This year's edition of the Montreal Jewish Music Festival is bringing more international flavour than ever before.

Artistic director Jason Rosenblatt said he was able to program more international acts this year than in the festival's four previous years.

“This year we wanted to find people from all over the world. Musicians who are giving their own voice to a tradition, but with a unique spin. From Cuban jazz, to Buenos Aires beats, I want to show that Jewish musical communities exist around the world,” Rosenblatt said.

The festival, which runs from Aug. 24 to 28, will bring musicians from over 15 countries to perform their brand of Jewish music in Montreal venues like Sala Rossa and the Segal Centre.

“I deliberately selected bands for the festival that stretch people's imaginations of what defines Jewish music. It's much more than just klezmer," Rosenblatt said.

Rosenblatt said aiming for an increasingly international roster is an expensive endeavour, and enticing bands from places like Berlin and London involved crafty negotiation.

“Some artists see coming to the Montreal Jewish Music Festival as a way of entering the North American market. They’re coming to our festival at a reduced rate because there’s a chance someone will see them here and end up booking them for a show in New York or elsewhere," he said.

Listen to Raji Sohal's feature on the Jewish Music Festival here

Here are three acts to catch:

Dudu Tassa & The Kuwaitis

Singer-songwriter Dudu Tassa digs into his Jewish-Iraqi roots to make what he calls “Iraq’n’roll.” Tassa salutes his heritage by singing in Arabic and Hebrew while playing guitar.

Mobile users: Watch it here


Sandaraa brings musicians from Lahore and Brooklyn together to create a sound that surfs Eastern European folk and South Asia with infectious melodies.

Mobile users: Watch it here


More than a few Montreal Jewish Festival acts have come with a “What do you call this?!” proviso. Latvia’s Forshpil falls into this category. The psych-rock band perform Yiddish love songs that they describe as Pink Floyd and the Doors jamming at a Jewish wedding.

Mobile users: Watch it here



  • A previous version of this article said the Montreal Jewish Music Festival runs from Aug. 22-24. It actually runs from Aug. 24-28. CBC News regrets the error.
    Aug 24, 2014 8:36 AM ET