Etty Ben-Zaken
The Bride Fastens Her Braids, The Groom Faints
Ladino Love Songs

New Albion (

cd cover Etty Ben-Zaken learned to sing in the kitchen of her grandmother, whose vocal inspiration was the Ladino-language programming broadcast to Israel's immigrant Turkish Sephardim. Ladino or Judeo-Spanish folk song traces its roots to medieval Spain, carried forth in the Jewish exodus ordered by the Catholic king upon driving the last Moorish forces from the Iberian peninsula in 1492. Composer Eitan Steinberg penned new settings for the traditional Sephardic tunes sung by Ben-Zaken and
accompanied by Ensemble Yatán Atán, whose spare and supple instrumentation comprises guitar, recorders, cello, viola da gamba and Middle Eastern percussion. In a searing, relentless mezzo-soprano, Ben-Zaken sounds the nuances of Ladino romances and wedding songs from Bosnia, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, the Levant and Morocco, giving mournful, passionate voice to a living pan-Mediterranean tradition whose enduring vitality shines forth in this recording. - Michael Stone

Song: "Al Son de la Liebre" (The Sound of the Hare)
Audio copyright 1999 New Albion
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