Ladino, also known as Judeo-Spanish, is an endangered language spoken in a small number of Sephardic Jewish communities around the world. This wonderful language is a carrier of age-old traditions, wisdom and 100 years history, but it is through song that Ladinos best express themselves.
Sephardic songs in a variety of genres and themes have traditionally been an integral part of community life and family celebrations. In addition, although Ladino itself is in decline, other aspects of Judeo-Spanish culture, namely cuisine and traditional song, have assumed the role of principal markers of Sephardic Jewish identity. In other words, Sephardic Jewish identity is no longer principally associated with the use of Judeo-Spanish, as it was during Ottoman times and during the first half of the twentieth century, but is now expressed through the various ‘artefacts’ of Sephardic culture, among them Judeo-Spanish. The fact that Sephardic song has gained popularity among wider audiences since the last decades of the twentieth century is attested by the quantity and variety of Sephardic music interpreters and ensembles (both Jewish and non-Jewish). By the way, have you heard our teacher Matan sing in his ‘Welcome video’?