Joshua Nelson Headlines AJ Music Festival on March 14

Joshua Nelson is a performer you should hear.

Not just because he’s a great talent whose fan base includes Oprah Winfrey, although he is.

Not just because he’s coming here in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, though he will.


Not just because Mayor Abramson will be here as well, to celebrate that anniversary and its ideals, though he will.

Not just because you’ll get to hear some fine singing with the West Louisville Boys and Girls Choir, a community choir that includes members of every synagogue in town, and my friend and colleague Cantor Sharon Hordes, though you will.

Not just because a ticket to the Music Festival at AJ, heavily underwritten by the Adolf and Sara van der Walde and Israel Rosenbloum Charitable Fund, will also get you into the Matsiyahu 92nd Street Y simulcast two nights later for free, though it will.

The reason you should hear him is his music and his story.

Joshua Nelson is Black. Joshua Nelson is a Jew, descended from generations of Jews. His ancestry may well go back to Jewish traders who started communities in the West Africa country of Senegal possibly as long ago as the expulsion from Spain. His ancestry links him to the children of Abraham and Sarah, the family of King Solomon, and to us.

Joshua Nelson is a performer of distinct sound. He links his Jewish soul with the African American rhythms of jazz and gospel.

He’s been performing since the age of 15. One of his first gigs was at Lincoln Center and Carnegie Hall with the JVC Jazz Festival in a concert entitled the “Jewish Jazz Connection.

Some students from the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York heard one of his performances and asked him to bring his 30-voice choir to what would be the first performance of “Kosher Gospel.” An attendee at the concert was a film maker who made a documentary about Joshua called “Keep on Walking.”

He has performed with Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis, the greatest Jewish Klezmer band in the world, The Klezmatics, and late jazz greats Cab Calloway and Dizzy Gillespie, among others.

He’ll be performing ‘by us’ Sunday, March 14 at 7 p.m.! Whatever you do, don’t miss it! Advance tickets are $12.50, adult, and $10, seniors and students; or $15 at the door.

For tickets and information, call 458-5359 or buy online at

[by Cantor David Lipp]

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