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Interview with Yasmin Levy

Yasmin Levy is a significant new singer of Sephardic music. You'll understand better if you read this article that R. L. Reid sent my way a couple of weeks ago. "Echos of Forgotten Music", by Noam Ben Ze-ev in Israel's Haaretz (article is in English)

There was considerable discussion about Levy on the Jewish-music mailing list. First off, there was some rejoicing that Levy is, in fact, performing the songs using traditional instrumentation, and the expected scorn at those who are so used to international folk music with guitar and sound-alikes, that they don't recognize tradition when they see it, second, of course, lots of people think that she sings like an angel, and third, there was some discussion about an event referred to in the article in which her father's field recordings were all destroyed after he died, because he didn't want his transcriptions argued with. This was felt to be cultural vandalism of a nasty sort. Want to know more? Check out the article and her recordings!


I was born in 1972. My father was born in Colombia South America and his father was born in Izmir Turkey. The only language I heard from my mother (Moroccan) and my father was Ladino. Fate separated me from my family when I turned 14. I never heard Ladino again. After a life change so dramatic that even my Judaism faded away, I lived my life struggling to survive surrounded by a society so unfriendly to the otherness of my culture, that I even felt foreign when years later I walked into a synagogue and their Torah readings and their ways made me feel very unjewish. After many years I heard a Ladino song and I was happy to recognize the lyrics. Since then, I bought every Ladino song I could find but something was missing. Then I listen to a demo on Israeli-Music.com while browsing aimlessly. It was Yasmin. I only long for religious Ladino music but I have found just a couple of songs. When I heard her voice singing "Anochi", I was struck by lightning! I immediately recognized what was missing from all the other Ladino music I have! The Sephardic sounds and the Sephardic "runs" of her voice and the instruments I heard at home! I bought 10 copies of her CD and gave it to all my friends to show them what Ladino music really sounded like! Yasmin Levy and her songs have been a great blessing in my life! I wish she would record liturgy in Ladino and more religious songs! I will buy them by the dozen!

Wonderful! Thanks for making that comment.

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