Jewish singers from Tunisia

A radio program of the European Institute for Jewish Music hosted by Hervé Roten

MUSIQUES JUIVES D’HIER ET D’AUJOURD’HUI - TUESDAY APRIL 9, 2013, JUDAÏQUES FM (94.8), 21H05

Jews are settled in the territories of today’s Tunisia since centuries. If one should believe the legend, when the first Temple was destroyed in 586 B.C. by Nebuchadnezzar, some Cohanim (priests) would have gone into exile, and would have landed on the island of Djerba, where they would have built their first synagogue of la Ghriba, in which they would have incorporated one of the original rocks of the Temple, taken during their escape.

As diasporas went by, the Jewish culture will progressively take root in this Tunisian land. Thus, in the 15th century, Jews chasen from Spain by the Inquisition of Isabel the Catholic take refuge in North Africa. Finally, in the 18th century, it’s the Granas, Jews coming from Livorno in Italy who cross the Mediterranean Sea. The Israelites live then under the protection of the Bey. These successive emigrations blend into the local cultures, the songs in Arab and the music rhythm joyously the celebrations from the Brit Milah (circumcision) to the wedding, passing by the Bar Mitsvah. And to better fit in the landscape, the biggest singers take pseudonyms with an Arab consonance, therefore Isserène Israel Rozio will become Cheïkh El Afrite, Elie Touitou will be El Kahlaoui Tounsi (Kahlaoui the Tunisian). And as singing is forbidden to Muslim women, the greatest women singers will often be Jewish, like Louisa Tounisia (Louisa the Tunisian), Fritna Darmon, Leyla Sfez or the famous Hbiba Msika, born Margueritte Mskika, who had a tragic fate.

For the release of the CD « Jewish singers from Tunisia », the producer Michel Lévy and musicologist Hervé Roten will talk of this singular story, uillustrated by many excerpts of songsb by Hbiba Msika, Fritna Darmon, Louisa Tounsia, Raoul Journo, Cheikh El Afrite, El Kahlaoui Tounsi and José de Suza…

Emission radio : Chanteurs juifs de Tunisie - Hervé Roten (Judaïques FM 94.8)

Listen to

In case the music player doesn't open, you must allow the opening of pop-ups for the website iemj.org in your browser settings.

  • Emission radio : Chanteurs juifs de Tunisie - Hervé Roten (Judaïques FM 94.8)

Lire tout

You may also like

Jewish Music: When Singular is Plural

Wednesday November 6, 2019, 6 pm a lecture by Hervé Roten, Director of the European Institute of Jewish Music, at the Pontifical Gregorian (…)

Jacques Offenbach and friends - From the Synagogue to the Opera

NEW RELEASE AT THE EIJM’S PUBLISHING HOUSE. This CD makes us discover the original Hebrew works of Isaac and Jacques Offenbach, Giacomo Meyerbeer, (…)

Symposium in Hannover : Magnified and Sanctified, The Music of Jewish Prayer II

From the 9th to the 12th September 2019 at the Hannover university (GERMANY), international symposium on Jewish liturgical music. Hervé Roten, (…)

Musica Judaica Symposium : Jewish music between oral and written traditions

On the 14th & 15th of July 2019 in Oxford (ENGLAND) will take place an international symposium in which Hervé Roten, Director of the European (…)

The EIJM’s Gala Concert - 5th edition - From the synagogue to the opera : Jacques Offenbach and friends

Buy your tickets on the online shop Original Hebrew works by Jacques and Isaac Offenbach, Jacques Fromental Halévy, Giacomo Meyerbeer, Jules (…)