. it was all destroyed by Hitler but there’s been quite a revival recently. The music is wonderfully lively and energetic and it really appeals to the Jewish soul. Also, even though the singing is done in Yiddish. I think that it‘s very accessible music — you don‘t have to be Jewish to love it.‘
While the concerts will provide the kind ofcommunity opportunities which have been such a constant (if rarely achieved) aim of the 1990 organisers. the highlights ofthe summer could be found in the art world.
‘One ofthe catalysts ofthe the whole festival was Benno Schotz' says Judith of the former head of
Glasgow School of Art. freeman of the city and world renowned sculptor. ‘His son Amiel, was really keen for us to exhibit some of his work and so we‘ve managed to open up his old studio to the public for a week. Some of his best (and biggest) work will be on display in the garden. So many of his sculptures sit in Glasgow all the year round and nobody usually gets the chance to see them. Although he was very famous he was still an active member of the local Jewish community. He never learned how to drive and there are many people who can remember him standing at the bus stop with a head under his arm (sculpted ofcourse).‘ (Philip Parr)
I All concerts will be at Eastwood House, Rouken Glen, Glasgow. All tickets £4 (£3).
7.30pm: Competed by Tony Goodman.
I Ivor Plotniltoil Folk singer.
I Aubrey Gerberlazz piano.
I Cantor Earnest Levy
Popular and Jewish songs.
I Linda Raskin Recital of Senga at The Burrell.
I Irene Conway Songs International.
7.30pm: Compared by Anna Antebi.
I Pearl Getter and Hilary Rosin Piano Duo.
I Eddie Binnie Popular
7.30pm: An evening with Glasgow Jewish youth. competed by Paolo de Rosa.
I Arnold Rabinowitz Talk on Jewish Humour.
I Sheila Osbourne Humoresque.
I Samantha Levine and Michael Barnett Jazz Duo. I Giles Woolison 16 year-old magician.
I Michael Barnett Piano. I Sarah Gordon Trombonist from The
Scottish Opera Orchestra.
I Mandy Zinger Songs from the shows.
8pm: Competed by Edith Brill.
I Victor Rosenberg and his Klezmer Group.
I Amiel Schotz Glasgow/Israeli entertainer.
I Evelyn Cowan Excerpt from ‘Spring Remembered‘.
I Lewis and Lynne Harvey Allan Note Ability.
I Ellis Sopher Poetry Recital.
I Benno Schotz The sculpture garden and studio at 2 Kirklee Road. Glasgow will be open to the public. Includes several of Schotz‘s sculptures which were last seen at the Glasgow Garden Festival. Admission 50p.
Summertime reading . . .
THE MAGIC FLUTE
A novel by Alan Spence £12.95 hbk Available .\ lay l 990 VIOLET jACOB Diaries and Letters from India 1895—1900 Edited by
Carol Anderson £16.95 Itbk
THE CORN KING AND THE SPRING QUEEN
(Introduction by the author) By Naomi Mitchison £6.95 pbk
DANCE OF THE APPRENTICES
(Introduction by james (lalnpbell) By Edward Gaitens
LINMILL STORIES (Introduction by Annand)
By Robert McLeIIan £5.95 pbk
THE LIFE OF ROBERT BURNS
(Introduction by Tom Crawford) By Catherine Carswell £5.95 pbk
I 7‘lt‘f'frt'y Sll't’t'l I'Zdilibtlrglt I'ZHI IDR
The List 17— 23 August 1990105