Playing time: 59' 30"
Judith R. Cohen (voice, medieval fiddle, drums), Tamar Ilana Cohen Adams (voice, drum, shells), Eduardo Paniagua (kanun, arab flutes, tambourine, triangle, sistro), Wafir Sheik (arab lute, viola), David Mayoral (drums, tympani, tambourine, bells)
Recording site and date:
Madrid, Spain [08/2000]
 Pneuma « Colección Historica (Tres culturas) » PN-1200 [CD] Cantos de Mujeres en las Tres Culturas / Female voices in the three cultures – Spanish Christians, Jews and Muslims in the Middle Ages
 Pneuma PN-800 [CD] Puentes sobre el Mediterráneo: Dialogo musical de las culturas medievales del Mediterráneo
 Pneuma PN-370 La llamada de Al-Andalus - The Call of Al-Andalus: Obras maestras de la colección Al-Andalus de Pneuma
Fanfare (Vol./#-p.): 25/5-243 (may/june 2002)
Information from owned CD and Judith R. Cohen. She wrote:
"Empezo quiero contar" - "I'd like to begin to tell the story...." We've chosen this opening line of the Moroccan Judeo-Spanish Purim song as the title of our recording, for it's meant to tell a story in its own way, linking the songs of Sefarad - the traditional Jewish name for the Iberian Peninsula, and by extension, Sephardic culture - to their roots in medieval Jewish Iberia. Of today's Sephardic repertoire, there are no songs which can actually be said to be medieval. Many of the texts do have their roots in medieval or Renaissance Spain, but their melodies are not medieval: rather, they are part of an oral tradition which has developed over centuries, continents and cultures into the unique blend making Judeo-Spanish songs what they are today. At the same time, the Jewish poetry of medieval Spain remains mostly unsung, because it has not come down to us with its melodies. So I have experimented with contrafacta: setting some of these poems to medieval melodies which the poets may have known. Other songs we have chosen have very old texts, or very old themes, although the actual texts may not be medieval. We've also included two regional Portuguese songs, which Tamar and I learned while conducting fieldwork in areas where Crypto-Judaism is still practiced. We have tried to preserve a traditional vocal style, based on fieldwork over the years in Sephardic and Mediterranean communities: for the Middle Ages, of course, any attempt at re-creating vocal style can be only speculative. Some of the instrumentation is entirely traditional (which occasionally means there is none); in other cases, such as the romance La Envenedadora, Eduardo and Wafir have added accompaniments, providing some of the sound texture of Sephardic worlds of both Middle Ages and today's Mediterranean cultures.
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