Queen Kong

~ Global Roots/Jazz

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Thursday, November 30

7:30 p.m.

$30 / members $25.50 / youth $15

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Queen Kong is an exploration of sounds inspired by the Radical Jewish Culture movement in New York founded by pioneer John Zorn. Led by Toronto drummer, vocalist and composer, Lorie Wolf, Queen Kong seamlessly blends Ashkenazi Jewish idiom with jazz, free improv, rock and punk to explore new sounds and ideas. 

Queen Kong do not play traditional klezmer per se - or at least, not as Queen Kong, which focuses on Wolf’s original material. (Most of the members moonlight in Horah Machine, a popular Toronto Jewish wedding band.) Queen Kong’s collective CV spans Balkan punk, hip-hop brass, classical ensembles, reggae, traditional jazz and Brazilian psych-rock, while Fray also features the contributions of NYC klezmer clarinet wizard Michael Winograd. Their uniting musical influence is the world of veteran New York City composer John Zorn, whose eclectic Masada and Bar Kokhba projects aim to create a new klezmer canon of “radical Jewish culture” drawing from all sorts of disparate musical influences. That’s Queen Kong’s template as well.

To be thrown “into the fray” is to enter an intense situation. Fray is also a Yiddish word meaning “Free”; an apropos double-entendre with on-point application. Queen Kong’s debut album, Fray, was created during tumultuous times and perilous futures, seeking inspiration and paths forward rooted in the rich tradition of klezmer music. During a time of unraveling, Fray is a unifying statement, merging myriad influences to create something unique.

Queen Kong features Toronto's top young jazz and world music performers, improvisers, movers and shakers; Tom Richards, (Tuba), Max Forster (Trumpet), Michael Winograd (Clarinet) Nate Dell-Vandenberg (Trombone) Graham Campbell (Guitar), and Lorie Wolf (Bandleader, Vocals, Drums), with regular appearances by Allison Au (Sax), Tania Gill (Piano), Beth Silver (Cello), Michael Herring (Bass), Virginia MacDonald (Clarinet), Nolan Murphy (Tuba), Jaron Freeman-Fox (Violin), Majd Sekkar (Clarinet) Brett Higgins (Bass) and Rebecca Hennessey (Trumpet).

“Seriously, how can you not pay attention to a futuristic klezmer band that has it’s grooves informed by Hasidic new wave? … Wildly world beat, it’s a sure fire gasser for anyone that likes grooves from elsewhere that march to their own beat.” - Chris Spector, Midwest Record

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