Fabulous article in the Forward featuring Ladino songstress Sarah Aroeste:
“For Ladino Musicians, The World’s A Stage: Artists are Forging a Global Sephardi Culture”
I’ve been a fan of this spicy Jewish singer ever since my mother quoted her lyrics in her novel The Blind Eye (currently being re-released on L’Image Press with an awesome new cover.) We like to call her our Spanish cousin, though I’m not sure she wants to own our Eastern European DNA.
Along with a handful of other artists, Sarah has breathed new life into Ladino, the quirky Judeo-Spanish dialect last heard in the streets of Portugal circa the late 15th century, mining its rich, round sounds. Her new album, Gracia, shakes up the old with new things that the Sephardic rabbis probably hadn’t planned on, like sick beats and feminism and Sarah’s sultry, sexy tones, all of which place what was one a dying language quite firmly in the NOW.
Check the new single with samples from Gloria Steinem and raps by Hebrew Mamita Vanessa Hidary:
The song was inspired by Dona Gracia Nasi, a 16th century writer and activist who stood up to the forced conversions of the Jewish people in Portugal and Spain (her JWA profile is fascinating.)
“All is grace” is also the perfect mantra for me at the moment, as I’ve just discovered that I somehow overlooked the full-on tax code of summer camp forms and health history and character assessment worksheets that warn the counselors that your kid might be a little freaky and not the best sleeper but has above average leadership skills and hates lima beans. All these were due four weeks ago. Camp starts in a week. And the doctor’s office is closed today.
Fifteen minutes ago I opened up the monster PDF and decided maybe they didn’t have to go to camp after all.
Now that my inner castanets are clicking, I think I can deal.