The outdoor gazebo of the Rossland Museum is set for a party on July 27 when Heavy Shtetl’s Klezmer and Eastern European roots music blends with dance instructor Slava Doval’s traditional Balkan, Russian, Jewish, and German steps.
The evening of music and folk dancing begins low key, with a 5:30 p.m. barbecue, and jumps into tunes and dancing at 6:30 p.m.
Doval will give a few solo performances, but she also plans to lead the audience in a number of traditional folk dances from around the world. In Nelson, where she currently teaches youth and adults, she is known for her fusion of her own Slavic roots with modern dance, Tango, Cumbia, and East Indian folk dance.
Her “Folk Fusion” classes combine fancy folk footwork with whirling dervish spins, big jumps, and dynamic balancing acts. She is also known for encouraging people to get on their feet and “in-joy” the festivities.
Heavy Shtetl’s members mostly hail from Nelson — with the exception of their tuba player since 2010, Michael Gifford of Warfield, known especially in Rossland for his leadership of the Joe Hill Coffeehouse — and the band have been entertaining the streets with their acoustic, old-world sound since 2006.
The band plays old standards from New Orleans, Jewish wedding music from Europe, a smattering of French, Russian, and Balkan tunes, and they sing and harmonize in five languages.
Rod Wilson reviewed Heavy Shtetl for the Townsman: “The band and its music is a refreshing change from the guitar dominated music of our times … The musicians in the band are not old but they are certainly ‘old worldly’. They are truly professional musicians who come from a mixture of backgrounds and who have played, and still play, in many diverse bands.”
Their sweet harmonies and pulsing beat gets an irresistible groove going, and the throwback to different musical eras, including traditional jazz, is a perfect match for the museum.
Jazz veteran Dmitro Woychuck will not be able to attend with his sax and clarinet, so Rossland’s own Vancouver Symphony clarinetist, Nicola Everton, has stepped up to fill his shoes. Anneke Rosch will work the trombone and trumpet while Catherine McGrath keys down on the accordion and mandolin.
The concert is a fundraiser, and Libby Martin of the museum said the money is earmarked “to replace the outdoor signage on the lower and upper levels [of the museum.]”
Ultimately, the museum hopes to replace all the signs with a standard design for an “updated and fresher look.”
Organizers recommend a lawn chair or blanket, but refuse to be deterred by weather and say the concert will go on, rain or shine.
Tickets are $18 for adults and $36 for a family of four (if both children are under 14), available at the museum and Rossland Pro hardware.