Sources: Chants Judeo Espagnols (Yo era niña); Musical Repercussions of 1492(Las hermanas);
Chants Sephardis, vol. 1, and Musica y Tradiciones Sefardis (Esta Rachel)
While Sephardic music is a vocal tradition, and there are no known songs that were written as instrumentals, we like to play some of them that way. The first song in this medley is from Izmir, formerly Smyrna, a port on the west coast of Turkey which once had a significant Jewish population. “Las hermanas” is in 7/8 rhythm, typical of Greek and Balkan music. The song was recorded in Israel by I.J. Katz, and the singer was originally from Salonika, which was sometimes called the Jerusalem of the northern Mediterranean. Nearly all of its Jewish population was transported to Auschwitz and murdered by the Nazis near the end of World War II. “Esta Rachel” is also in 7/8 and is of Balkan origin, though it was also known in North Africa. In Musica y Tradiciones Sefardis, it is written in duple meter.