billy jonas / bridging divides

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Promotional Materials & PR

updated: 3 years ago

Family One Sheet

updated: 3 years ago

Jewish One Sheet

updated: 3 years ago

BJ Solo "Family" Poster

updated: 3 years ago

BJB Trio "Family" Poster

updated: 3 years ago

BJB Quartet "Family" Poster

updated: 3 years ago


2016 #1 Best of WNC Kids Entertainer - Billy Jonas

Mountain Express, Asheville NC

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updated: 4 years ago

2015 Parents' Choice Gold Award

Album: "Build It Back Again"

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billyjonas 4252

updated: 4 years ago

2013 1st Place Eco Arts Awards Creative Excellence

Song: "To Be One" from the album,"Happy Accidents"

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billyjonas 2792

updated: 4 years ago

2009 Parents' Choice Gold Award

Album: "Happy Accidents"

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billyjonas 4250

updated: 4 years ago

2009 USA Today's Top 10 Family Recordings

Album: "Happy Accidents"

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billyjonas 4267

updated: 4 years ago

2004 Parents' Choice Silver Honor Award

DVD: "Everybody's In The Band"

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billyjonas 4254

updated: 4 years ago

2002 1st Place Gold! American Federation of Independant Musicians Award

Album: "What Kind of Cat Are You?!"

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billyjonas 4253

updated: 4 years ago

2002 Parents Choice Gold Award

Album: "What Kind of Cat Are You?!"

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billyjonas 4237

updated: 4 years ago

2000 Parents' Choice Gold Award

DVD: "Bangin'& Sangin'

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billyjonas 4269

updated: 4 years ago

1997 WINNER - "Road to Paradise" Ecological Songwriting Award

Song: "Some Houses"

updated: 4 years ago


Frequently Asked Questions

(and frequent answers given!)

1. What is "Industrial Re-percussion?"

"Industrial Re-percussion" refers to musical instruments made from found, foraged, and recyclable objects, like pots, pans, tin cans, buckets, keys, and broomsticks

2. What is "Funky Folk Music?"

"Funky Folk Music" is genre-bending, style-blending singalongs, bangalongs, whisperalongs, soundscapes, and improvisations, using a quirky mix of traditional and conventional instruments as well as industrial re-percussion.

3. What is a "Neo-tribal Hootenanny?"

A "Neo-tribal Hootenanny" is a gloriously participatory musical gathering, featuring funky folk music, and whatever else seems to fit! It can happen anywhere, anytime, with anyone, and anything.

4. How/when/why did you get the idea of playing on recycled instruments and involving the audience?

Phase One: It all began at summer camp, around the campfire, where, just as in a tribal culture, the lines were blurred between performer and audience - everybody was part of the band! Guitars, a harmonica, buckets, sticks, rocks, and everybody singing together - Heaven!

Phase Two: In high school and college most of my friends were not musicians, yet they wanted to play, so we had massive ‘kitchen jams,’ playing pots and pans with chopsticks. In college (Oberlin, in Ohio) we turned it into a band, ‘The Big Bang Theory,’ a voice and percussion ensemble using all found objects and homemade instruments.

Phase Three: After college I began writing songs and playing them at coffee houses and ‘open stages.’ I would present them raw, with just one water bottle drum and my voice, imagining that if they worked in this striped down form, they were worthy to develop into full blown songs with guitar or other traditional instruments, but the response to the songs in this initial raw form was so strong, and the smiles were so big, that I realized they were often complete as they were. I was also imagining that when the songs were finished they would have a full band playing and singing them. To approximate that, I would give simple parts out to the audience. Again, they were so much fun in this experimental form that that often became the final form of the song.

5. What was the first instrument you learned to play & when?

Piano at five years old, guitar at eight, trombone at ten. No discipline though, so I graduated to pots and pans in high school.

6. What is it about your music, do you think, that has such a universal appeal? It's especially striking how it seems to span generations, from toddlers to senior citizens.

Enthusiasm and joy - everybody can relate to that. The participatory aspect makes it extremely inclusive, and the homemade / recyclable instruments make the songs and performances universally accessible -- everybody says “hey, I could do that!”

7. Where did you grow up? Did you come from a musical background (other family members musicians, etc.)?

I grew up in Chicago. Many people in my family have been extremely musical - my great grandfather was a cantor in a synagogue in Germany.

8. Did you always know you wanted to be a musician? If you weren't playing music, what would your second career choice be?

I knew from early on that I wanted music to be a big part of my life, but I wasn’t sure it would be a career until it started to be. If I wasn’t a musician, I’d be involved with camps and environmental education or languages.

9. Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

Joni Mitchell, Harry Partch, Parliament-Funkadelic, Igor Stravinsky, Jimi Hendrix, Maurice Ravel, Spike Jones, Pete Seeger

10. If you had to place your music in a certain genre, what would you call it?

"Turn-of-the-21st century neo-tribal hootenanny music," or "funky folk music," for short.

11. Do you have a favorite song of all time -- either yours or somebody else's?

My favorite ‘piece’ of all time is Igor Stavinsky’s ‘Rite of Spring;’ My favorite song of all time is ‘Cactus’ by Ferron.

updated: 4 years ago


“…witty, smart, raw.”
- New York Times

"...irresistible... my face hurts from smiling."
- Alison Krauss

"…the arch-elf of American music…"
- Charleston Gazette

"Billy Jonas is one of the most original, moving and simultaneously hilarious performers I've ever seen. Each song enters an unexpected world of its own, creates a film, a state of being, an unexpected. seemingly extemporaneous story; your story and mine, seen through the brilliant lens of Billy's muse and loving heart.”
- Peter Yarrow (of Peter, Paul and Mary)

"Some of the best family music I’ve ever heard.”
- Ezra Idlet (Trout Fishing in America)

“…lush talent … musically rich … hilarious … lovely … a near perfect blend of great music and playfully educational messages.”
- Parent’s Choice

“Billy Jonas is a multi-layered, percussion-driven, tribal rhythm, urban harmony and folk music maestro.”
- Ear Candy

"He engages the audience with a wild assortment of rhythm and word play that usually leaves them both entertained, and a little more in touch with their spiritual selves. He teaches, through experience, that music is everywhere."
- Sing Out! Magazine

“… exquisite craft!”
- Sing Out! Magazine

“… wild winded word magic!”
- Dirty Linen Magazine

“… great live show!”
- David Dye, World Café

“…you cant help but sing along!”
- Performing Songwriter Magazine

"While others … have tried to distinguish themselves with fashion or gimmicks, Billy Jonas uses genuine originality and a style that evolved naturally from his experience, to create memorable music that is both intellectually fascinating and frequently danceable, all the while avoiding the cliches."
- George Graham (public radio host/music reviewer)

… first class … compelling, humorous, beautiful and brilliant! … the highlight of our season.”

-Ron Clearfield, Conductor, Blue Ridge Orchestra

updated: 4 years ago

“Within minutes, Billy gets all ages - truly - out of their chairs, fully participating in movement and spirited music. His lyrics and kavvanot (intros) help us think about our humanity, our Jewish heritage of values and teachings, and our connections/responsibility to nature. On the stage, the rhythm and sound of visually-captivating, found objects, each with its own story, make for an unforgettable prayer-concert.”

-Adam Stock Spilker, Rabbi, Mount Zion Temple St. Paul, MN

"Billy is a phenomenon! He is engaging and inspiring. All of us—from the littlest ones to their parents and grandparents—were dancing in the aisles to his magical beat. "
- Rabbi Joseph Skloot, WHC, Washington DC

"It's like nothing you've ever heard and yet it immediately becomes part of your playlist. In an era where music is predictable and formulaic, Billy Jonas breaks the mold and captures your heart...forever"
- Craig Taubman

" ... a 'jaw dropper!' ... truly extraordinary, explosively creative, hilarious and consummately authentic. Billy stirs my soul ... he's one of a kind.
- Rick Recht, performer

“... take(s) people to a place of both depth and joy ... to capture wonder and take spiritual risks.”
- Cantor Ellen Dreskin, HUC-JIR, NY

"Congratulations on a job well done! What an awesome night!"
- Cantor Rebecca Robins, Temple Sinai, Washington DC

“... Billy raised spirits all over our congregation.... he has a gift for engaging people and drawing them into worship....”
- Rabbi Leah Lewis, Congregation Shir Ha-Ma’alot, Irvine CA

“Billy’s performances are highlights for our program, and the kids keep singing his songs all summer.”
- Seth Kellam, JCC Youth Director, Asheville NC

“...A true gift to the world of Jewish music.”
- Elana Jagoda, Peninsula Temple Beth El, San Mateo CA

“Billy Jonas Band ... is an amazing mix of talent, energy, education, spirit, and fun all rolled into one..... Great with the adult audience at an evening show, and great with the children’s show the next day.”
- Rabbi Neal Katz, Congregation Beth El, Tyler TX

updated: 2 years ago

Articles / Reviews


Abraham Jam Aims to Bring People Together Through Music


Cary, NC – As three musicians from three different religious backgrounds, Abraham Jam demonstrates how people can come together through harmonious music and a variety of instruments.

Finding Harmony

“We want to demonstrate that folks who are different can create something beautiful. It’s part of why we prefer performing harmonies rather than having each of us play the exact same part,” LaMotte said. “As a culture, we usually focus on resisting what’s wrong, and that’s important. But there’s the other half and that’s demonstrating what’s right.” Read the full article HERE

updated: 3 years ago

Music and words: Jewish musicians offer a bit of both

"Toot The Horn" review by Matt Robinson (Jewish Journal)

Music and words Jewish musicians offer a bit of both

updated: 3 years ago

Article: Ashley Farmer celebrates her community, craft and the Billy Jonas Band

Article Ashley Farmer celebrates her community craft and the Billy Jonas Band

updated: 3 years ago

Article: Billy Jonas Trio to Perfom: Venago Youth Choir performs with him

March 2017

updated: 3 years ago

Farmer included in “Rescue Me,” a labor of love for rescue animals

Farmer included in ldquoRescue Merdquo a labor of love for rescue animals

updated: 3 years ago

Q & A With Billy Jonas: Recycled Instruments and Jewish Summer Camp Influences

By Melissa Apter

This excerpt appeared in the Tikvat Israel Jan-Feb 2017 Newsletter Issue. We are sharing this article with permission of Tikvat Israel Congregation, Rockville, Md.

updated: 3 years ago

The It Guy

by Daniel Hazzan Gross

The It Guy
March 2016

updated: 3 years ago

A Spiritual Nomad Explores a Familiar Home

by Johanna Ginsberg

A Spiritual Nomad Explores a Familiar Home
Feb 2016

updated: 3 years ago

Article: Recycling His Roots

by Matt Robinson

Article Recycling His Roots
August 2014

updated: 3 years ago

Article: Billy Jonas: Creating Much More than Music

by Lauren Rosenfeld

Article Billy Jonas Creating Much More than Music
May 2014

updated: 3 years ago

Camp Folk Fest

May 1995

updated: 3 years ago