Hans York, an award-winning songwriter, singer and multi-instrumentalist, will play a rare Vashon concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 22, at Havurat Ee Shalom at 115401 Westside Hwy.
York, who lives in West Seattle, recently took top honors at the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, where he was named one of six New Folk Winners.
York’s Vashon appearance was the brainchild of Islander Jessa Zimmerman, an avid guitar student who wanted to share her enthusiasm for his music with her friends and neighbors on Vashon.
“I had heard about Hans from a number of different musicians,” Zimmerman said. “It was almost like a myth — how talented and what a great person he is. After taking some guitar lessons from him, I found both to be true.”
Zimmerman knew York had a busy international touring schedule but said she was surprised when “he told me he really never plays in the Seattle area. I thought he’d welcome a chance to play in his own backyard, and he did.”
It turns out that York has a special connection to the Island — his two daughters commute to Vashon to attend McMurray Middle School.
York said he is looking forward to his show at Havurat Ee Shalom.
“I’m touring between 200 and 250 days a year,” he said. “I’ve played at Café Luna and The Hardware Store, but that was a while ago. It will be nice to be back.”
Born in Germany into a musical family, York has an eclectic and broadly influenced musical background that has allowed him to move with ease between the different demands of jazz, folk, pop and world music.
He performed with National Scottish Fiddle Champion Jamie Lavel in the United States and Scotland, played throughout Europe with master harp player Rüdiger Oppermann and co-founded the German world music cult band Moka Efti.
An in-demand session player, York has appeared on 40 albums. He also spent six months in Brazil, studying samba, bossa nova and popular Brazilian music.
Since moving to the United States in 1999, York has crossed musical paths with a number of noted Northwest artists.
In 2001, he founded Rock Project Mercury Skin with other Seattle musicians and recorded an album.
In 2003, he produced “King Frydai,” a project of Seattle artist Tom Armstrong, and toured the United States with the Seattle band “Two Loons for Tea.”
Another album, “Inside Out,” was recorded with Orville Johnson and other Northwest friends.
His latest album, the 2008 release “Young Amelia,” was self-produced and recorded live in a mere two days in York’s studio. The album has received rave reviews, including one from Amazon.com that called York’s songs “intimate and unique gems scattered across an eloquent and emotional landscape.”
“Seeing him live, you understand you are experiencing a world-class talent,” Zimmerman said. “He’s a consummate musician, traveling between jazz, folk and pop effortlessly, while his voice soars above it all.”
Tickets to the Hans York concert are $15 at the door or $12 in advance at Vashon Bookshop.