By David R. Cohen / firstname.lastname@example.org
Combining klezmer, ska and roots rock, Montreal-based Jump Babylon is leading the charge for the next generation of original Jewish rock music.
The group will kick off the 2015 Atlanta Jewish Music Festival on March 12 at Steve’s Live Music in Sandy Springs.
The festival will bring 10 Jewish music events to Atlanta over 12 days. Now in its sixth year, the festival has a strong emphasis on attracting young, intown Jews.
Listen to one of Jump Babylon’s songs and it’s easy to see why the high-energy group was selected to start the festival. Jump Babylon’s blend of roots, rock and reggae music speaks to a new generation of Jews who don’t want to just sit and listen.
“I want people to dance to this music,” bandleader Jason Rosenblatt said. “We have a few slower songs, but for the most part it’s dance music. At a festival like the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival, and especially at a rock club, I want to see people dancing.”
Jump Babylon formed in 2011 as an offshoot of traditional klezmer band Shtreiml. The band’s core members are part of Montreal’s Modern Orthodox community. The ensemble plays in clubs, pubs and venues across Montreal.
Rosenblatt is also the founder of the Montreal Jewish Music Festival, which is in its fifth year and takes place in August.
The March 12 concert will be the group’s first appearance in Atlanta.
Adopting and adapting the music of generations of Ashkenazi Jews in Eastern Europe and combining it with newer music forms have led Jump Babylon to fresh territory in Jewish music. Rosenblatt and company have created high-energy blues rock crossed with traditional klezmer influences. Think Dave Tarras meets Blues Traveler.
“I wasn’t hearing anything I really liked in the Jewish rock world,” Rosenblatt said. “Aside from Soul Farm and Moshav, there wasn’t anything that was really original in the music or lyrics. We wanted to write songs based on the Jewish immigrant experience in North America and based on biblical narratives. For the most part the song lyrics are in English; you have to listen to understand they come from biblical sources.”
Who: Jump Babylon
Where: Steve’s Live Music, 234 Hilderbrand Drive, Sandy Springs
When: 6:30 p.m. Thursday, March 12
Tickets: $15 general admission, $20 reserved seating