Musician and Writer Alicia Jo Rabins Performs "The Complicated Lives of Biblical Women" on March 6 at UNC Asheville


Weaving together art-pop songs, poetry, and feminist Torah scholarship, Alicia Jo Rabins will present The Complicated Lives of Biblical Women: An Intimate Evening of Performance, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 6 in UNC Asheville’s Humanities Lecture Hall. This performance is free and open to everyone.

Rabins, whose voice has been described as “gorgeous” by The New York Times, also employs violin and electronic loop pedal. As a composer and performer, her works include Girls in Trouble, an indie-folk song cycle, and A Kaddish for Bernie Madoff, a chamber-rock opera about the intersection of finance and spirituality.

A writer, composer and performer, Rabins’ career began with her fiddling and her first album, Sugar Shack, featured original compositions and irreverent renditions of traditional fiddle tunes from Appalachia to Eastern Europe. She also toured for eight years with the klezmer-punk band Golem and represented the U.S. as a cultural ambassador for the State Department, performing in concert halls and orphanages in Central America and the Middle East.

Girls in Trouble, which explores the overlap between the stories of women in ancient Jewish texts and the issues faced by contemporary women, grew out of Rabins’ master’s thesis at Jewish Theological Seminary. As part of that ongoing project, she has created a curriculum with in-depth study guides about women in the Torah using music and visual art, and has recorded three full-length albums exploring this theme.

Poet Mary Oliver selected Rabins’ chapbook, The Girl Who Wants to be a Landscape for the 1995 Artscape Poetry Prize. Rabins’ most recent poetry book, Divinity School, won the 2015 American Poetry Review/Honickman First Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. She holds an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College and she is currently at work on a spiritual memoir.

Rabins’ performance is presented by UNC Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies.