We are happy to announce that one of our dearest projects, created to honor our long lost neighbors, is back online, available everywhere.
It was amazing to be able to work with these Sephardic songs, to explore the Ladino language, to merge them (graft them if you will!), and intertwine them together to finally allow them to show the amazing history they carry with every note and every word sung in two, sometimes three languages. Just like the Sephardi influenced the merging of cultures, religions, peoples and languages when they migrated to Spain and came here, under these skies.
We’re especially proud of El Amor Kon Un Estranyo, sung in Macedonian, Turkish and Ladino, with lyrics that travel in three parts of the world, yet are carried on the same tune.
Travel with the picturesque words and images in the sad story that is Yo en la Prizion.
And there are ten more, all showing the journey of the Sephards who’ve travelled from everywhere, passed through our home and went all over the world.
In their honor,
Below, the video for El Amor Kon Un Estranyo.
And now, a message from Elena:
You have before you a musical and poetic journey through countries and eras which seem quite diverse, yet are closely knit together. During this walk, or you might even call it pass over – you will be given the possibility to halt time and delve deep into the past, reaching all the way back to eternity, seemingly defying death.
You will hear a whole specter of colors, expressions and profound emotions. You’ll witness the intertwining of subtle melodies and melodic languages of a number of different nations, cultures and religions – distilled into one soul. What underlies this endeavor is an ancient language, sonorous and simple, full of passion, love, suffering and pain. Ladino is the language of the Sephardic Jews from Spain. They have suffered a tragic destiny, like all persecuted people.
In 1492 they were forced to leave their homes and were subsequently scattered in cities like Vienna, London, Amsterdam, Algiers, Morocco, Jerusalem, but most found their way to the Eastern Mediterranean – in the countries of the former Ottoman Empire with centers in Istanbul, Salonika, Smyrna, Sarajevo, Monastir… They brought to these new lands their own authentic culture,
tradition and language, but most of all – their peculiar esthetics and integrity. In spite of the
danger to stagnate by stubbornly maintaining a passive and detached tradition from the old country, they nevertheless were able to continue to develop and progress without losing their authenticity. They opened themselves fully to the culture and musical and poetic expression of their new countrymen and integrated their influences at the core of their being.
As a result, their music embraces both medieval Spanish music and the specific melodies of their new countries – especially the Ottoman makam, through which they make a connection with its Byzantine roots. Thus is born an exotic strain of music, idiosyncratic and authentic, yet at the same time universal.
The repertory of Sephardic songs is ample with forms like: canzonas, hooplas, romances, cantigas, etc. In all my physical and spiritual journeys I always seem to come across these songs. They have become so close to my heart that I feel like they have forever been a part of me. They are like a wide sea whose fragrance I can sense and into which I dive, surging deeper and deeper, in an attempt to reach my ancestors. I admire, rejoice and mourn, dance, sing, suffer, cry and laugh with them. But, most of all, I fall in love with them, over and over again, each new time my love growing deeper.
I have always been fascinated by the fact that one melody can be transformed into a great number of different songs and in different languages, so I have decided to continue this process of creation and merging. On our album you can hear traditional songs with similar melodies in Ladino, Macedonian, Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Yiddish, Bosnian, yet also songs containing melodic and rhythmical structures of certain regions and peoples independent of the language in which it is sang. How have these songs been created? Who is the author? They are, in fact, a result of sharing and exchange, rather than division and self-promotion.
Given a chance to experience a new encounter, a new fusion, as well as passing through the filter of all our spiritual experiences as musicians from this region, these songs have been grafted onto each other, finally yielding new musical fruits.
I hope that this timeless musical treasure shall continue to connect us, as well as inspire and sweeten your emotions, ultimately outliving us all. Just like well aged wine in a new bottle…