Sunday November 14, 2021
Emerson Avenue Salonlines Proudly Presents
a Live YouTube Broadcast
– A “hybrid” concert –
Susan Gaeta, Tina Chancey & Howard Bass
Trio Sefardi Celebrates Hanuka
and the Vital Role of Women in Sephardic Song
The trio’s program will begin and end with two of the best-known and loved Sephardic Hanuka songs, both of which were composed by Flory Jagoda: “Hanuka, Hanuka” and “Ocho Kandelikas.” In between those two gems will be songs that celebrate food and drink, which are, after all, essential elements in most holiday gatherings! These songs and several that will constitute the middle portion of the program point to the vital role that women have played in the making and preserving of Sephardic song traditions, especially in the realm of secular songs.
Sephardic songs are sung in Ladino, also known as Judeo-Spanish, the language that the Sephardim took with them when they were exiled from Spain in 1492; this is the language the Sephardim kept alive in exile for more than five centuries, until the madness of World War II destroyed much of the Sephardic communities of the Balkans. Besides the holiday songs and those about food and drink, the trio’s program includes songs about mothers and daughters, their lives and tribulations. It’s clear from the lyrics that it was women who made these songs and taught them to their daughters and granddaughters, just as Flory Jagoda taught many of them to the trio and others who worked with her during her long and productive career.
lyrics and music by Flory Jagoda
Siete Modos de Guisar la Berenjena
(7 Ways to Cook Eggplant)
Mothers and Daughters
La Komida la Manyana
probably Turkish in origin (a young girl longs for love)
Esta Montanya/Mi Suegra, La Negra
Balkan or Turkish, performed instrumentally (This mountain/My mother-in-law, an evil one)
Madre Miya Si Mi Muero
traditional lyrics set by Flory Jagoda (Mother, if I die…)
Noches, Noches, Buena Noches
Traditional Balkan (A mother tells of her three daughters)
A la Una Naci Yo/A la Una Yo Nací
Traditional Balkan and Turkish (At one I was born…)
Porke Yoras, Blanka Ninya/Morena Me Yaman
Balkan, performed instrumentally (Why do you cry, pale-skinned girl?/They call me the brown one)
Una Muchacha de Salonika
Traditional Balkan (A young girl burns the stuffed grape leaves—trouble ensues!)
Mi Vino, Tan Kerido
Traditional, origin unknown (My wine, I love it so!)
Lyrics and music by Flory Jagoda (The Aunts—a celebration of holidays in Vlasenica, Bosina, where Flory’s family lived for generations)
lyrics and music by Flory Jagoda (8 Little Candles, Flory’s best-known song)
TRIO SEFARDI, a northern Virginia-based ensemble, performs traditional songs of the Sephardim, the descendants of Jews exiled from Spain in 1492. Their repertoire draws on the song traditions of Sephardic communities from the former Yugoslavia, Greece, Bulgaria, Turkey, and North Africa, with a special emphasis on traditional and original songs they learned from their mentor, Bosnian-born singer/composer and 2002 National Heritage awardee Flory Jagoda. The trio has performed extensively at prestigious East Coast concert venues, festivals, synagogues, and Jewish community centers since forming in 2010. This year they released their fourth CD, “Rikordus: Memories of Flory Jagoda.” The members of the trio are Susan Gaeta, lead vocals, guitar, percussion; Tina Chancey, bass viola da gamba, Renaissance violin, rebec, Pontic lyra, percussion, backup vocals; Howard Bass, guitar, lute, percussion, backup vocals.
Susan, Tina, and Howard bring an wide array of musical influences to their interpretation of Sephardic music, including traditional music, early music, jazz, and popular song. They worked extensively with Flory Jagoda (who died this year at the age of 97), known as the Keeper of the Flame of Sephardic song. Susan and Howard toured with Flory in the U.S., Canada, and Europe for fifteen years and performed regularly with her in the Greater Washington area. Susan was Flory’s apprentice through the Virginia Commission on the Arts Master/Apprentice program, and Howard was Flory’s guitar accompanist. The trio performed several concerts with Flory, including at the Library of Congress and the Kennedy Center, and has developed a tribute program, “La Nona Kanta: The Remarkable Life of Flory Jagoda,” that combines filmed interviews with Flory, live music by the trio, additional still images and animation, and spoken word. Presentations of “La Nona Kanta” receive in-kind support from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.
For more information about the trio: www.triosefardi.com
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