Sephardic Women's Songs of the Balkans

Ziara - Pilgrimage
The title song of this album describes a "ZIARA" (pilgrimage) to Jerusalem.
Since the first expulsion of Jews from Israel, Jews always prayed and longed to return to Jerusalem, the city of God. Since then the Jews have experienced several other expulsions.

One of them is known as "GERUSH SEPHARAD" - the expulsion of the Jews from Spain and Portugal in 1492 under the regime of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella. Sephardi refugees were invited by Sultan Bayezid II. to settle in the Ottoman Empire.

Thessaloniki, Istanbul, Sofia, Sarayevo, as well as Jerusalem became important centers of Sephardic life and culture. Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), the domestic language of this culture, is based primarily on Castilian Spanish and interweaves words and expressions from Hebrew, as well as from languages in the various countries where Sephardim have settled.

The pilgrimage to Jerusalem symbolizes the mental and physical yearning of the believer to God. In this private journey, the Jew fulfills the pilgrimage of all generations. Time crosses roads, past and future meet, thus the Jew experiences eternity arriving the temple.

Ruth Yaakov



Ruth Yaakov was born in Israel. She graduated at the Rubin Academy of Music, Tel-Aviv University, where she studied and mastered classical singing: Opera, Lieder and Oratory. She took part and performed in international workshops all over the world. Through extensive private research she learned the traditional singing style and repertoire of Sephardic music. Since 1993 she founded and has directed the Ruth Yaakov Ensemble, with whitch she has performed internationally and was featured on television and radio programs. Her first album SHAATNEZ was released in 1998, where she collaborated with Juan Carlos Sungurlian (ud), Shkelzen Doli (violin) and Levent Tarhan (percussion). In addition to here activity as a performer Ruth Yaakov gave workshops in Jewish music at schools and festivals in Austria, teaches vocal technic and works as a Music Therapist.

1. Ay dicime un si (Oh do say yes) 5:15
2. A la mar me vo echar (In the sea I will jump) 4:35
3. Ir me quiero madre a Yerushalaim (Mother I long to go to Jerusalem) 8:02
4. Fostan blanco te cortí (I cut you a white dress) 3:02
5. Bernal Francés 2:19
6. Alta sois la mi dama (Lofty is my girl) 5:47
7. Esto quen lo culpa (It's his fault) 4:37
8. La bulisa Catina / Aman preciaducho (Madame Catina / Aman, my dear one) 5:00
9. Ay que mueve meses (After nine months) 2:26
10. Yo le mandí a mi novia (I send my bride) 2:22
11. Hija hermosa sin ventura (Beautiful girl without luck) 4:52
12. La partida del esposo (The parting of the husband) 9:40

Total Time: 57:59


All tracks traditional, arranged by the Ruth Yaakov Ensemble
Produced by Ruth Yaakov
Recording engineer and mix: Dima Graziani
Edit: Ariel Barazani
Recorded, mixed and mastered at Studio One, Jerusalem, July 2003.

The Ruth Yaakov Ensemble:
Ruth Yaakov: voice
Eyal Sela: clarinet, penny whistle
Yaniv Raba: ud
Naor Carmil: yayli tanbur, baglama, double bass
Noam Chen: percussion
Release date: 20/12/2004

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