Festival of Jewish Arts & Music
Formerly Shir Madness Melbourne, the inaugural Festival of Jewish Arts and Music (FOJAM) takes over the Melbourne Recital Centre for a day of music, performance, moving image, talks and storytelling on Sunday 8 September.
Prompted by Lou Reed’s urgent call to ‘Walk on the Wild Side’, this year’s program features over 140 artists who are breaking with convention to carve new paths.
Noga Erez (Israel), Deborah Conway, Vivien Goldman, Chris Cohen (US), Gabriella Cohen, oren ambarchi & crys cole, Gideon Obarzanek, Zackary Drucker (US), Asis D’Orange (Israel), YID!, AAA (Abrahams, Avenaim, Ambarchi), Mary Ocher (RUS), Yidcore, Israel Aloni, Nevo Zisin, George Dreyfus
Get your FOJAM Festival Pass!
Valid from 10:30am – 4:30pm
$90 Standard / $70 Concession
Valid from 5pm – 11pm
$90 Standard / $70 Concession
Full Festival Pass
Valid from 10:30am – 11pm
$180 Standard / $140 Concession
Valid from 10:30am – 11pm and includes Meet & Greet opportunities with artists
A Transaction Fee between $5.50 and $8 applies to orders made online and by phone. A Delivery Fee of up to $5.50 may also apply.
Indie-pop artist Gabriella Cohen serves as musical director for the festival’s headline event in which artists including Alex Gow (Oh Mercy), Emily Lubitz (Tinpan Orange), Bella Venuti (IV League) and ARIA-winning post-punk legend Deborah Conway perform tributes to songs from Lou Reed’s iconic album Transformer. Former directors of the festival Conway and Willy Zygier also curate and perform in ‘Song of Songs’, a tribute to Jewish composers and songwriters.
Among the international headliners coming to Australia for the first time are Israeli beatmaker and producer Noga Erez; American singer-songwriter Chris Cohen, formerly of the band Deerhoof; stalwart British journalist and performer Vivien Goldman (aka “the Punk Professor”).
YID!, the 22-piece avant-garde funk and klezmer ensemble joins the line-up, along with Yidcore, the beloved Melbourne punks, reforming for the first time since their infamous 2011 reunion.
Chris Abrahams, the pianist in legendary group The Necks, joins forces with Robbie Avenaim and Oren Ambarchi to form AAA, a project that explores the extreme sonic outer limits of their instruments. Ambarchi will also perform alongside his collaborator in musical synthesis, Canadian sound artist Crys Cole to perform ‘Hotel Record’.
Curator and choreographer Gideon Obarzanek brings his ‘Circle Dance’ work, based on an Israeli folk dance, to one of the Centre’s many performance spaces for the festival.
Zackary Drucker, a multimedia artist and LGBT activist, will speak about her work as a producer on the TV series Transparent and the intersections of queer and Jewish identities in one of the festival’s panel discussions. Elsewhere on the program, ‘Spun Stories’ invites five writers to join a storytelling slam in the spirit of the original Knitting Factory on New York’s Lower East Side.
FOJAM’s diverse program explores the ways Jewish identity, culture and life are expressed in the arts.