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JDub celebrates first five years with Brooklyn friends

rooklyn talent unites on July 20 to help JDub celebrate five years of promoting Jewish artists here and aboard.

The label behind such mainstream acts as Brooklyn-based Jewish reggae artist Matisyahu and stomping brass band Balkan Beat Box brings together its diverse programming to Prospect Park as part of Celebrate Brooklyn, a summer-long series featuring music, film, theater and dance.

JDub first joined forces with BRIC, the organization behind Celebrate Brooklyn, for a hip-hop festival called Unity Fest back in the early years of the label in 2004. That show introduced many to one of the label's biggest successes, Matisyahu, in one of his first shows.

“We're incredibly proud of the work with Matisyahu,” said Jacob Harris, vice president of JDub. “We opened up this market and proved that although we're niched, there is a mainstream appeal to new Jewish music.”

Celebrating JDub are some established and up-and-coming acts – Golem, Soulico, Deleon, and Sway Machinery, with the evening hosted by Michael Showalter, a regular at Park Slope's Union Pool who's on JDub with his debut comedy album, “Sandwiches & Cats,” released last fall.

Kicking off the celebration is Soulico at 5 p.m., one of the label's newest artists, a four-person DJ crew from Tel Aviv that is looking to be the labels' next big act.

“They did a show at Canal Room that instantly sold out,” said Harris. “This event will showcase their DJ stylings,” which includes a blend of Middle Eastern melodies and Israeli folk and hip-hop tracks.

Next up is Sway Machinery at 6 p.m., a Brooklyn afro-pop powerhouse featuring members of some of the borough's best live acts. There's guitarist Jeremiah Lockwood of Balkan Beat Box, drummer Brian Chase of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, bass saxophonist Colin Stetson of Arcade Fire and Tom Waits' band, and the trumpet and tenor sax horn section of the band Antibalas, Jordan McLean and Stuart Bogie.

Then there's Deleon at 7 p.m., another new artist to JDub that Harris is excited about.

“It's cool indie rock,” said Harris of the tracks – 15th century Spanish tunes sung in Ladino, a mix of Hebrew and Spanish. “It really has been an interesting process to put together.”

Ending the night is Golem, one of JDub's longer-standing artists, a pack of gypsy punk rockers. They will be joined by special guests Jon Langford of the Mekons and Hungry March Band. Other special guests joining the celebration include Ladybug Mecca and Sagol 59.

After rocking out at Prospect Park, head indoors to Southpaw for an after party hosted by Soulico and featuring free hummus and maybe a surprise guest or two.

In the course of looking back, JDub is also naturally looking forward, with new records and artists in the works. The label is also putting their JDub stamp on other genres by further exploring comedy, as well as branching out into children's music. Most immediately, the label is looking at Soulico, which has a new album in the works, to be its next breakthrough.

“Soulico's record is going to be stellar,” said Harris of the crew, which plays to sold-out crowds in Israel and is just starting to catch the attention of DJs stateside, including Diplo. “It's going to capture a lot of taste-maker attention. I think with this record, Soulico's going to be a name on everyone's lips.”

JDub's 5th anniversary concert as part of Celebrate Brooklyn is July 20 at the Prospect Park Bandshell (Ninth Street and Prospect Park West) at 5 p.m. There is a $3 suggested donation. The after party will be held at Southpaw (125 Fifth Avenue) with doors at 9 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door. For more information, go to For more on Celebrate Brooklyn, go to

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