What does Sepharad mean?
Sepharad is the Hebrew word for Spain, originating with a reference
in the Biblical book Obadiah (Obad. 20).
How was the group started?
David Harris, vocalist and co-founder of Voices of Sepharad,
has been exploring Sephardic culture for nearly 20 years. He was
first attracted to the culture through its richly ornamented musical
styles. Trained in anthropology and a professional musician, David
soon began to study the connections between Sephardic music and
numerous cultures that have shaped and transformed it. In 1986
David and Judith Brin Ingber, a specialist in Jewish dance, founded
Voices of Sepharad to preserve and present Sephardic performance
for American audiences. Since that time David has traveled to
all of the primary areas of the Mediterranean where Sephardic
Jews settled after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. In each
region he has sought out and learned from living representatives
of the tradition. This has given Voices of Sepharad insight into
the subtleties of this music, the settings in which it is performed,
and the ways it is skillfully varied by musicians. The group’s
performances blend close attention to tradition with a fresh theatrical
dimension that is well suited to the stage.
What are your performances like?
Musically there’s a wide assortment of styles because
the Sephardic Jews have lived in North Africa, the Balkans, and
the Eastern Mediterranean. All those areas have very distinctive
cultures. Although a dialect of Spanish (often called Ladino,
Judezmo, Jidyo, or Hispanolit) remained the main language of the
Sephardim, every element of their artistic expression and culture
reflected their new homes. The Jews who lived in Northern Greece
sang differently from those who lived in North Africa. Over time
that culture continued to change. To this day Sephardic Jews continue
to make new songs. Voices of Sepharad is especially known for
creating ambitious theatrical works which interpret issues of
Sephardic history, experience, and the meaning of folk culture
and identity in a modern setting. We like to think of ourselves
as today’s page in a very long book.
What kind of venues do you perform in?
Voices of Sepharad has performed in a broad spectrum of venues
- -from the formal stages of proscenium theaters to the lively
informality of cabaret and club environments. We are frequent
guest artists at colleges, universities, and in school residencies.
Church and synagogue artist series feature us, often with an educational
component. Community centers and multicultural festivals regularly
present our work, and we have been heard on the radio from coast
to coast as well as on television and cable access programs.
How can I find out your performance schedule?
Please go to the calendar section
of this web site.
How can I book Voices of Sepharad at a venue?
Please contact us!
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