Arturo O’Farrill’s Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra “From Bagels to Bongos” Highlights DC Jazz Festival June 9

Celebrating the Convergence of Jewish and Latin Music

Leen Zada

WASHINGTON, May 20, 2013 — From Bagels to Bongos: Falafel, Fajitas, Mambo and Borscht, featuring Arturo O’Farrill’s Grammy Award-winning Afro Latin Jazz Orchestra (ALJO), joined by special guests Steven Bernstein and Anat Cohen is an innovative and exciting feature of the 2013 DC Jazz Festival (DCJF). The concert, at Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, will take place on Sunday, June 9 at 7:00 PM. The DCJF, with more than 125 performances throughout the nation’s capital, runs from June 5-16.

From Bagels to Bongos—with special guests Steven Bernstein and Israel’s Anat Cohen—features the virtuosic, sizzling eighteen piece big band, the convergence of “classic” traditional Jewish music and Latin jazz, includingworks by legends such as Tito Puente, Machito, and Chico O’Farrill.

“This unique concert explores a convergence of cross-cultural musical styles from the Catskills, Northern Africa, Iberia and the Middle East,” said DCJF Executive Producer Charles Fishman. “The program exemplifies Arturo and the ALJO’S commitment to presenting a large and diverse picture of Afro Latin jazz that acknowledges and celebrates its past, while embracing innovation and experimentation that propels the music forward.”

“Afro Latin jazz has been deeply impacted by the support of the Jewish community, particularly in the New York region and especially by what is commonly called the Borscht Belt, a popular area for Jewish resorts in upstate New York,” said O'Farrill. “This will be a deep exploration of the relationship between two great Diasporas encompassing the Semitic traditions that stretch from the Middle East to Miami Beach, from the tip of North Africa to the Bronx, and from the mountains of Russia to the Catskills.”

From Bagels to Bongos examines the relationship between Jewish culture and Latin music, which dates back to Iberia prior to the Spanish Inquisition, and continued to pre-Castro Cuba—an era when Jewish families would visit the island and its nightclubs.

Loosely based on the famous album by Irving Fields, Bagels & Bongos, and Juan Calle and his Latin Lantzmen’s historic recording, Mazel Tov Mis Amigos, the program casts Jewish and Yiddish classics in Afro Latin big band versions, and set Latin classics in traditional Klezmer settings. The Orchestra will feature original music that of ALJO member Israeli trombonist/composer Rafi Malkiel, and special guest artists trumpeter/composer/conductor Steven Bernstein, and Israeli virtuoso clarinetist Anat Cohen.

June 9, 7:00 PM

Sixth & I Historic Synagogue (600 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20001) Tickets

For ticket information, a complete schedule and more, visit

Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is the official hotel sponsor of the 2013 DCJF. For travel discount information, visit

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About the DC Jazz Festival: With more than 125 performances in nearly 60 venues, the DC Jazz Festival (DCJF) is one of the largest music festivals in the country. A 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, the DCJF has experienced spectacular year-on-year growth, and is set to celebrate its landmark 10th anniversary in 2014. As the fastest growing jazz festival in the U.S., the DCJF celebrates America’s unique art form during this national event that draws jazz lovers from around the world to the nation’s capital. The DCJF presents year-round programs with performances featuring local, nationally and internationally acclaimed artists. The DCJF's mission is to promote music education programs and actively support community outreach to expand and diversify its audience of jazz enthusiasts. The 2013 DC Jazz Festival will take place June 5-16. For more information about the DC Jazz Festival and upcoming programs, visit

The DC Jazz Festival(r) is a section 501 (c)(3) non-profit service organization. The DC Jazz Festival is sponsored in part with major grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the NEA Foundation, the Anne and Ronald Abramson Family Foundation, CrossCurrents Foundation, and by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, an agency supported in part by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Proud major sponsors of the DC Jazz Festival, to date, include: Events DC; The Washington Post and KidsPost; ABC7/WJLA-TV and News Channel 8; Patton Boggs, LLP; Sage Communications; Hamilton Live and Clyde’s Restaurant Group; Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, the official hotel of the DC Jazz Festival; Pepsi; Bacardi USA; Destination DC; National Endowment for the Arts (NEA); the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities; TGI Fridays; the Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation; LCG Systems; the Washington City Paper; Linda and Michael Sonnenreich; The Mayo Charitable Foundation; the Anne and Ronald Abramson Family Foundation; WAMU; Washington Kastles; Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP; WHUR; The Georgetowner; WPFW; DownBeat; Telemundo DC and; Washington Parent; Washington Informer; Modern Luxury; Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation; CrossCurrents Foundation; Amtrak; WMATA; the NEA Foundation; and Hipnotic Records.

© 2013 DC Jazz Festival. All rights reserved.

Media Contact:
Hannah Dolby, for DCJF
[email protected], (703) 584-5651

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Leen Zada