Sephardic Music: A Century of Recordings
December 12, 2012 7:41 AM   Subscribe

Sephardic Music: A Century of Recordings is a discographic website charting the recording of Sephardic secular and liturgical songs. It includes great sections on 78 rpm recordings, early repertory, and modern recordings. Samples of songs are littered throughout, but many can be found in the Appendix section on 78 labels (at the bottom of the page) and the Songs section of the Appendix. There are many other parts of the site to explore, but the Bibiliography deserves a special mention, as does this page providing samples of 125! different recordings of the popular song A la una over the past 100 years.
posted by OmieWise (12 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
There is just something so beautiful about Jewish liturgical music. I consider myself an atheist Jew, but sitting in Temple, listening to music that feels as old as the mountains, it's incredibly moving. The Kaddish brings me to tears, it just feels...

Thanks for this.
posted by X-Himy at 8:18 AM on December 12, 2012

I am so bad at jewishing, I always forget that there is a whole other world outside Ashkenazim.
posted by elizardbits at 8:45 AM on December 12, 2012

Almost completely unrelated, but...

You Don't Have to be Jewish to Love Israeli Disco
posted by slogger at 8:55 AM on December 12, 2012

I'm not, and I don't, but I think I love that LP. I may have to get it.
posted by OmieWise at 9:00 AM on December 12, 2012

Similar to the exploration of A la una, here's 15 minutes of 15 different versions of La Rosa Enflorece (tune known to FariƱa/Baez fans as The Swallow Song via Los Bilbilicos [PDF] (gorgeous version by Consuelo Luz; discussion of the crossover on Mudcat)) from this year's International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam (Silverlight required, introduction in Dutch, I contributed to Kickstarter to send one of the groups there).
posted by nonane at 9:32 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

This is great. I still remember the first time I visited a Sephardic synagogue (I believe it was in Denver) and at certain times it felt like being inside an orchestra warming up - so many people from different world communities were holding fast to their own tunes, and all doing their own thing at once before all joining together with the person leading services. Just hauntingly beautiful.
posted by Mchelly at 9:32 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

Also, I think I found the post where I can finally have an excuse to link to Ya'alili
posted by Mchelly at 9:34 AM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

I grew up listening to Sephardic music. I really really liked the love songs with subtle humor, and some of the liturgical songs used to put me in a mystical mood.

My paternal last name is one letter off a common Sephardic last name, and my maternal one is a common one for converted moors in southern Spain. For years I hoped to be the descendant of converted Spanish Jews and Moors, so that I could lay claim to two of the richest cultural heritages in the world.

The Genographic Project and 23 and Me killed my hopes. I most likely descend from Celtiberians and Amerindians of one of the cultures that did not build pyramids. This really narrows down what music I can claim to have in my blood. Does anyone know of something that has bagpipes and hollowed log drums?
posted by Doroteo Arango II at 10:25 AM on December 12, 2012

I would be interested in listening to some of these but the organization is not what would be useful to me. What I would like to hear is song editions (if they exist) of particular psalms. For example what would be the label in this index of Psalm 23?
posted by bukvich at 11:32 AM on December 12, 2012

I did a quick look-through and didn't see psalm 23 (most of these are titled with the first few words of the song/prayer, that one would be called Mizmor L'David Adonai roi v'lo echsar, or possibly tehillim 23). There were a few psalms listed (anything named mizmor l'david or shir ha-maalot will be a psalm, for example, the words mean 'a song of David' / 'a song of ascendants'), but yeah, it does seem to be assuming that visitors will already be familiar with the liturgy.

This version did turn up on a Google search, though.
posted by Mchelly at 12:08 PM on December 12, 2012

Thanks Mchelly! I'm interested in some others. What did you use for your search terms?
posted by bukvich at 12:50 PM on December 12, 2012

"Tehillim" is the Hebrew word for Psalms. That plus the number plus sephardi / sefardi / sefardic / sephardic (a good part of the problem here is there's no standard for transliteration) should get you some choices.
posted by Mchelly at 1:04 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]

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