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Yoni Avi Battat’s album Fragments may be purchased here.

Growing up in the United States, singer-composer Yoni Avi Battat knew little about his Iraqi-Jewish ancestors and the long history of Iraqi-Jewish musicians. Battat will discuss his journey into Jewish Arabic poetry, researching translations and tracking down rare editions of Arabic books in order to weave his Arab-Jewish ancestry into his music. The journey led to his newly released album Fragments, a collection of original and traditional music emerging from his Iraqi-Jewish identity, with lyrics in Arabic, Hebrew, English, and Yiddish.

Yoni Avi Battat (he/him) is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, and composer specializing in contemporary and traditional Jewish music from Eastern Europe and the Middle East. He maintains an active performance schedule across the country, playing violin, viola, and oud in collaborative and interdisciplinary projects spanning a wide range of styles. He has performed across the United States, Canada, Israel, Portugal, and Italy with a variety of artists, including Earth, Wind and Fire; Yair Dalal; Shai Tsabari; Nava Tehila; VSNY; and Di Gasn Trio. Most recently, he has been touring nationally as an actor and violinist with the Tony Award-winning musical The Band’s Visit. In 2015, he founded his own Yiddish-jazz band called Two Shekel Swing, which has released the album Pocket Change and performed in Toronto’s Jewish Music Week and elsewhere. Battat works as a song leader, facilitating musical prayer in Jewish communities, and is a fellow with Hadar’s Rising Song Institute. He studied classical viola at Brandeis University and Boston University, and traditional Middle Eastern musical traditions in Jerusalem. His website is

Program made possible, in part, by Anne Germanacos.

Co-presented by JIMENA: Jews Indigenous to the Middle East and North Africa.