Jewish-Portuguese Music - The musical traditions of the ancient Marrano communities from South West of France

A radio show from the European Institute for Jewish Music, hosted by Hervé Roten

MUSIQUES JUIVES D’HIER ET D’AUJOURD’HUI - TUESDAY JULY 2ND 2013, JUDAÏQUES FM (94.8), 21H05

In the first half of the XVIth century, several Marrano families, who fled the persecutions od the Spanish Inquisition, settled in the South West of the kingdom of France, in particular in Bordeaux and in Bayonne region. Some gave up Judaism, but others continued practicing it secretly.

Profiting of a royal protection as “new Christians”, these Portuguese merchants practiced illegally Judaism in secret during more than 250 years, until officially recognized as Jews in 1790.
Despite the small number (5000 people maximum), this Portuguese community of South West of France gave birth to great men who marked the history of France, such as the Pereire brothers who participated to build the railroad, or the Council president Pierre Mendès–France…


These ancient Portuguese nations from South West of France were the subject of many historical researches. But its musical traditions that were forbidden for nearly three centuries were left totally unknown for a long time.

This radio program, based on the scientific research of musicologist Hervé Roten, aims to fill that gap by presenting a thrilling musical story illustrated with many music examples.

Musiques judéo-portugaises du sud-ouest de la France - Hervé Roten (Judaïques FM 94.8)


Officer 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 for 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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  • Musiques judéo-portugaises du sud-ouest de la France - Hervé Roten (Judaïques FM 94.8)

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