SONGS OF SORROW:
LADINO/SEPHARDIC MUSIC FROM PRE-EXPULSION SPAIN
The Ladino language is a Hebrew-Spanish hybrid that developed in Medieval Spain. It resembles medieval Castilian in grammar and pronunciation, while incorporating Hebrew vocabulary, and using the Hebrew writing system. After the expulsion of the Jews from Spain in 1492, Ladino gradually died out as a language in Europe, though it continued to be used in Jewish communities throughout the Latin American world.
Ladino music developed in medieval al-Andalus, and was passed down through oral tradition, largely, though not exclusively, from mother to daughter. It is marked by drama, intensity, and beautiful, virtuosic melodies.
THE LADINO MUSIC DATABASE
A soon-to-be-searchable database of Ladino and Sephardic music (sheet music, recordings, and videos), continually updated as more information becomes available. In cases where I have been unable to locate published sheet music, I have been transcribing the songs from recordings. If you have pieces that you would like to contribute to the database, please contact me.
A NOTE ABOUT THE PROVENANCE OF SONGS IN THE DATABASE:
Dating Ladino music is an involved, time-consuming, difficult process, requiring a great deal of knowledge and expertise. Not all the pieces on this list are period, and a great number have not yet been evaluated. Please check the “Performance and Historical Notes” for updates on the periodicity of songs. If you want me to evaluate a specific song for documentation purposes, please submit a Ladino Song Evaluation Request.
LADINO MUSIC PERFORMED BY
LAILA AL-SANNA’ AL-ANDALUSIYYA
For videos, recordings, and information about upcoming performances, please visit: