Ethiopian Israeli musician Gili Yalo will perform at the Krakow’s Jewish Culture Festival Pop-Up. (Photo/Michael Topyol)
Ethiopian Israeli musician Gili Yalo will perform at the Krakow’s Jewish Culture Festival Pop-Up. (Photo/Michael Topyol)

Krakow Jewish Culture Fest comes to Golden Gate Park, featuring Gili Yalo, Happie Hoffman, Jeremiah Lockwood

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The annual Jewish Culture Festival held in Krakow, Poland, is the world’s largest presentation of contemporary culture created by Jews from around the globe. On May 7, the Bay Area can get a taste of that popular gathering at a free, all-ages mini version in Golden Gate Park.

Ethiopian Israeli musician Gili Yalo will headline Krakow’s Jewish Culture Festival Pop-Up, with a lineup that also includes blues guitarist and cantorial scion Jeremiah Lockwood and singer-songwriter Happie Hoffman, who hails from Tulsa, Oklahoma. David Katznelson of Jewish nonprofit Reboot will perform a DJ set titled ​​”Black Sabbath: The Secret Musical History of Black Jewish Relations.” The set features recordings of famous non-Jewish Black musicians performing Jewish or Jewish-influenced music.

Rapper Kosha Dillz, who earlier this month led short Passover seders outside the Coachella music festival, will serve as MC.

The festival is presented by Bay Area nonprofit Value Culture and co-sponsored by Taube Philanthropies and other local Jewish organizations. J. is the official media sponsor. 

RELATED: Jewish Culture Festival showcases revival in Krakow

“We need an event like this for all ages to come together, celebrate, re-identify and reignite the Jewish community, which the pandemic has interrupted,” said Adam Swig, executive director of Value Culture. “It will give people a taste of what they would experience at the Krakow Jewish Culture festival this summer in Poland.”

Yalo, who immigrated from Ethiopia to Israel with his family in 1984 during Operation Moses, has stopped in the Bay Area before on tour. But this will be his first time performing with a full band. His latest single, “Einsof” (“infinity”), is in Hebrew and Amharic.

Lockwood appeared at the Krakow Jewish Culture Festival in 2009 and 2011 with his band The Sway Machinery, as well as in 2014 with klezmer trumpeter Frank London. (The festival is in its 34th year.) He told J. he has not yet solidified his set for the pop-up event, but it will be “a mix of fingerpicking guitar, Yiddish songs, old blues and khazones,” or Jewish sacred music.

Following the festival, Dillz will host a 21-and-over after-party at the Boom Boom Room in San Francisco. Tickets are $20 at the door.

Krakow’s Jewish Culture Festival Pop-Up

2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, May 7 at Golden Gate Park’s Music Concourse Bandshell, between the Japanese Tea Garden and California Academy of Sciences. Free, registration required.

Andrew Esensten
Andrew Esensten

Andrew Esensten is the culture editor of J. Previously, he was a staff writer for the English-language edition of Haaretz based in Tel Aviv. Follow him on Twitter @esensten.