This September, Melbourne’s Festival of Jewish Arts and Music (FOJAM) is making its shining debut to celebrate Jewish artforms in all their wild, cutting-edge and beautiful splendour.
This year’s theme, ‘Walk on the Wild Side’, inspired by legendary Jewish post-punk pioneer Lou Reed, will bring together artists from across the globe who push boundaries, experiment with art forms, and open-up necessary conversations about identity, sexuality, gender, race and more, through their unquestionable talents.
Expect the unexpected, the subversive, the rebellious and the heroic, as FOJAM promises to deliver a festival that showcases the incredible diversity and vitality of intersectional Jewish identities. And everyone’s invited to come and engage with Jewish culture in a new and dynamic way: through the well-known vessel of the music festival.
FOJAM 2019 is set to highlight the incredible members of the Jewish community in ways that we know will leave us jaw-dropped and simply stunned, with acts across four stages in 12 hours. Have no fears about your schedule either, FOJAM is selling both daytime and evening passes, and just looking at the line-up set to perform already lets us know that we’re in for a real treat.
From our hometown heroes with the best band name of the decade, Approachable Members of Your Local Community, to international powerhouses Chris Cohen and Noga Erez (who are performing in Australia exclusively), everyone who comes to revel in the sound and song of these Jewish artists is sure to be blown away. The only thing to expect is the unexpected.
Here are only some of the artists and acts on FOJAM 2019’s lineup that you will not want to miss.
Transformer – A Tribute to Lou Reed
As the headline event for FOJAM, it goes without saying that this performance is a must-see. Gabriella Cohen has teamed up with Kate “Babyshakes” Dillon as musical directors of the event and have chosen artists to perform songs from Lou Reed’s endlessly iconic album Transformer. Be sure to catch the all-star lineup including Chris Cohen, international icon Vivien Goldman and the legendary Deborah Conway, who wait in the wings to do Lou Reed more than enough justice in what is to be a stunning tribute.
Noga Erez (Israel)
Proving herself to be a force in EDM Music with 2017’s Off the Radar and this year’s RADAR Reworked, Noga Erez will be closing FOJAM with an unmissable set of perfected electronic tunes that bring a unique flair to the scene. This Tel-Aviv based singer and producer takes notes from the likes of Bjork, Flying Lotus and Frank Ocean – and if you know what that means, be ready for something truly incredible and left of centre.
Chris Cohen (USA)
Former member of Deerhoof better known for his solo singer-songwriter projects, Chris Cohen always wears his heart on his sleeve, with songs that are drenched in suave sophistication and selfless waves of soul. This is best captured on his aptly self-titled 2019 project Chris Cohen, a personal and unnervingly open album that cements Cohen’s place as one of songwriting’s greatest.
Zackary Drucker (USA) & Nevo Zisin in Conversation: Intersecting Identities
That’s right folks, producer of the hit TV show ‘Transparent’ Zackary Drucker is teaming up with Jewish writer and activist Nevo Zisin to discuss the intersectionality of trans and Jewish identities. Playing true to this year’s theme, these two brilliantly queer and Jewish artists hope to open your eyes to how incredibly diverse and talented the global intersectional communities truly are. This is definitely one to catch.
Approachable Members of Your Local Community (Aus)
Colourful, poppy, charismatic and straight from down-under, AMOYLC are heading to FOJAM for an unforgettable performance. Acronyms aside, the neo-soul of these approachable young members of society will no doubt open your eyes to just how fun music can and should be.
Mary Ocher (Russia/Israel)
Performing her own music and a DJ set at this years FOJAM, avant-garde talent Mary Ocher is here to challenge your perceptions of sound and deconstruct the rules of music as you know it. With powerful albums that question notions of authority and identity such as The West Against the People and War Songs, Mary’s set will triumph against hate, and entertain you in unpredictable ways.
Vivien Goldman (UK) in conversation with Deborah Conway
Ever wondered what happens when you put two punk icons in one room? Well, rest at ease, for FOJAM is letting just that happen. Discussing their trailblazing efforts of the 80s, liberation through music, punks relation to the Jewish identity and so much more, these legendary women will be kicking off FOJAM in spectacular fashion. Be sure to catch more announcements regarding Vivien Goldman on July 24th!
There are many more incredible talks, storytelling, artists, bands and DJ sets that haven’t even be mentioned yet, but to find out about those you’ll have to catch this year’s unmissable FOJAM in Melbourne. Come and take a walk on the wild side and embrace your inner punk sensibilities, for a day of inclusion, experimentation, and some of the world’s most iconic Jewish talents ready to rock the boat.
Festival of Jewish Arts and Music
Sunday 8 September
Melbourne Recital Centre
Get to know more about the incredible artists and lineup here.