Azafea : a Spanish odyssey into the heart of Sefardi music

A radio broadcast of the European Institute of Jewish Music, hosted by Hervé Roten

MUSIQUES JUIVES D’HIER ET D’AUJOURD’HUI – TUESDAY SEPTEMBER 23, 2014, JUDAÏQUES FM (94.8), 21H05. Radio program in French


In the 11th century, near Toledo, the invention of the azafea by the astronomer Azarchel (1029 – 1087) (Al-Zarqali by his Arabic name] changed greatly the perception of the world. The azafea allowed to calculate the position of the stars under any latitude. This instrument of navigation would allow Spain to adventure itself beyond seas and oceans.

Nearly 500 years later, these maritime routes were taken by thousands of Jews from the Iberian Peninsula, forced to leave Spain and Portugal after the expulsion decrees of 1492 and 1497. Many people thus took a one way trip, towards the Ottoman Empire, others towards Holland and its Atlantic colonies, and some towards North Africa. This is how Sefardi culture, its language, Judeo-Spanish, its food recipes and music, born in the Spanish golden age, spreaded out.

Sefardi music enriches itself among the various countries where Jews settled down. From Spain, it keeps the melodies of several songs. From Turkey, it borrows modes and musical themes. In South America, it becomes languorous and swaying. In Israel, it gets mixed with popular songs.

During this radio broadcast, double bass player Rémy Yulzari will make us discover this wonderful musical journey in the heart of Sefardi culture.
A creative odyssey performed by today’s great musicians : Nadav Lev (guitar), Rémy Yulzari (double bass), Frank London (trumpet) and John Hadfield (percussion). And the occasion to discover the CD from the « Discovery » collection published by the EIJM.

Purchase the CD Azafea – CD Vol.2, Ed.IEMJ, on our online shop
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herve_photo_retouche_fond_uni_bleu_500px.jpgOfficer of the Ordre of Arts and letters, PhD in musicology at Paris University Sorbonne, prize-winning graduate from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, Hervé Roten is the director of the European Institute of Jewish Music since its creation in 2006.
Ethnomusicologist, he quickly developed an interest in the safeguard and digitization of archives, subjects he taught for several years in Reims and Marne-La-Vallée universities.
Author of many articles, books and recordings related to Jewish music, producer of radio programs, Hervé Roten is recognized today as one of the best specialists of Jewish music in the world.

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