Release Date: July 24, 2020
Catalog #: AR0015
Format: Digital & Physical
21st Century
Folk Music
Jazz
Vocal Music
Guitar
Violin
Voice

Soprano Meets Bass – Sephardic Treasures

Alan Lewine composer, bass
Ana María Ruimonte soprano

SOPRANO MEETS BASS is the latest from Ansonica Records. This album of traditional medieval Sephardic songs arranged by jazz bassist and music director Alan Lewine and classical soprano Ana María Ruimonte is an ethnomusicological celebration of the ancient Sephardic culture. These Spanish Jews were expelled from Spain in the 15th Century and resettled throughout the world, mingling their musical traditions with those of other peoples they encountered. The original arrangements meld medieval Moorish Iberia, jazz, flamenco, Middle Eastern music, and bel canto. They have set these songs in a sort of recombinant world fusion reflecting a vibrant embodiment of the Sephardic communities and their culture.

As the album’s title suggests, the female voice plays a starring role in SOPRANO MEETS BASS. This reflects the fact that the Sephardic tradition has, for centuries, been an oral one, passed down from mother to daughter across an expanse of generations. Only in the 20th Century were these songs transcribed by musicologists. The stories told in the Sephardic Romancero—the repertoire from which the album’s program is drawn—conjure up portraits of life in medieval Spain and the universal truths that undergird them. Spanish soprano Ana María Ruimonte gives life to these ancient melodies and lyrics, radiating from the center of a constellation of renowned virtuosos. Flamenco guitar, Israeli flute, shofar, and a trove of other culturally significant musical instruments vitalize the music of SOPRANO MEETS BASS. And, thanks to the modern, high-fidelity recording quality of these performances, the listener is immersed in the tradition like never before.

The artists’ arrangements of the songs on SOPRANO MEETS BASS have been performed throughout the world, from Spain to Cuba to Israel and the United States. This is fitting, since each of these nations has had a hand in forming the unique amalgam of cultural music we hear in this album. In fact, given the vast swath of history and human experience inherent in the arrangements of Lewine and Ruimonte, listeners of all backgrounds are bound to find something of themselves in the rhythms and timbres of SOPRANO MEETS BASS.

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Track Listing & Credits

# Title Composer Performer
01 Las Cumadres Fechiceras Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Hadar Noiberg, flute; Duane Eubanks, trumpet; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 5:36
02 La Infanticida Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Alicia Svigals, violin; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 3:40
03 El Rey Cuando Amadrugaba Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Hadar Noiberg, flute; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas; Yonnie Dror, shofar 3:33
04 Al Pasar por Casablanca Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Hadar Noiberg, flute; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 4:39
05 En Casa del Rey León Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Chano Domínguez, piano; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 4:34
06 Triste Está el Rey David Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Duane Eubanks, trumpet; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 4:45
07 Maldiciendo el Rey Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 3:58
08 Tristes Nuevas Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Duane Eubanks, trumpet; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 4:30
09 Días de la Semana Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas 3:09
10 Cantiga de Cuna Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Hadar Noiberg, flute; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 2:56
11 Señor don Gato Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Alicia Svigals, violin; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 2:02
12 Vido Venir Tres a Caballo Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 6:05
13 Tres Morillas de Jaén Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 3:38
14 La Tarara Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Duane Eubanks, trumpet; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 2:33
15 Anda Jaleo Traditional, arr. Alan Lewine & Ana María Ruimonte Alan Lewine, bass; Ana María Ruimonte, vocals, castanets; Duane Eubanks, trumpet; Julián Vaquero, flamenco guitar, palmas; Víctor Monge, cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas; Shai Wetzer, drums, percussion, palmas 2:28

SPECIAL GUEST MUSICIANS

Hadar Noiberg (Israel/United States, Brooklyn NY) – flute (track 1, 3, 4, 10)

Chano Domínguez (Spain/United States, Brooklyn NY) – piano (track 5)

Alicia Svigals (United States, Manhattan NY) – violin (tracks 2, 11)

Duane Eubanks (United States, Philadelphia/NYC) – trumpet (track 1, 6, 8, 14, 15)

Julián Vaquero (Spain, Madrid) – flamenco guitar, palmas (tracks 1-4, 6-15)

Víctor Monge (Spain, Madrid) – cajón flamenco, percussion, palmas (tracks 1, 3-7, 9, 10, 12-15)

Shai Wetzer (Israel/United States, Brooklyn NY) – drums, percussion, palmas (all tracks)

Yonnie Dror (Israel, Tel Aviv) – shofar (track 3)

CREDITS

Primary tracks recorded at Acoustic Recording in Brooklyn, New York City NY
Engineer Mike Brorby

Additional recording at Lethe Lounge Studio in Manhattan, New York City NY
Engineer Mark Ettinger

Additional recording at Estudios Find-Us in Madrid, Spain
Engineer Kike Hernández

Additional recording at BalaStudio in Kfar Tavor, Israel
Engineer Idan Balas

Additional recording at Silvertone Studios in Ardmore PA
Engineer Alfred Goodrich

Producer Alan Lewine for Owlsong Productions

Production Assistance Mike Tarsia, Arturo Stable, Ana María Ruimonte

Mixed and Mastered at Mike Tarsia Recording in Philadelphia PA
Engineer Mike Tarsia, Richard Grouser III

All music recorded acoustically without amplification. © 2020 Owlsong Productions Inc. All rights reserved.

Executive Producer Bob Lord

Executive A&R Sam Renshaw
A&R Director Brandon MacNeil
A&R Brandon MacNeil

VP, Audio Production Jeff LeRoy
Audio Director Lucas Paquette

VP, Design & Marketing Brett Picknell
Art Director Ryan Harrison
Design Edward A. Fleming
Publicity Patrick Niland, Sara Warner

Artist Information

Alan Lewine Bassist and Composer

Alan Lewine

Bassist, Composer

Alan Lewine, leader, bassist, and composer of the Alan Lewine Xtet, currently lives in Phoenix, Arizona from Philadelphia. Also the founder of Owlsong Productions (in 1982 while preparing a Thelonious Monk memorial concert in Taos NM), Lewine has performed and recorded all over the U.S., Europe, Middle East and Latin America. His influences include not just jazz, but all forms of music from Gamelan to flamenco, Zappa to Xenakis. Eclectic? Yes, and reviews have yielded high praise of the impact of these varied influences on Sephardic Treasures.

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Ana Mariá Ruimonte Soprano

Ana María Ruimonte

Vocalist

Ana Mariá Ruimonte was born and raised in Madrid, Spain, is a classical singer experienced in roles as both soprano and mezzo-soprano. She obtained her degree at Spain’s leading vocal conservatory, the Escuela Superior de Canto of Madrid in 2006, and studied further in Nuremberg, Philadelphia, and New York. She was a finalist at the International Opera Umberto Giordano competition in 2013 in Italy. Ana María appeared numerous times on Spanish National Radio and Television (RTVE) before and since moving to the United States.

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Notes

ABOUT SOPRANO MEETS BASS

All of the songs on this album originate in medieval Spain’s Jewish communities to the best of our knowledge, though some continue to live as children’s songs and in the flamenco tradition. Melodies and lyrics in Ladino and Spanish were collected by ethnomusicologists in the first half of the 20th Century throughout the (now former) Ottoman Empire in North Africa, the Middle East, and Southeast Europe. These melodies and lyrics were obtained by the artists, Alan Lewine (bass) and Ana María Ruimonte (voice) and set in their original arrangements utilizing a mix of jazz, flamenco, classical, and Mideastern musical motifs.

This duo, with guest artists, performs recombinant world music with a wide range of influences. “You’ve never heard anything like this before!”

SOPRANO MEETS BASS offers a program of Sephardic Treasures, in Spanish and Ladino, selected from the Sephardic Romancero, collections of mostly secular songs originating in 12th to 15th-century Spain. During the 20th-century these songs were transcribed by ethnomusicologists from the women’s oral tradition in Sephardic communities around the Mediterranean from Portugal to Palestine, Morocco to Mosul.

SOPRANO MEETS BASS incorporates elements from medieval Moorish Iberia, classical bel canto, jazz, flamenco, and Israeli/Arabic music in their original interpretations of these songs originating in Jewish medieval Spain. It’s been compared to Pentangle meeting with Charles Mingus and Paco de Lucía at the opera.

SOPRANO MEETS BASS features the singing of the renowned Spanish soprano Ana María Ruimonte, with the arrangements of American bassist and music director Alan Lewine in collaboration with Ana María.

This Ansonica release was recorded in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Philadelphia, and in Madrid, Spain, Kfar Tavor in Israel, and mixed and mastered under the direction of Alan Lewine in South Philadelphia by multi-GRAMMY® winner Mike Tarsia. Sephardic Treasures features a cast of renowned stars of Spanish flamenco and classical music, American jazz, and Israeli flute, shofar, and percussion.

Variations on this program have already been presented around the world, including in Spain at the Sephardic History Museum Palacio de Los Olvidados in Granada, the 11th-century Teatro Auditorio El Pósito in Sigüenza, the Auditorio Nacional in Madrid; in Cuba at the Sinagoga Centro Hebreo Sefaradí and the fabulous Sala Lecuona of the Gran Teatro de La Habana; in the United States at the National Opera Center in New York, in various venues in the Philadelphia area, Ithaca College Conservatory in New York, the New England School of Music in Rochester, and in Baltimore, Tucson, Ft. Collins, and at festivals in Virginia and Maryland; at the Instituto Cervantes and Felicja Blumental Center in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem’s Blue Music Hall in Israel; and in Belgium and Holland.

A LITTLE HISTORY

This is a story that resonates today in this time of so many refugees and heroic women. The ancient communities of Spanish Jews (Sephardim) were expelled from Spain by the Royal Order of Expulsion in 1492 and resettled throughout the world, particularly in the Ottoman territories around the Mediterranean Sea, where remnants of their cultural and musical traditions survived. In the 20th-century, Sephardic Jews continued to migrate in search of peace and security, particularly to Israel, Spain, France, Canada, Latin America and the United States. After long efforts of reconciliation, in 2015 Spain approved a law granting Spanish Citizenship to Sephardic Jews who could show their Spanish origin.

MATTER OF THE SONGS

The tradition has been maintained mainly by women, passed from mother to daughter. Most of the Sephardic romances offer a realistic portrait of intimate life in medieval Spain. The songs and stories reflect Jewish, and indeed universal, principles and moral values, pervaded by a powerful sense of justice.

SOBRE SOPRANO MEETS BASS

Se piensa que todas las canciones de este álbum se originaron en las comunidades medievales sefardíes de España, aunque algunas canciones infantiles y otras de tradición del flamenco continúan cantándose. Etnomusicólogos recogieron las melodías y textos en ladino y español durante la primera mitad del siglo XX en el imperio otomano en el norte de Africa, Oriente Medio y en el Sureste de Europa. Los artistas Alan Lewine (contrabajo) y Ana María Ruimonte (voz) seleccionaron alguna de estas melodías y textos y las adaptaron a los arreglos originales en una fusión de motivos musicales variados procedentes del jazz, flamenco, clásico y Oriente Medio.

Este dúo acompañados por sus artistas invitados actúan en una mezcla de músicas del mundo con un amplio rango de influencias. “¡Usted no ha escuchado nada como esto anteriormente!”.

SOPRANO MEETS BASS le ofrece un programa de Tesoros Sefardíes, en español y ladino, en una serie de canciones seleccionadas del Romancero Sefardí, colecciones de canciones principalmente profanas y originadas en los siglos XII a XV en España. Durante el siglo XX estas canciones fueron transcritas por etnomusicólogos de la tradición oral de las mujeres de las comunidades sefardíes situadas en las zonas mediterráneas, desde Portugal a Palestina, Marruecos y Mónsul.

SOPRANO MEETS BASS incorpora elementos de la Iberia morisca medieval, del bel canto clásico, de jazz, flamenco y de la música israelí y árabe en con interpretaciones originales de estas canciones que fueron originadas en la España medieval judía. Podríamos compararlo a Pentagle encontrándose con Charles Mingus y Paco de Lucía en la ópera.

SOPRANO MEETS BASS presenta a la cantante española Ana María Ruimonte, con los arreglos del contrabajista y director musical Alan Lewine y de ella misma.

Este lanzamiento discográfico de Ansonica se grabó en Estados Unidos en Brooklyn, Manhattan, Filadelfia, en Madrid, en España y en Kfar Tavor en Israel, y se mezcló y masterizó bajo la dirección de Alan Lewine en Filadelfia por Mike Tarsia, que recibió varios premios GRAMMY® . Sephardic Treasures presenta un reparto de músicos estelares de renombre del flamenco español y la música clásica, del jazz americano, y de israelíes en flauta, shofar y percusión.

Ya se han presentado en concierto en el mundo, como en España en el Museo sefardí Palacio de los Olvidados de Granada, el Teatro El Pósito del siglo XI en Sigüenza, el Auditorio Nacional en Madrid; en Cuba en la Sinagoga Centro Hebreo Sefaradí y en la fabulosa Sala Lecuona del Gran Teatro de La Habana; en los Estados Unidos en The National Opera Center en Nueva York, en varias salas de concierto en la zona de Filadelfia, en el Conservatorio de Ithaca en Nueva York, en la New England School of Music en Rochester, y en Baltimore, Tucson, Ft. Collins, en la Florida International University en Miami, en los festivales en Virginia y Maryland; en el Instituto Cervantes y en la Sala Felicja Blumental Center en Tel Aviv y en Blue Music Hall en Jerusalén en Israel; y en Bélgica y Holanda.

BREVE HISTORIA

Estas son historias que aún resuenan en nuestros tiempos de refugiados y mujeres heroicas. Las comunidades antiguas de los judíos sefardíes (Sefardim) fueron expulsados de España por la Real Orden de Expulsión de 1492, y se asentaron en los territorios otomanos en los alrededores del Mar Mediterráneo, donde sobrevivieron muchas de sus tradiciones culturales y musicales. En el siglo XX, los judíos sefardíes prosiguieron su migración en la búsqueda de paz y seguridad, asentándose en Israel, España, Francia, Canadá, Latinoamérica y los Estados Unidos. Tras largos intentos de reconciliación, finalmente en 2015, España aprobó una ley para garantizar la nacionalidad española a los judíos sefardíes que pudieran demostrar sus orígenes españoles.

TEMATICA DE LAS CANCIONES

La tradición se ha mantenido sobretodo gracias a las mujeres, contando las historias de madre a hija. Muchos de los romances sefardíes ofrecen un retrato realista de su vida íntima en la España medieval. Las canciones y las historias reflejan los principios y valores morales y universales de los judíos, donde prevalece un poderoso sentido de la justicia.

Lyrics

INTRODUCTION

Tales of refugees and heroic women with the melodies and Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) lyrics intact, but reimagined in a modern fusion of Classical, Jazz, Flamenco and Middle Eastern music.

Cuentos de refugiados y heroínas con melodías y letras originales en Ladino (judeo-español), pero reconstruido en una fusion moderna de clasico, jazz, flamenco y música de Oriente Medio.

We will sing of the lives of women in medieval Spain and Sephardic Jewish refugees after the expulsion.
Stories about women… what they did every day… taking care of children, about their lovers, their infidelities, their family relations, how they lived during war times with an absent husband, how they sometimes fought in the wars…
They were not always so good…

Vamos a contar cantando la vida de la mujer en el medievo en España.
Las historias de las mujeres… de su quehacer cotidiano… del cuidado de sus hijos, de sus amores, sus infidelidades, sus relaciones familiares, de cómo vivieron las guerras con su marido ausente, y de cómo participaron en ellas.
Ellas… no siempre eran tan buenas…

No, they were not always so good…
They could go to war, cheat on or be cheated on by their husbands, they could kill, and they also suffered the loss of their children and grieved for love lost…

Ellas… no siempre eran tan buenas…
Pues podían ir a la guerra, engañar a sus maridos e incluso matar, aunque también sufrían por la pérdida de sus hijos y por los agravios del amor.

Nannies and nursemaids had power to exchange their own babies for the babies of their employers. Their life dedicated to service could be hard and difficult, and they don’t want the same life for their own children, so… why not? Who was going to realize when all infants look so similar?

Las niñeras tenían el poder de cambiar sus propios hijos por los de sus señoras, porque su vida de sirvientas era dura y difícil y … ellas no deseaban su propia vida para sus hijos, así que ¿Por qué no cambiarlos? ¿Quién se iba a darse cuenta de ello?

~

Ya la echan a la reina en cama de seda fina,
ya la echan a la esclava en sacos de la cocina.
Las cumadres fechiceras trocan a las criaturas.
Nani, nani, la mi hija, criada que non parida
criada de los mis pechos, de mi tripa non salida.
Las cumadres fechiceras trocan a las criaturas.
Ya la echan a la reina en cama de seda fina
ya la echan a la esclava en sacos de la cocina.
Las cumadres fechiceras trocan a las criaturas.
Ya la llamalo la reina, ven arriba la esclavica,
cántame esa cantiga.
Las cumadres fechiceras trocan a las criaturas,
oh, oh, oh.

THE MAGIC NANNIES
They laid with the queen on a bed of fine silk,
they laid with the slave on the sacs in the kitchen.
The magic nannies exchange the children.
Sleep, sleep, my daughter,
grown by me but not given birth by me,
grown by my breasts.
She didn’t come from my womb.
The magic nannies exchange the children,
oh, oh, oh.
They laid the queen on fine silk sheets,
they laid the slave on sacs from the kitchen.
The magic nannies exchange the children.
The queen has already called her
“Come up, my little slave, sing that song for me again”.
The magic nannies exchange the children,
oh, oh, oh.

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

They were not always so good…
She was married with a beautiful person, who needs to go for a time, probably to the war… During his absences, she found a new lover… However, his son talked too much, telling everything that happened in the house to his father, who didn’t actually pay much attention… During one of the husband’s travels, the stepmother decided to kill the son to silence him. She cut him in pieces, cooked him, and on her husband’s return offered him a fine stew … But, the boy’s tongue spoke from the plate, telling of the wife’s infidelity …

Ellas… no siempre eran tan buenas…
Ocurrió que estaba casada con una bella persona, la cual tuvo que marcharse posiblemente para ir a la guerra… Durante sus ausencias, ella ya había encontrado un nuevo amante… Sin embargo, su hijo hablaba demasiadocontándole todo al padre que por otro lado, no le prestaba mucha atención… Durante uno de sus viajes, la madre tomó la determinación de matarlo. Y no sólo eso, sino que lo cortó en pedazos, lo cocinó, y se lo ofreció al marido a su regreso… Pero, la lengua habló en el plato descubriendo todo lo sucedido…

~

Era un pobre lucero casado con una falsa,
la falsa tenía un hijo, el mayor que hay en la plaza;
todo lo que pasa en casa a su padre lo contara.
“Padre mío y de mi alma, un alférez entró en casa.
Yo lo he visto con mi madre en su arreglada cama.”
El padre ni hacía caso de lo que su hijo contara;
armaría grande viaje de Francia para Granada.
Dejó que el padre se fuera y a su hijo degollara;
le cortara la su lengua y a los perros se la diera.
Los perros, como eran nobles, en el suelo la dejaran,
con lo que quedó la carne hizo una gran cazolada.
Cuando viniera el marido por su hijo preguntara:
“Adónde mi hijo, mujer, que yo no le veo en casa?”
“Siéntate, marido, y come, y te contaré lo que pasa:
Un día, yendo a los campos, y en los campos de
Granada, busqué por mi hijo querido,
Dio del cielo me lo traiga.”
Ellos en estas palabras, la carne del plato habla:
“Padre mío y de mi alma, no comas a mis entrañas,
que esta madre que yo tengo merecía degollarla.”
Como esto oyera la falsa se encerrara en una sala.
Fue el marido a abrir, no encontró falsa ni nada.
Encontró un pájaro verde contándole su desgracia.

THE INFANTICIDE
A poor but pure man was married with a false woman.
They had a child, the oldest of the neighborhood;
everything that happened at home, he would tell his father.
“My dear father, father of my soul, an officer came home, I’ve seen him with my mother on her bed.”
His father ignored what his son said;
he was going to make a great trip from France to Granada.
After the father left, the woman beheaded her son:
she cut out his tongue and gave it to her dogs.
But the dogs were honorable, so they left the boy’s tongue on the ground.
Then with the meat she made a great stew.
When the husband came back, he asked where was his son.
“where is my son, wife? I don’t see him in the house.”
“Sit down, my husband, and eat. I’ll tell you what happened:
One day, going to the countryside, in the countryside near Granada,
I searched for my dear son. I prayed to heaven to bring him back.”
With these words, the meat on the plate spoke and said:
“My dear father, papa of my soul, don’t eat me,
because it is my mother who deserves to be beheaded.”
As the false woman heard that, she locked herself in a room.
When the husband opened the door, he didn’t find her or anything.
He found a green bird, telling of her disgrace.

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

The women were not always so good…
It happened at sunrise … when the king woke up, he discovered his wife looking at her mirror and talking to it… confessing that she had four children, but two of them, the ones she preferred, were not sons of the king… When he realized that, the king condemned the queen to die. She couldn’t give any excuse, for the king didn’t want to hear her anymore.

Ellas… no siempre eran tan buenas…
Sucedió al amanecer… cuando el rey se despertó, descubrió a su mujer mirándose al espejo y la escuchó conversar y confesar que ella tiene cuatro hijos en total, pero que sólo dos de ellos son hijos del rey, siendo los otros dos sus preferidos… Al enterarse de todo esto, el rey la condena a muerte. No hay excusa posible, pues el rey no la escuchará.

~

El rey cuando madrugaba, ande la reina posaba,
la topaba en el espejo, mirando su hermosura,
dando gracias al de en Alto que la crio i tan
hermosa.
“Dos hijicos del rey tengo, y dos tuyos hacen cuatro,
los del rey comen esparte, y los tuyos con mí en
junto.
Los del rey son caballeros, y los tuyos son
caballeros,
los del rey visto de paño, los tuyos de plata y sirma.”
Ella que se avoltaba, el rey ya se demudaba.
“Perdónamelo, señor rey, que esto fue una soñada.”
“Ya te lo pedrono, reina, con un yerdán corolado.”
“Angelino, Angelino, tú premer m’enamorado,
dame tú a mí un consejo, que del rey vo ser matada.”
“Para mí ya tengo consejo, para ti, va búscatelo,
tuviendo tú marido rey, ¿para cuálo buscas otro?”

WHEN THE KING GOT UP EARLY
When the King got up early, where the queen was posing,
he found her in front of the mirror, admiring her beauty,
giving thanks to God that she had grown so pretty.
“I have two sons, and with the other two of you, I have four,
the sons of the king eat separately but yours eat together with me.
The sons of the king are gentlemen, and yours are too,
the sons of the king dress in cloth, yours with silver and firma.”
Then she turned back and she saw that the king was there.
“Forgive me, my King, for I was dreaming”.
“I forgive you, queen, with a red necklace.”
“Angelino, Angelino, give me some advice,
for the king is going to kill me.”
“I have advice for me; for you: go and look for some,
for you have a king for a husband, why are you looking for another man?”

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

You might not want to trust first appearances.
Alejandro tells us that during one of his travels he found a beautiful Moorish girl washing her clothes in a fountain. He immediately fell in love and asked her to go with him. She responded that she is not a Moorish girl, but a captive since she was little, (perhaps a conversa or Christian convert from Judaism?). While they rode together to his hometown, Alejandro discovered that the captive girl was his own sister.

No hay que fiarse de las apariencias.
Nos cuenta Alejandro que en uno de sus viajes encuentró a una bella mora lavando en una fuente. El se enamoró de ella, rogándole que le acompañara. Ella le contestó que no era mora, sino que fue cautivada por los moros durante una fiesta de Pascua en la primavera.. Mientras se dirigían a caballo a su pueblo, Alejandro descubrió que la mora cautiva se trataba de su propia hermana.

~

Al pasar por Casablanca pasé por la morería
encontré mora lavando al pie de una fuente fría.
Yo le dije: “Mora bella”. Yo le dije: “Mora linda,
deja abrevar mis caballos de este agua cristalina”.
“No soy mora, caballero, que soy cristiana cautiva,
que me cautivaron moros día de Pascua Florida”.
“Ven conmigo, mora bella. Ven conmigo, mora linda!”
“Y mis ropas, caballero, ¿a quén yo las dejaría?”
“Las de seda y las de lana contigo las llevaría,
las que no lo valen nada, al agua las tiraría”.
Al pasar por esos montes la mora llora y suspira.
“¿Por qué lloras, mora bella? ¿Por qué lloras, mora linda?”
“Lloro porque en estos montes mi padre a cazar venía
con mi hermanito Alejandro y toda su compañía”.
“Abrir puertas y ventanas, balcones y celusías,
que en vez de traer mujer traigo yo una hermana
mía”.

PASSING THROUGH CASABLANCA
I passed through Casablanca, passing through the Moorish area
I found a Moorish girl doing laundry at the foot of a cold fountain.
I told her: “Beautiful Muslim girl”. I told her: “Pretty Moor, let my horses drink from this clear water”.
“I am not a Moor, Sir, I am a captive Christian girl who was captured by the Moors on the Easter Feast of Flowers”.
“Come with me, beautiful Moor. Como with me, pretty Moor”.
“And, what about my clothes, Sir? Who can I leave them with?”
“You should take with you the clothes of silk and wool,
the others that are not valuable, you could throw them in the water”.
When they pass through those mountains, the girl weeped and sighed.
“Why do you cry, beautiful Moor? Why do you cry, pretty girl?”
“I cry because my father came to hunt in these mountains with my little brother Alejandro, and all his companions.”
“Open doors and windows, open the balconies and shutters,
because instead of bringing a wife, I bring my sister”.

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

Jimena, an aristocratic (but perhaps not wealthy) woman from Castile asks for justice from the king. A very rich and powerful man known as the Man of the Country – Cid Campeador (El Cid) – had killed her father. To pay the debt off and bring peace the king orders them married. This is fair decision and Jimena shows her happiness.

Jimena, una noble de Castilla pide justicia al rey. Un poderoso y rico caballero llamado el Cid Campeador había matado a su padre. Para saldar la deuda pendiente, el rey ordena su casamiento. Este es el concepto del honor y con esta decisión, Jimena se muestra contenta.

~

En casa del rey León salió Jimena una tarde:
Demandando iba justicia por la muerte de su padre.
“Justicia, señor, justicia si me la queries juzgare:
cada día que amanece veo al que mató a mi padre;
se mete con mis palomas, cuántas en mi palomare:
las gordas él las comía, las flacas, sus gavilanes,
y las que menos valían me las echa a revolare.”
“Todo el que esto no juzga no merece de reinare,
ni comer pan en manteles, ni con la reina folgare,
de casaros con el Cidi, sabiendo que tanto vale”.
Alegre salió Jimena de los palacios reales
y al día por la mañana, las ricas bodas se hacen.

IN THE HOUSE OF THE KING OF LEÓN
In the house of the king of León
Jimena left one afternoon:
She had demanded justice for the death of her father.
“Justice, Sir, Justice, if you want to judge me:
Every day at sunrise, I see my father’s killer.
He went to my doves, so many in the pigeon house,
the fat ones he ate, the thin ones, he gave to his pigeon hawks.
And he shooed away my less valuable birds.”
“If I don’t do justice, I may not eat bread on a table cloth, or lay with the queen.
I order Jimena married to El Cid, who as all knew is so rich.”
Jimena left the royal palace happy and the next morning they had a rich wedding.

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

King David gathers together his wife and children to inform them of the sad news of the death of his son Absalom. He tells them to dress in black and avoid wearing green or fancy clothes.

El rey David se reúne con su esposa y sus hijos para transmitirles la triste noticia de la muerte de su hijo Absalom. Les dice que vistan de negro, el color del luto, y que no lleven ropas verdes ni con vuelos.

~

Triste está el rey David, triste está de corazón,
que lo mataron a su hijo, al su hijo, Absalom.
Por desechar las sus angustias, afuera él ya salió.
Alzó sus ojos a lo lejos, ande despunta el sol.
Vido venir un caballero, más preto que el carbón.
Echó la mano en su sillo, carta cerrada le dio,
sillada con siete sillos, más preta que el carbón.
Ven aquí la mi mujer, de preto vos vistas vos,
que lo mataron al mi hijo, al su hijo, Absalom.
Ven aquí, los mis mozos, quitares ales y vedres
que lo mataron al mi hijo, al su hijo, Absalom.

KING DAVID IS SAD
King David is sad, sad is his heart too,
because they’ve killed his son, his son Absalom.
To put aside his sadness, he went outside.
He looked up toward where the sun rises,
he saw a knight coming darker than charcoal.
He took his seals, and finished a letter
closed by seven seals, tighter than charcoal.
“Come here, my wife, because
they’ve killed my son, your son, Absalom.”
“Come here, my young men, remove your clothes,
dress yourself in black
because they’ve killed my son, your son Absalom.”

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

The king has seven daughters and not one son. The youngest wanted to go with him to the war. She said she would dress as a man to fight. During the battle, her covering came undone and her tunic fell open (wardrobe malfunction!). The leader of the Moorish forces fell in love at first sight. They celebrate peace at their royal wedding.

El rey tiene siete hijas y la más pequeña se ofrece a acompañarle a la guerra, vistiéndose como hombre. Durante la lucha, su cinturón se le cae y el moro que lucha con ella se enamora inmediatamente. La paz se celebra con su boda real.

~

Maldiciendo el rey va la vientre que tanta hija parió.
Parió siete hijitas hembras sen ningún hijo varón.
Saltó la más chica de ellas, la que en buen día nació,
no nos maldigas, mi padre, no nos maldigas, siñor.
Si es por la vuestra guerra, la guerra la venzo yo
traiga armas y caballo y un vistido de varón
¿Onde metes las tus colas? Debajo el kauk, señor
¿Onde metes los tus pechos? Debajo el jibón señor.
Calla, calla, la mi hija, hembra sos y non varón.
Ya se parte el caballero a las guerras d’Aragón.
Ella entrando por la guerra, la guerra ya la venció
y en el medio de la guerra, el kalpak se le cayó.
El hijo el rey que la vía de enfrente ya cayó, se desmayó.
Ya me muero la mi madre, ya me muero d’esté amor!
Esta que venció la guerra, hembra es y no varón.
Ya me meten bodas en medio, ya los casan a los dos,
ya se meten de acordo y la paz ya se siñó.

THE KING WHO CURSED A WOMB
The king cursed a womb that bore so many daughters.
It gave birth to seven daughters, none of his children were male.
One day the youngest daughter said:
“Don’t curse us, father, don’t curse us, Lord.
If it’s because of your war, I’ll win the war myself.
Bring me weapons, a horse, and a boy’s suit.”
“Where would you put your hair?”
“Inside the helmet, Lord.”
“Where would you hide your breasts?” “Under the coat, Lord.”
“Quiet daughter, you’re a woman not a man”.
The knight left for the war in Aragón.
As she entered the battle, she won it.
And in the battle, her helmet fell down.
The other king’s son who was in front of her fell down, he fainted:
“I’m dying, mother, I’m dying because of this love!
This girl who won the war is a woman not a man.”
Now weddings take place, now they get married,
now they agree with each other, now they sign peace.”

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

A girl is in love with an aristocrat who visited her frequently. She discovered that her lover was going to get married with a very rich and powerful woman. When she asks him, he admits it and invites her to his wedding. She is devastated. She recognizes that love destroyed her heart.

Una joven está muy enamorada de un aristócrata que la visita a menudo. Descubre que su amante va a contraer matrimonio con una mujer de alto rango. Al confirmárselo él durante una de sus visitas con motivo de invitarle a su boda, ella se derrumba. Reconoce que el amor le ha destrozado el corazón.

~

“Tristes nuevas, tristes nuevas se decían por Sevilla,
que se casa el conde de Alba, conde de Alba y de
mi vida”.
Se paseaba por su cuarto donde lloraba y cantaba,
sus blancas manos retuerce y sus anillos torcía.
Vio venir al conde de Alba, con toda su compañía,
“Conde de Alba, conde de Alba, conde de Alba y de
mi vida,
que me han dicho que te casas con dama de gran
valía”.
“Quién te lo vino a decir que mentiras no decía,
mis bodas serán mañana y a convidarte venía”.
Esto que oyó la niña, de punto cayó la niña:
“Ay, qué malos son los amores, pero yo no lo sabía,
que se pone el corazón de abajo para arriba”.

SAD NEWS, SAD NEWS
“Sad news, sad news, they said in Seville,
about the Count of Alba, the Count of Alba and of my life.”
She paced in her room crying and singing,
twisting her white hands and turning her rings.
She saw the Count of Alba coming with all his company.
“Count of Alba, Count of Alba, Count of Alba and of my life,
someone told me you are getting married with a wealthy lady”
“Whoever told you that didn’t lie,
my wedding is tomorrow, and I came here to invite you”.
When the girl heard that, she fell in a faint.
“Oh, how bad is love but I didn’t know then
that the heart will be turned down to up.”

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

The woman always had work to do. She talked to her husband to tell him that every one of her days was dedicated to the keeping the home and washing and rinsing their clothes. Even on Saturday, the day of the Sabbath, she had to give her time to embroidery and could not attend services and study at the synagogue.

Esta mujer hacendosa habla con su marido para contarle que cada día de la semana lo debe dedicar al lavado y enjuagado de sus ropas. Por eso, el sábado que es día festivo necesita dedicarlo a bordar.

~

Día del alhad torno y vijito
Marido así bivax vos
Y cuando querex que labre este lindo bastidor?
Maridico así bivax vox.
Día de lunes paso colada,
día de martes labuygo y enxaguo.
Maridico así bivax vox

DAYS OF THE WEEK
On the Sabbath my husband comes with things for us to do.
And, when do you want me to embroider this beautiful cloth?
That is how my husband lives.
On Monday, I do the laundry.
On Tuesday, I wash and I rinse.
So that my husband can live.

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

En esta nana se narra la historia del rey que tenía tres hijas que se dedican a cortar tela, coser, bordar y mientras lavan les entra el sueño.

A lullaby about a king who had three daughters: One of them cuts, the other sews, and the last one works on the embroidery. While washing, they feel sleepy.

~

Aquel rey de Francia tres hijas tenía
la una cortaba y la otra cuzía
y la más chiquitica bastidor hacía.
Lavando, lavando es fueño le venía.

LULLABY OF THE CRADLE
That king of France had three daughters.
One of them cut, another cooked,
and the little one embroidered.
Washing and washing the dream arrived.

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

This song for children, still popular today in the Spanish-speaking world, is about a black cat that was to get married to a beautiful white cat. But when he receives her letter wanting a kiss, he falls off the roof. But the Spanish cat has seven lives, and during his funeral procession, when his coffin turns out to be a reused box that took fish to the market, he comes back to life because he loves the smell of the sardines.

Esta canción infantil, todavia popular, es sobre un gato negro que se tiene que casar con una gatita blanca. Al enterarse por medio de una carta, el gato se cae del tejado. Pero como tiene 7 vidas, resucita durante su entierro, en el momento en que huele las sardinas.

~

Estaba el señor don Gato sentadito en su tejado,
maram miau miau, miau, miau
Ha recibido una carta, que si quiere ser casado
con una gatita blanca, sobrina de un gato pardo.
El gato fue a darle un beso y se cayó del tejado.
Se partió siete costillas y un brazo.
Ya lo llevan a enterrar en una caja de pescado.
Al olor de las sardinas el gato ha resucitado.

TOP CAT
Mr. Cat was sat on his roof,
Meow, meow, meow.
He has received a letter asking him to get married
with a white kitty, the niece of a dark cat.
The cat was going to kiss her but he falls of the roof.
He broke seven ribs and an arm.
They take him to be buried in a box of fish.
When he smells the sardines, the cat comes back to life.

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

In a small town, three men on horses appeared. They stopped to fish and one of them finds gold. At that moment, his life changes as he becomes a rich and powerful man. .

A un pequeño pueblo por el que cruza un río llegan tres hombres a caballo. Paran a pescar y uno de ellos encuentra oro. En ese momento, su vida cambia transformándose en un hombre muy rico y poderoso.

~

Vido venir tres a caballo haciendo gran polvorina,
cerca ando, cerca del río, al río va echarían.
Ahí había pescadores pescando sus proberías.
Echó ganchos y gancheras por ver lo que le salía.
Le salió un golpe de oro que cien probes ricos hacía.
Anillo lleva en su dedo, camisa lleva en sus hombros.
Anillo lleva en su dedo que hijo del rey parecía.

HE SAW COMING THREE MEN ON HORSEBACK
He saw three men on horseback coming in a cloud of dust.
They arrive at the river and there they will rest.
Fishermen were fishing with their rods.
One of the knights baited his hook
to see what he could catch.
He caught a flash of gold
that would make people rich.
He wears now a ring on his finger
and a shirt on his back.
He wears now a ring on his finger,
for he looks like a son of a king.

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

A man falls in love with three young and beautiful Moorish women who are picking olives in Jaén, a region in Andalusia.

Un hombre se enamora de tres hermosas morillas que tratan de recoger aceitunas en Jaén.

~

Tres morillas me enamoran en Jaén: Axa, Fátima y Marién.
Tres morillas tan garridas iban a coger olivas,
y hallaban las cogidas en Jaén:
Axa, Fátima y Marién.
Y hallaban las cogidas, y tornaban desvaídas
y las colores perdidas en Jaén: Axa, Fátima y Marién.

THREE MOORISH GIRLS FROM JAEN
Three young Moorish girls from Jaén – I fell in love:
Axa, Fátima and Marién.
Three little beautiful Moorish girls
were going to pick olives
but they found that the olives were already picked.
Axa, Fátima and Marién.
And they returned tired and faded
and they lost their color in Jaén:
Axa, Fátima and Marién.

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

The girl Tarara dances, swishing her hips in a dress with a green dots, frills and jingling bells. The men who pick the olives look at her admiringly.

La niña Tarara baila con un vestido de lunares verdes con volantes y cascabeles y moviendo su cintura. Los jóvenes que recogen las aceitunas la miran encantados.

~

La Tarara, sí, la Tarara, no
la Tarara, niña, que la he visto yo.
Lleva mi Tarara un vestido verde lleno de volantes y de cascabeles.
Luce mi Tarara sus colas de seda sobre las retamas y la hierbabuena.
Ay, Tarara loca, mueve la cintura para los
muchachos de las aceitunas.

THE TARARA
La Tarara, yes, La Tarara, no,
La Tarara, girl, I saw her first.
My Tarara is wearing a green dress
full of flounces and bells.
My Tarara is showing her silk tails
over the flowers and the mint.
Oh, crazy Tarara, swish your hips
for the boys of the olives.

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.

A poem about love, that warns a girl that hunters shoot to kill but they don’t always know who they shot. But, perhaps it’s more than that…

Es un poema sobre el amor, donde se advierte a la niña que los cazadores tiran a matar, sin saber realmente a quién han disparado. Pero, es más…

~

Yo me asomé a un pino verde por ver si la divisaba.
Y sólo divisé el polvo del coche que la llevaba.
Anda, Jaleo. Ya se acabó el alboroto y vamos al tiroteo.
No salgas, paloma, al campo, mira que soy cazador,
y si te tiro y te mato para mí será el dolor, para mí
será el quebranto.
En la calle de los Muros han matado una paloma.
Yo cortaré con mis manos las flores de su corona.

ANDA, JALEO
I looked from the top of a green pine in case I saw her.
But I only saw the dust of the coach that was carrying her.
Go, Jaleo, Jaleo! Stir up a ruckus!
Now we have finished with this mess,
let’s go shooting.
Don’t go out to the country, pigeon, for I am a hunter,
and if I shoot you and kill you,
for me it will be pain and I will suffer.
Go, Jaleo, Jaleo! Make a commotion!
In the street of the Moors,
a pigeon has been killed.
I will cut with my own hands
the flowers for her crown.
Go, Jaleo, Jaleo! Stir it up!

Traditional Spanish/Ladino with English translations by Ana María Ruimonte, Alan Lewine and Carmen Castrillo © 2020, Owlsong Productions Inc.