Ladino, or Judeo-Spanish, is a combination of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Spanish. When the estimated 300,000 Spanish Jews were exiled from Spain in 1492, they carried this language with them. Today Ladino is spoken on a daily basis by fewer than 100,000 people, earning it a spot on UNESCO’s list of endangered languages ::::
But according to Columbia College professor and Ladino expert Aviya Kushner, the Ladino language is currently encountering a renaissance. New bands are composing and playing songs in Ladino, attracting throngs of fans and critical admiration. Me’am Loez, a Ladino commentary on the Torah, is widely printed and studied, and Jews with proficiency in both Hebrew and Spanish are learning the untranslated original.
A Ladino nonprofit, NameYourRoots.com, attempts to reach out to Anusim, or crypto-Jews, whose ancestors may have converted to Christianity–and to help them rediscover their heritage. This organization links people to Ladino language classes and spreads Ladino culture. It might not bring back Ladino in the numbers of its golden age, but it’s a fascinating effort to reconnect to a culture that’s been long neglected by much of the Jewish world.
Featured Video :: Guy Mendilow is a musician who is passionate about exploring sounds across cultures. He is world citizen himself, growing up following his professor father’s assignments from Israel, where he was born, to South Africa and the United States, and also living for a time in Brazil. On his latest album, Skyland, Mendilow includes music that mixes ideas from those cultures, Yiddish songs from a guest vocalist, Cajun accordion and bamboo flute from regular band members, and his own overtone singing along with a range of other instruments and styles. Recently, he has been exploring the music of the Sephardic Jews, itself a mix which includes Arabic, Turkish, Hebrew, and Spanish elements, and that’s featured on the recording as well. The five band members and two guest artists create a collection which is, as Mendilow prefers, focused on meaning of sound before meaning of lyric. The result is a challenging and engaging mix which ends up being focused on peace. It comes as no surprise, then, that the band often partners with organizations dedicated to peace and cultural understanding :: Read more about Guy at: www.wanderingeducators.com
source: wandering educators