This post first appeared on The Arty Semite blog at the Forward.
We can now add Kazan, the capital of the Tatarstan Republic in the Russian Federation, to the list of cities that host international Jewish music festivals. Early in June, the city was the site of Tatarstan’s first-ever Jewish music festival, which featured performances by artists from the U.S., Israel, Russia, Ukraine, Austria and Cuba.
Tatarstan is located about 500 miles east of Moscow, and Kazan is considered one of Russia’s largest cities. Most of the 3.8 million people living in the republic are either ethnic Tatars or ethnic Russians, and over half of them are Sunni Muslims.
Organizer Boris Lvovich, who put the event together along with Edward Tumansky, explained the importance of a Jewish music festival in predominantly Muslim Tatarstan, to The Kazan Herald. “I am first of all a native Kazan resident. I’ve worked with so many Tatar musicians and performers I can even understand some Tatar, yet I think it is paramount to understand that for a Muslim Republic such as Tatarstan to hold a Jewish Music festival is very symbolic of the peace we enjoy here,” he said.
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© 2012 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.