Sunday, August 29, 2004

Surreal Evening with (alleged) Jewish Twist

I know, I know, it's like 4am, and I should be asleep. Maybe I am asleep. Maybe I imagined the whole thing.

Just had an amazing evening. It only wound up about 3am, but I'm the person-on-call, hence still awake.

Let's backtrack a little: I'm in a field in Shropshire with about 300 Jewish people. Me and some buddies (I think I may have had a very minor role, it's just my grammar that puts me first) organised the first ever Limmudfest over the Bank Holiday weekend. It's a camping/outdoorsy multi-generational, cross-denominational weekend. We went through a few possible names: Burning Mensch, LimmudStock... but fest it is.

It's kinda exciting seeing something come to fruition: there's been walks, swimming, tennis, writing, singing, mysticism, text study. Something of a smorgasbord of Jewish stuff.

Because I'm on the core team, we've rota'd ourselves to be the responsible person, should Anything Terrible happen (we are Jewish, after all), hence the late hour. I will go to bed in a minute, and set my three mobile phones and walkie-talkie to VERY LOUD.

Tonight, we had a beautiful havdalah in the field next to the marquee (fire hazard, obviously). There's nothing quite like 300 people swaying with candles to make you think you're in a cult. Not, it was lovely, really.

Straight after that, we set up the bar in the back of the marquee, for NightFest. The evening opened with Pey Dalid, three Carlebachian brothers with Bob Marley influences. To follow, was Eitan G, aka The Jewish rapper (you may remember that I saw him at a gig in March). There was something surreal about both acts lyrics (make-a make-a make-a make-a ha'motzi, but rapped), and I ended up on stage with Emma and Benjy doing backing vocals (don't worry Mum, I didn't actually sing) and dancing. It was both fun and crazy; everyone was dancing and getting into it, some with more of a sense of irony than others.

Because our licence only ran till 12, we moved from the marquee into the theatre, and people were jamming and making full use of the complete set of percussion instruments we'd thoughtfully brought with us. Some incredible talents: a couple of great jazz singers, and a guy called Richard, who when he was playing the piano, I overheard the following conversation:
- He's a very talented pianist
- And he's also an oncologist, you know

Most surreal moment? Eitan G rapping with Pey Dalid backing him, and Laoise playing klezmer on the oud, and the kind of Israeli dancing people do at weddings (line dancing with a twist, basically), on stage in the background.

No, really.

I feel like I'm not doing this justice, but it's late, and I wanted to get my thoughts down before I keel over.

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