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Shir Madness 2013: Sydney Jewish Music Festival

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by Belle Gowrie (subscribe)
freelancer and tap dancer
Shir Madness in Bondi
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Shir Madness 2013, Bondi Beach, NSW, image source:

It was Shir Madness at Bondi Beach, NSW on Sunday the first day of summer 2013! I was lucky enough to attend to this years Sydney Jewish Music Festival. Starting in 2010, Shir Madness has quickly grown into a premier annual Sydney music event, to celebrate international and local musical talents from a wide range of styles. It was not like any cultural music event I have ever experienced. I had an absolute ball. With a backdrop of Bondi Beach, NSW, it is the perfect way to celebrate the start of a Sydney Summer.

Tinpan Orange by Nikki Kaplan

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Tinpan Orange, performing at Shir Madness 2013, Bondi Beach, NSW

Out of the many exceptional performances, three stood out for me. The first was Victorian folk band Tinpan Orange. I only arrived at the end of their performance but immediately rushed into the 'Beautiful Noise' tent in the Bondi Pavilion to catch the mesmerising vocals by Emily Lubitz and accompanying violin.

Rapskallion by David Goldman

Rapskallion, performing at Shir Madness 2013, Bondi Beach, NSW

The second act which I loved was another Victorian success, Rapskallion. Fronted by Sara Yael, this bohemian band combines the Eastern European influences of klezmer with rock, jazz and cabaret to form a fantastically unique sound. The drama and energy created onstage by Rapskallion was an absolutely sensation. Sara got the audience on their feet with her theatrics. I was captivated from start to finish and danced my way through the finale.

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Joshua Nelson, performing at Shir Madness 2013, Bondi Beach, NSW

The third performance which was again, unlike anything I have ever heard or experienced was the headliner Joshua Nelson from the USA. Joshua is an African-American Jew, who is leading the way with the new music style of kosher gospel. He draws from the wonderful energy and spirit of American gospel and combines it with his Jewish faith and spirituality to bring an unusual, phenomenal performance. Joshua's voice is beyond words. Powerful, amazing, overwhelmingly exceptional. I feel very privileged to have seen Joshua live and will one day feel proud to say 'I saw him perform at Bondi Beach in 2013'. He is a star.

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View from Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Beach, NSW

What I loved about Shir Madness was that I felt the awe and thrill of a different cultural event that you would normally experience abroad, in an unexplored city. It is an event that can be enjoyed by music lovers from all walks of life and spirituality. The atmosphere was infectious and I found myself dancing with other young revellers to the energetic music, without a care for how I looked or how silly my moves were. It was all about carefree fun and showing lively appreciation for musical talent.

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Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Beach, NSW

Shir Madness was located this year at the Bondi Pavilion, Bondi Beach, NSW. It ran from 1.00pm to 10.00pm and had huge range of performers, with styles ranging from folk, pop, klezmer, classical, mowtown, jazz and rock to name a few. Food stalls and a central eating plaza kept festival goers well fed, with plenty of tables and chairs to sit and enjoy with friends.

Beach, exceptional music, fun, culture and spirituality to be enjoyed by all - this is an event not to be missed next summer in 2014.
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*Belle Gowrie was invited as a guest
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Why? Fun, musical day out!
When: 1 December 2013
Where: Bondi Pavilion, Queen Elizabeth Dr, Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Cost: On the day prices include: $65 for Adults, $40 for concessions and under 25, $135 for family, and kids under 12 are free!
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