Bethel Jazz is heating up on Wednesday, September 9 at La Zingara located at 8 Barnum Square in Bethel at 6 p.m. The Elias Ladino Ensemble has performed the songs of the Sephardic Jews in venues all over the world. Many of the Jews who were expelled from Spain during the Inquisition and relocated to the Ottoman Empire. There they lived in insular communities, practicing their religion and speaking the Spanish language that they brought out of Spain.
Over the next 450 years this language evolved into the language we call Ladino, a distinct dialect spoken only by Sephardic Jews. Today Ladino is on the verge of extinction. World War II saw the annihilation of the Spanish Jews in the Balkans; a way of life and a culture were given a death sentence. We learned these Songs from within the Sephardic Community, so we understand the connection that they had to everyday life.
There are songs of love and lust, drinking, and disappointment. Songs were sung at weddings and songs for circumcisions. There was a “Ladino soundtrack” for every aspect of life. Many of the songs date back to ancient Spain, while some reveal melodies and rhythms of the Balkan and Middle Eastern communities where we lived in exile. In our hands, the music remains as vibrant as the community once was. The Elias Ladino Ensemble has performed in festivals and concerts in Spain, Turkey, Israel, Canada, and throughout North America.