Sandra Bessis, on the traces of Sefardi music

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


Sefarad means Spain in Hebrew. This word identifies the Jews expelled from Spain in 1492, after the fall of the Granada kingdom, last episode of the Christian recapture of the Iberian Peninsula. More widely, we name as such the Jewish communities of the Arabo-Muslim world, North African in particular, although the majority of these people were composed of Jews native of Berber tribes who became Jewish since the Antiquity era, and not from the expelled of Spain in the 15th century.

Sefardi songs cover two definitions. The Judeo-Spanish songs at first, which came from Medieval Andalusia, passed on and enriched through centuries by communities born of this diaspora, and more widely, Judeo-Arab music, secular or religious.

Since the end of the 1980’s, the singer Sandra Bessis explores the land of these Sefardi music. Recognized singer, she performs regularly on stage all over the world to make live this repertoire, of which she recorded 5 CD’s.

Her last CD - « Cordoue 21 – Sur les traces de Sefarad » - takes us on a journey, from Cordoba or Granada, to Salonica and Istambul, Tetuan, Constantine and even today’s Paris. Six evocative ballads build this album, with the voices of Sandra Bessis and Rachid Brahim-Djellou.

During this radio broadcast, Sandras Bessis will make us discover the spirit of Cordoba still active in the 21st century. A music with several voices, the taste of exchanging, the joy of agreeing and of making relive this timeless music...

See Sandra Bessis’ website
Listen and watch samples from the CD "Cordoue 21"

Sandra Bessis, sur la trace des musiques séfarades - 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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  • Sandra Bessis, sur la trace des musiques séfarades - Hervé Roten (Judaïques FM 94.8)

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