World Music Festival

Lenore Naxon Articles, Arts & Ideas — By on December 19, 2011 9:27 am

Wang Xin Xin

Each Fall, our Kanbar Hall hosts the San Francisco World Music Festival, an extraordinary gathering of traditional music masters from the far reaches of the world, who come to San Francisco to share their gifts with Bay Area children and their families.

Our building was bustling with visitors from all around the world. JCCSF staffer Brandon Battaglia stated: “Highlights for me included…the aromas of home-cooked Indian food wafting throughout the second floor. The brightly colored attire of the Indian women lit up our atrium. The epic manas shaman that had the audience in a trance. The South Indian Youth Ensemble and their angelic voices, the very talented Azerbaijan musicians and clothing, the very humorous Kyrgyz musician playing his fretless lute with his feet…and Mandjou from West Africa performing her set with her baby saddled to her back.

One of the other things that made me happy was that we catered to schools. The children were 100% fascinated with the performance. I hope this continues.

Given the magnitude of organizing such a show, it’s a wonder it goes off as well as it does. I hope more staff get to experience this awesome, triumphant festival in the future.”

House manager Jen Tait observed: “I am glad to say that I can share their music and cultural exchange. This year, the jaw harp trio and the voice of Gulare Mikayil Qizi Zaynalova were the moments that swept me and the audience across the world into the pure sounds from Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. It’s a tall task to get school matinee kids to be quiet – and they were mesmerized!”

And esteemed scholar Simon Sebag Montefiore, who lectured on Jerusalem in an adjoining room was moved by seeing an African musician sitting with her baby, warming up on a xylophone for the evening’s world music festival.

“I love this place, by the way, the JCC. I’ve never seen such a majestic palace of Judaism in all my life. Even the Temple of Solomon or King Herod couldn’t have approached anything like this, surely. So I’m dazzled. In England, we don’t have anything like this. Jews walk tall in San Francisco. That’s great.” – Simon Sebag Montefiore

(Featured picture: Rufat Hasanov)

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