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Sephardi Music


'Sephardi' (Hebrew for Spain) refers to the Jews who lived and flourished in the Iberian peninsula for many centuries, until they were expelled along with the Muslims, in 1492. Sephardi Jews took their language and musical traditions with them in to exile and absorbed other traditions from North Africa, the Eastern Mediterranean and countries in the Middle East where they settled. Many of the standard hymns in the Hebrew liturgy were composed by great Sephardic poets during the 'Golden Age' in mediaeval Spain. The lingua franca of Sephardi Jews was Ladino (or Judeo-Spanish) which was based on mediaeval Castilian and written in Hebrew script. The Ladino ballad repertoire was a very important song tradition transmitted through the female line.


last modified: 22 May 2006


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The Jewish Music Institute is an independent Arts organisation based at SOAS, University of London. It is an international focus bringing the ancient yet contemporary musical culture of the Jews to the mainstream British cultural, academic and social life. Its programmes of education, performance and information highlight many aspects of Jewish music throughout the ages and across the globe for people of all ages, backgrounds and cultures.