On the Caravan Orchestra

Journey with the Caravan Orchestra and Choir in Israel and Germany

Dr Katherine O'Lone, a researcher at the Woolf Institute, joins us in this episode to discuss our recent journey with the Caravan Orchestra and Choir, a performance ensemble that made its debut three years ago at Yiddish Summer Weimar in Weimar, Germany.

We followed the orchestra around Germany while they rehearsed and performed a blend of Yiddish and Arabic music, ending with three full-house concerts in Weimar, Leipzig, and Erfurt. We also interviewed the orchestra's musical directors, whom we will hear from throughout the episode.

The goal of the project is to explore new soundscapes, finding new links between the apparently disparate religious and cultural worlds of Europe and the Middle East. Music students from Germany met Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Muslim and Christian musicians from Haifa to perform this eclectic repertoire. Besides exploring the musical connections between these repertoires, we also questioned the effectiveness of the project. Can past shared musical legacies connect modern disparate identities?

Featuring Ilya Shneyveys, Sarah Myerson, Jiris Ballan, Luna Abu Nassar, Abigail Wood and Andreas Schmitgas.

Ilya Shneyveys is an international performer, accordionist and multi-instrumentalist, teacher, composer, arranger and producer of contemporary Jewish music, from klezmer and Yiddish folk song to fusion and experimental projects.

Sarah Myerson proudly serves the community of Kane Street Synagogue in Brooklyn, New York. She continues to write and perform new compositions, especially in Yiddish and Hebrew, and has developed a profile as a musician, speaker, educator and Yiddish dance teacher and leader.

Jiryis Ballan is a conductor, composer and buzuq player from Nazareth.

Luna Abu Nassar is a talented singer-songwriter from Nazareth – though she currently lives in Tel Aviv – and she sings both in Arabic and Hebrew. She has recorded and released several albums including 'Dawame'.

Dr Abigail Wood was awarded a PhD in ethnomusicology at Cambridge University and is currently a senior lecturer in the music department at the University of Haifa, Israel.

Andreas Schmitges is a professional klezmer musician on the guitar and mandolin, a band leader, dance leader, author, festival organiser and Yiddish activist.

Back to Podcast Series