See also Judith Cohen's article, "A Brief Introduction to Sephardic Music" on the Sephardic House website.
An account of Cohen's fieldwork in Portugal and Spain, including with the Crypto-Jews)
La Yave: The Key to Sephardic Music, 2000 (full review by Judith Cohen, 11/2000)
Visit Judith Cohen's website at www.yorku.ca/judithc/
Reviews of albums by Judith Cohen
Performance and album review, "Judith Cohen / Songs of Sepharad: I'd like to begin the story", Ari Davidow, 29 Apr 2001
Judith Cohen / Dans mon chemin j'ai rencontré, 1997 (reviewed 23 Nov 00 by Steve Fischbach)
Gerineldo / De fiestas y alegrías, Vol 1, 1992 (capsule 10 Jun '01)
[This article was requested in an attempt to tap Cohen's expertise and help guide KlezmerShack readers who are just beginning to explore the wealth of other Jewish music. The author updated it in fall 2001. ari]
Here are some short reviews which I've basically adapted from: my "Sonography of Judeo-Spanish Song, Jewish Folklore and Ethnology Review" from my update notes, and from my brief reviews in "the Rough Guide to World Music ", and the Journal of American Folklore. More recordings show up constantly, and, while I try to maintain up-to-date information, it's not always possible, and would be impractical to include it all here. Here, the focus is on documentary recordings rather than arranged ones by non-Sephardi artists, as this way one learns about the actual source material. After that, I look at semi-documentary recordings, i.e. by people who know the tradition very well, and have worked directly with it, and change very little; and a few selected examples of other recordings, including a very few important new non-Judeo-Spanish ones from the Sephardic and Eastern traditions. I include comments on Gerineldo (my Moroccan Judeo-Spanish group) and my own recordings because we're actually important in the repertoire, but don't say anything aesthetically evaluative about us.
Bunis, David, 1981, Sephardic Studies, a Research Bibliography, New
York, Garland (includes discography of the old 78 rpm recordings)
Cohen, Judith R. "Sonography of Judeo-Spanish Song", in Jewish Folklore and Ethnography Review 18/1-2, 1996 , update of JFEN 15/2, 1993 and 17, 1995. (always being updated: if you have a recording to be included, please send in info! and, if you want commentary included, a copy of the recording)
"Sephardic music: Judeo-Spanish ('Ladino') Recordings" Rough Guide to World Music. (ed. S. Broughton,1999: V.I:370-4) Not comprehensive, but provides more commentary, and is updated from the 1996 discography; n.b. the subtitle in the book is editorial, NOT my idea.
Also, see, though it was published long after it was submitted so needs updating, my review-essay of Judeo-Spanish recordings, Journal of American Folklore (1999: 112/446:530-539).
Bresler, Joel. Forthcoming discography and union catalog of Sephardic 78s
(in Judeo-Spanish and Hebrew) and discography of LPs, cassettes and CDs
containing at least one song in Judeo-Spanish. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if
you need further information.
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Most important recent recordings:
Hazan, Victoria. Todas mis Esperansas, 1940's Recordings of Judeo-Spanish, Greek and Turkish Song,Global Village CD115, 1998.The long-awaited re-issue of 78rpm Victoria Hazan songs, a real treasure, unfortunately without any background notes, and with various mistakes in the listings; the briefest of biographical information and nary a mention of how so many singers and researchers learned from her, including, for a brief afternoon whose memory I treasure, myself...
(Not Judeo-Spanish but in this section for its importance):
Bowles/Seroussi. Sacred Music of the Moroccan Jews, collected by Paul Bowles, edited with notes by Edwin Seroussi, Rounder Records 82161-5087-2, 2000. A very important reissue of Bowles' 1959 recordings in Moroccan Jewish communities, more than competently (as always) edited and annotated by Edwin Seroussi.
Jagoda, Flory (about): The Key from Spain. Directed by Ankica Petrovic and Mischa Livingstone. VHS, 40 min. National Center for Jewish Film, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA 02454. Moving documentary about Flory Jagoda, the much-loved "nona" of Judeo-Spanish song, see my review in Ethnomusicology, in press 2001
Aguado, Berta (Bienvenida) and Loretta (Dora) Gerassi. Chants judéo-espagnoles, ed. & notes Edwin Seroussi (Inédit W260054, France), 1993. Inédit, 101 Raspail, 75006 Paris. A wide range of songs -- unaccompanied -- from the Ottoman and Bulgarian Judeo-Spanish traditions: ballads, life and calendar cycle, recreational and topical songs. Two elderly women, among the last of their ilk; Aguado is an especially subtle performer of the old Ottoman Judeo-Spanish tradition; extensive notes by Seroussi.
Algazi, Rabbi Isaac. Mezimrat Qedem: The Life and Music of R. Isaac Algazi from Turkey, edited; with book, by Edwin Seroussi. Renanot (Jersualem) 1989. Renanot: 58 King George, Pob 7167, Jerusalem 91071. Tel. 2-248761. Turkish Sephardic singer, revered for his virtuoso performances of synagogue singing, Judeo-Spanish songs and also Turkish classical music. Died in Uruguay in the 1960s. Seroussi has rescued old 78s of Algazi, on two cassettes including all three aspects of his virtuoso singing, accompanied by a serious book of background, transcriptions, and analysis. Middle Eastern stringed instruments provide an appropriate but unobtrusive accompaniment.
Azen, Henriette. Desde el Nacimiento hasta la Muerte (From Birth to Death) (Sacem/Vidas Largas SC703, Paris, 1991)Raised in Oran, Algeria, in a Moroccan Sephardic family and living in Paris for many years, Madame Azen has a prodigious memory, and has put considerable time and thought into her family's repertoire and traditions. All a capella.Thanks to Dr Haim Vidal Séphiha for bringing out these recordings.
Sánchez, Miguel (editor; notes). Es Razón de Alabar: una aproximación
a la música tradicional sefardí. Comunidad de Madrid 1997. CD; book with
introductory essays by Spanish musicologist and performer. In Spanish.
Samples from documentary recordings, mostly unaccompanied, except some
early recordings with oud, of Judeo-Spanish songs, from
various field collections . Various song genres, regional styles, and male and female voices. Some of the songs have been anthologized before, others are rarer. The book includes essays, and transcriptions, and identifies the sources for the songs, but has no general list of the selections, while the list on the CD jacket does not credit the sources. This is a welcome addition to the relatively few documentary recordings available to dispel common misconceptions of Judeo-Spanish song.
Weich-Shahaq, Shoshana, collector/editor:
Since the late 1970s, Dr Weich-Shahaq has collected, analyzed and disseminated Judeo-Spanish songs, recording them mostly from elderly traditional community Sephardic singers in Israel, where she lives, and in Spain. She selects a representative repertoire, sung by competent, often very fine, singers, and includes extensive notes. Most selections are in traditional a capella style except for some percussion on wedding songs.
Cantares y Romances Tradicionales Sefardíes de Marruecos, Tecnosaga, Saga KPD 10889, 1991.Traditional Sephardic songs and ballads of (northern) Morocco.
Cantos Tradicionales y Romances Judeo-españoles de Oriente, Tecnosaga.(C,CD); 1992. Traditional Judeo-Spanish songs and ballads from the Eastern Mediterranean (mostly Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria)
La tradición musical en España V11: Variantes gemelas en la tradición oral sefardí del Mediterraneo oriental y occidental. Tecnosaga WKPD10/2026, 1998. Includes selections from earlier recordings, paired to show differences betwene Moroccan and Eastern Mediterranean versions of the same ballads (romances).
Saltiel, David. Jewish-Spanish Songs of Thessaloniki (Oriente Music, Berlin, Germany, 1997) David Saltiel is probably the last of the old-style Judeo-Spanish singers from Salonica, though even his generation no longer included the romances as part of their regular repertoire by then. This is a very valuable recording, with extensive background notes: the only reservation is that the Greek ensemble, while musically excellent, is a little on the heavy side for this type of Judeo-Spanish singing.
Shiloah, Amnon, ed.: Greek-Jewish Musical Traditions, (Folkways 4205, U.S.A., 1978). Important documentary field recordings from the Greek Sephardic tradition, in both Judeo-Spanish and Greek, some in Hebrew. Booklet with serious notes by this senior musicologist.
Yurchenco, Henrietta, ed. Alegrías y Duelos de la Novia -- the Bride's
Joys and Sorrows Songs and Ballads of the Moroccan Jews as Sung by the
Women of Tetuán, Morocco, Global Village Music CD148, 1994.
This is a revised and expanded version of Yurchenco's 1978 LP on
Folkways (the women's repertoire is expanded and the selections by the
Tangier cantor S. Siboni are omitted). The recordings are rare and very
fine examples of Moroccan Judeo-Spanish women's singing, particularly
older romances and wedding songs, recorded by Yurchenco in Morocco, in
the late 1950s, long before the Judeo-Spanish "boom". Global Village
Music: 245 West 29th St., New York, NY 10001
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Semi-Documentary and Non-Documentary recordings
Gerineldo: Oro Anahory-Librowicz, Kelly Sultan Amar, Judith Cohen,
The only ensemble specializing in the Moroccan Judeo-Spanish
repertoire and performance style; all but one member are Moroccan
Sephardim who grew up with the tradition; Anahory-Librowicz and Cohen
are also recognized scholars of Judeo-Spanish song; Levy works
haketía , Moroccan Judeo-Spanish.
Based in Montreal. Mostly Moroccan repertoire; "En Medio" includes
several from the Eastern
Mediterranean as well. A number of rarely heard ballads from group
members' own field recordings or families, traditional life and calendar
cycle songs, recreational songs. Very traditional singing style and
instruments: a capella; oud; percussion; violin (Charly Edry) on "En
Medio"; and the occasional use of the medieval fiddle. The Tecnosaga
CDs are re-issues of cassettes recorded in Montreal in the 1980s.
Cassettes available from Judith Cohen; CDs from her or, I and II from
Tecnosaga (cassettes 1,2 and 3 are on CDs 1 and 2).
De Fiestas y Alegrias (Tecnosaga, Madrid KPD10.897, 1994)
Me Vaya Kappará (Tecnosaga, Madrid, KPD10.941, 1996)
En Medio de Aquel Camino (Gerineldo, Montreal, 1994)(available from
Video: Ya Hasrá -- Qué Tiempos
Aquellos, 90 minute videocassette; by Solly Levy (Gerineldo) produced
by Claude Beaulieu,
Université du Québec à Montréal. Gerineldo's video of Levy's original
folk theatre vignettes of Moroccan Judeo-Spanish family and domestic
holiday scenes, with songs. All in haketia (Moroccan
Pasharos Sefardíes (Los), Karen Gerson (director), Izzet Bana: vocals;
Selim Hubes, Yavuz Hubes, instrumentals. Istanbul.
Very little of the older repertoire of romances and wedding songs, but
they work in the popular Istanbul urban style and are lively and
engaging as performers.
La Romanza de Rika Curiel (Gozlem001, Turkey)
Kantikas Para Syempre, (Gözlem, Turkey) 003
(and earlier cassettes)
Various (tip of the iceberg):
Isaac Levy. el Kante de una Vida (The Song of a Life), National
Authority for Ladino, Israel, 2001, CD021-022. Sung by Isaac Levy,
Kohava Levy, Yasmin Levy, Yehudith Aharoni.
An important document of these arrangements which altered the character
of the songs and influenced the entire Judeo-Spanish song revival
movement; but somewhat misleading as to the distribution of the songs
(Yehudith Aharoni and Yasmin Levy each sing only the woman's part of one
dialogue song, and Kohava six, out of the entire double cd
collection). The documentation is utterly appalling, given the resources
available today, especially in Israel! The notes for CD-2 (liturgical
songs and seldom-if-ever recorded children's songs) are simply
non-existent, as is the note for CD-1 #30 (the last track), the rest of
the CD-1 notes consist of a couple of lines each about the songs' basic
content - no songs are identified by standard titles, including the few
romances included and no other information is provided. Nothing about
the relationship of the piano arrangements to the traditional style of
the songs. In the liturgical songs, no provenance (not even whether
they're from Morocco or the Eastern Mediterranean), and not a word
about the use of secular melodies for Hebrew religious texts, or which
Ladino songs were translated into Hebrew and when and why and how
they're used.... The new National Authority for Ladino has, for no
discernable reason, missed a great opportunity to provide a truly
important document instead of a pleasant re-issue of centrally
Altramar. Iberian Garden: Jewish, Christian and Muslim Music in Medieval Spain, Vol. 1-2 DIS 80151, 80158. 1995. Serious research and notes, admirable musicianship. Vocals bland in the Christian material, unconvincing in the settings of Arabic and Hebrew songs . No clear explanation that there are no medieval manuscripts of Jewish or Moslem music (except the Ovadiah fragments, see Cohen 2000): non-specialist listeners may think that the settings here are actually medieval, especially reading such trendily obfuscating phrases as "our melody is informed by melodic gestures found in 13th c. Hebrew Biblical cantillation symbols...." See my review in www.continuo.com/dec98/dec98revs/dec98voi.htm#8
Anthology. Todas las voces de Sefarad (Tecnosaga, Spain).
Tecnosaga (Saga): C/Dolores Armengot 13, Madrid 28025, 34-1-4618653 Fax
Vol. 1: Madrid Sephardic Community; Joaquín Díaz, La Bazanca, Raíces
Vol. 2: Adela Rubio and Santiago Blasco; Judith Cohen; Cantabile;
Felipe Curiel; KPD10.2000
Includes: Madrid Sephardic Community: traditional Moroccan
Judeo-Spanish songs and
style, but there are a few cuts sung by Letizia Arbeteta, who organized
the recording,in not very typical vocal style; also some
a-typical accompaniment added on guitar and espinette-de-Vosges. Díaz;
foremost Spanish "folk" approach, respected folklorist (see main text);
La Bazanca, Raíces: good performances, though with a more Spanish than
Sephardic musical flavour; Rubio and Blasco: careful but not
particularly inspiring re-creations of traditional
Salonican repertoire; Cohen: Turkish and Greek repertoire and a "suite"
of ballad versions; Curiel: standard repertoire from a South American
singer; Cantabile: Israeli choir, dir. Seroussi, choral arrangements of
a non-choral tradition.
Arbolera: Canciones y Coplas Sefardíes de Tradición Oral, Vol. 1-3: Dir. Susana Weich-Shahak; Vocals and instrumentals: Eliseo Parra , José Manuel Fraile, Carmen Terrón (II + III); Werner Lasser (I + II); others. Saga (Madrid) KPD-10.955, 1996; 10.966, 1997; 10.988 2000
Ensemble is directed by and includes (as an instrumentalist) Israeli ethnomusicologist Weich-Shahak, who, for the first time, also appears as a performer. None of the performers is Jewish, though Parra and Fraile are respected folklorists and performers in Spain. Their vocals are mostly successful in their imitation of Sephardic male vocal style, though the singing is occasionally somewhat strained; similarly, the instrumentals are good, but at times overworked. The female voice so central to Judeo-Spanish song is missing in Vol. I; Terrón's voice in Vol. II is bland and atypical of Sephardi women's singing, but has a much stronger presence in Vol. III. Vol. I focuses on calendar and life cycle songs, Vol. II on ballads (romances) and Vol. III on songs from the late 19th-early 20th century. The selections themselves are all taken from Weich-Shahak's extensive fieldwork, and include several songs which are rarely, if ever, recorded; notes are very informative (in Spanish).
Cohen, Judith R.
Member of Gerineldo; also musicologist (Judeo-Spanish, Medieval, and
related): Ashkenazi from Montreal; sings material from her own and
colleagues' documentary field recordings, works on re-creating
traditional styles; and on the connections between Sephardic songs and
the music of their various diaspora locations. Cohen also lectures and
publishes regularly on Sephardic and Crypto-Jewish traditions; her
daughter Tamar Ilana (b.1986) performs with her.
2000. Canciones de Sefarad: Empezar quiero contar (Songs of Sepharad: "I'll begin the story...": with Tamar Ilana Cohen Adams, Wafir Sheik, Eduardo Paniagua, PN 270, 2000. (members.aol.com/jmsimports/pneuma.htm). Sephardic songs in Judeo-Spanish and some in Hebrew, related traditional songs from the Sephardic diaspora, including medieval Iberia; Yiddish, Balkan, French Canada; Cohen and teen-aged daughter base repertoire on fieldwork and study. Review: www.klezmershack.com/#cohen_j; some tracks on www.yorku.ca/judithc
1997. Dans mon chemin j'ai rencontré, with Tamar Ilana Cohen Adams and Rob
Simms (Radio Canada/Interdisc, Canada, TRCD9503, 1997).
The title "On my Way I Met" reflects travel and encounters, and
connections between Judeo-Spanish songs and diaspora cultures:
Bosnian, Bulgarian, Yiddish, Turkish, Medieval Iberian , French
Canadian; also Cohen's own "suites" of pan-Hispanic/pan-European
versions of Sephardic ballads. with Rob Simms: oud, setar, derbukka,
guitar. See also "Todas las Voces de Sefarad" (Tecnosaga) and Gerineldo.
1991. Con Viela y Mochila, Madrid, Saga SEC 10.579. Now available on CD only, as part of Tecnosaga, "Primavera en
Salonica, Songs of the Sephardim and their Neighbours", Saga KPD10.977,
1992. Primavera en Salonica: Canciones de los Sefardíes
y sus Vecinos, Madrid, Saga.
Judeo-Spanish and surrounding cultures: Turkish, French Canada,
Medieval, Balkan, Yiddish. Jaume Bosser, oud, saz, guitar. Now available on CD only, as part of Tecnosaga, "Primavera en
Salonica, Songs of the Sephardim and their Neighbours", Saga KPD10.977,
1992. "1492-1992 Revisited: The Sephardic Song 'Revival', Musicworks
54:36-42; with accompanying compact disc including 11 selections: 6
sung by Cohen and 5 from her field collection.
A fine musician, and indefatigable folklorist and author; now the Director
of an ethnographic museum/library which bears his name. Díaz has been
very influential in awakening
and maintaining interest in Judeo-Spanish music in Spain, beginning in
the late years of the dictatorship. Mostly sung with acoustic
guitar, some a capella: many selections are well-known and others less
so; both the
Eastern Mediterranean and Moroccan repertoires. Not a typically
Sephardic vocal style, and Castillian non-Judeo-Spanish pronunciation
sometimes creeps in, but the sure musicianship and warm, subtle
Kantes judeo-espanyoles, (Tecnosaga, Madrid, 10.500 1996)
Alta Alta es la Luna (Tecnosaga, Madrid, 10.893, 1991)
Hesperion XX, Montserrat Figueras
Weltliche Musik um christlichen und Jüdischen Spanien. A two-volume set, one of Renaissance Spanish music, the other of Judeo-Spanish songs from both Morocco and the Eastern Mediterranean, V. (1450 - 1550) (Reflexe, Germany, C163 30125/6, 1976).
Well-known early music group, directed by Jordi Savall. Figueras'
voice is rather fussy, and the declamatory recitatives which apparently
are used to make the ballad texts go by faster are, to my ears,
instrusive; the instruments are very good if not very "Sephardic"; the
recording is perhaps most worth hearing for its place in Judeo-Spanish
Hesperion XXI (formerly Hesperion XX), Montserrat Figueras, Jordi Savall et al.. Diaspora Sefardi: Romances y música instrumental. AliaVox, AV 9809 A+B (two CD set.) 2000. Dist. Harmonia Mundi. Expert musicality but heavy-handed classical Western influenced vocals and generally pretentious.
The Renaissance Players. The Sephardic Experience. Vol 1-4, Winsome Evans. Celestial Harmonies 13168-2. Copious notes, sometimes off the point. Balkan dance tunes; English translations of medieval Hispano-Hebraic poetry, unappealingly recited. Good instrumentals, some good singing and other bland; see my review Yearbook for Traditional Music, in press.
Ruth Yaakov Ensemble, Sephardic Songs of the Balkans. Piranha CD PIR1255, 1998. Covers Balkan/Ottoman Judeo-Spanish repertoire. Approaches, but just misses, a convincing imitation of traditional vocal Turkish and Balkan Sephardic style.
Sánchez, Miguel, dir. Alia Música,. El canto espiritual judeo-español, Harmonia Mundi Ibérica HMI 987015,1998. more in Hebrew; sounds more like well-sung church music than Sephardic song
Sarband: dir. Vladimir Ivanoff; voice Fadia el-Hage, Belinda Sykes: Canciones sefardíes de la tradición hispano-árabe en la España medieval. Jaro/Sonifolk 21115. 1998. El-Hage: fine Lebanese singer but not at home with Judeo-Spanish; Sykes' acquired "Balkan" vocal technique inappropriate; songs too solemnly drawn-out but good instrumentals, good notes.
Voice of the Turtle, The Sword of the Dove, A Judeo-Spanish Purim Fantasia, Kol haTor KHT019, 2000. Following their Passover album, this one revolves around the springtime holiday of Purim. A welcome innovation here is the inclusion of thorough notes by Edwin Seroussi, not in the CD album, but on the web: www.geocities.com/votdove/Edwin.html
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Non-Judeo-Spanish, of note
Jochsberger, Tsiporah, 1991. Sepharad: a People and its Music, Jerusalem,
The Israel Music Heritage Project.
In general, the best accessible videos
of a variety of Jewish music cultures, including Judeo-Spanish.
The Music of the Mountain Jews, Ed. Commentary Piris Eliyahu, Anthology of Music Traditions in Israel 10. Hebrew University, Jewish Music Research Center, 1998.
Utterly delightful recordings of the eastern Caucasus Jews from Azerbaijan, Cechnya, Daghestan and Kabardino-Balkar,: liturgical, folk song, dance and Azeri, in Hebrew and Juhuri, or Judeo-Tat.
Jewish Composers in Classical Turkish Music, Istanbul, Gozlem, 1995.
good introduction to the music of the highly-respected Jewish composers
of the Ottoman courts.
Bhattacharya, Deben, ed., In Israel Today, Westminster. 5 LP set
find now, but great old recordings of different Jewish musical cultures
recorded in Israel. Documentation is not always findable: It's in a
separate booklet, and in any case,t here is missing and sometimes
incorrect infromation -- it's the recordings themselves which are the
attraction, from Jewish cultures of Morocco, Uzbekistan, Cochin and
Eliyahoo Hanabee. the Music Tradition of the Bene Israel of Bombay,
ed. Yuval Shaked, Beth Hatefutsoth 2001, BTR0101
performed by Pinhas
Reuben Pezarkar et al., recorded in Bombay 1997, notes Sara Manasseh. An
important recording, mostly in Hebrew and two rarely heard songs in
Marathi, but not particularly well sung: the Bene Israel community of
Toronto has better singers. Nevertheless, the only serious recording
with reliable notes to appear so far of this tradition.
Daniel, Romiel. Shabbat Shalom from India, 1997. Arr. Pandit Ramesh
Mitra, sarangi; guitar, drums, keyboards, tapan.
Most of the Bene Israel singing I've heard has been a capella, graceful
melodies sung in the context of actual services in Toronto, or
Israel. This CD contains Shabbat-related selections, in Hebrew.
The voice is pleasant enough but not remarkable; and while the sarangi
and tapan are welcome additions, the guitar and keyboard do little to
enhance the overall sound. In any case they would traditionally not
have been played on Shabbat. Not all the melodies are from the Bene
Israel repertoire: "Shalom aleikhem" for
example, is the same familiar melody I grew up with; the typical Bene
Israel tunes such as that used for "Dror Yiqra" are much more appealing
in this context.
Kohavim Tikvah Choir. Shalom Everybody Everywhere: introducing the
Abayudaya Jews of Uganda Kulanu 9701, 1997. Kulanu, c/o Hantman, 3520
Tarkington Lane, Silver Spring MD 20906
This unusual group offers no actual claims to Jewish ancestry to be
accepted or disputed:
they are open about having chosen Judaism through their erstwhile
leader, in 1919, and, while they are observant of Jewish practices, have
There are new melodies for traditional texts such as "Lekha Dodi" and
"Adon Olam", as well as some original songs, for example, "We shan't
give up" and "Mirembe, Mirembe - Shalom, Shalom". The rhythms, melodies
harmonies are all African, and, while they are unmistakably happy
renditions, this is really not one of the more musically accomplished
recordings one is likely to hear from any part of Africa.
(original review for JFER 1998)
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People often confuse the difference between a "romance" and "romancero." To recap:
a romance is a narrative Hispanic ballad, with a specific
structure (usually, but not always, 16-syllable lines, each of 2
8-syllable hemistichs, with final assonance but not rhyme, i.e.
En la ciudad de Toledo, en la ciudad de Granada
Alli se ha criado un mancebo que Diego Leon se llamaba.)
A romancero is a collection or corpus of romance's, not an
So one can speak of the "Sephardic romancero" which in turn is part of
the "pan-Hispanic romancero", but any given example is a "romance" - one
wouldn't say that one's grandmother sang a lot of "romancero"'s, for
example, but that she sang several romance's from, say, the Salonica or
the Tetuan romancero. A lot of people tend to say "romanza" for almost
any lyrical song in the eastern Sephardic repertoire (not in Morocco)
but this isn't very accurate. Non-romances are very often "canticas"
(just "songs") or, certain forms, especially, very often, those related
to para-liturgical contexts, and/or topical songs, are "coplas".
Actually, the easiest thing is probably just to say "song"!