30 September 2007

Sephardic music plays on in London

As a follow-up on my fusion food posting and realizing that man (nor woman) does not live by food alone, here's an interesting Ynetnews story on a Judeo-Spanish Sephardic soul group in London.

Many grandmothers have passed on songs like ‘Almonds and Raisins’ to their grandchildren, singing lullabies to soothe them off to sleep, yet this is from an Ashkenazy tradition. Part of the tragedy of Ladino music is that much of this oral-tradition fell foul of its diverse Mediterranean spread.

In Europe the Yiddish speaking culture was also widespread yet it had a solid body to the language rooted in old German and Hebrew, coupled with the post-pogrom emigration to the US, Yiddish culture blossomed in New York where it is still very much alive to this day and was thus saved from the same tragedy that befell Ladino culture.

Yet it is London, whose Spanish and Portuguese Jewish community stretches back a few hundred years that has given birth to a band that champions that heritage and has been creating quite a stir on the world music scene.

There's information on Ladino and on the rise of Ashkenazi klezmer as well as on the former decline of Sephardic music.

The story focuses on the Los Desterrados sextet organized by Daniel Jonas in 2000. Jonas is described in the story as "a practising Sephardi Jew who brings the Sephardic and Middle Eastern influences."

For more on the group and to hear some of their music, click here or here

To read the article, click here.

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