MK | EN

 

You have before you a musical and poetic journey through countries and eras which seem quite diverse, yet are closely knit together. During this walk, or you might even call it pass over – you will be given the possibility to halt time and delve deep into the past, reaching all the way back to eternity, seemingly defying death.

You will hear a whole specter of colors, expressions and profound emotions. You’ll witness the intertwining of subtle melodies and melodic languages of a number of different nations, cultures and religions – distilled into one soul. What underlies this endeavor is an ancient language, sonorous and simple, full of passion, love, suffering and pain. Ladino is the language of the Sephardic Jews from Spain. They have suffered a tragic destiny, like all persecuted people.

In 1492 they were forced to leave their homes and were subsequently scattered in cities like Vienna, London, Amsterdam, Algiers, Morocco, Jerusalem, but most found their way to the Eastern Mediterranean – in the countries of the former Ottoman Empire with centers in Istanbul, Salonika, Smyrna, Sarajevo, Monastir… They brought to these new lands their own authentic culture, tradition and language, but most of all – their peculiar esthetics and integrity. In spite of the danger to stagnate by stubbornly maintaining a passive and detached tradition from the old country, they nevertheless were able to continue to develop and progress without losing their authenticity. They opened themselves fully to the culture and musical and poetic expression of their new countrymen and integrated their influences at the core of their being.

As a result, their music embraces both medieval Spanish music and the specific melodies of their new countries – especially the Ottoman makam, through which they make a connection with its Byzantine roots. Thus is born an exotic strain of music, idiosyncratic and authentic, yet at the same time universal.

The repertory of Sephardic songs is ample with forms like: canzonas, hooplas, romances, cantigas, etc. In all my physical and spiritual journeys I always seem to come across these songs. They have become so close to my heart that I feel like they have forever been a part of me. They are like a wide sea whose fragrance I can sense and into which I dive, surging deeper and deeper, in an attempt to reach my ancestors. I admire, rejoice and mourn, dance, sing, suffer, cry and laugh with them. But, most of all, I fall in love with them, over and over again, each new time my love growing deeper. 

I have always been fascinated by the fact that one melody can be transformed into a great number of different songs and in different languages, so I have decided to continue this process of creation and merging. On our album you can hear traditional songs with similar melodies in Ladino, Macedonian, Turkish, Greek, Hebrew, Yiddish, Bosnian, yet also songs containing melodic and rhythmical structures of certain regions and peoples independent of the language in which it is sang. How have these songs been created? Who is the author? They are, in fact, a result of sharing and exchange, rather than division and self-promotion.

Given a chance to experience a new encounter, a new fusion, as well as passing through the filter of all our spiritual experiences as musicians from this region, these songs have been grafted onto each other, finally yielding new musical fruits.

I hope that this timeless musical treasure shall continue to connect us, as well as inspire and sweeten your emotions, ultimately outliving us all. Just like well aged wine in a new bottle…

Elena Hristova

 



Long time ago, before my grandfather's grandfather, Sephardic Jews went far away, on uncertain road, through the beautiful countries. At today's Morocco, Italy, France, Netherlands, Tunisia, Turkey, Macedonia... From seaports to Bitola, Skopje, Belgrade, Vienna, Budapest ... America, Egypt, Israel, and who knows where else... In emerging countries, looking for a new home...
With them, they brings their music. They were found new songs, and gave their own, and receive other. Music is more enriched. And we all, with her... Some of them, built a house near to the house of the grandfather of my grandfather. They became neighbors. They became friends. They became brothers. Here, in Macedonia. And they brought their own songs. They brought gift songs also. And they gave these songs. They received gift local songs… Again create an indelible trace today which I follow... This is a story for all of us, since we are somebody neighbor, and someone to us. As one message: to share with others and to not separated from others.

Time has passed. A lot of time. And good and evil...

Maybe I failed to find any traces, looking for the song of my neighbors, but I'll continue where they left off. To knit the music at each other, to move and grow, not allowing it to remain trapped. To stay beautiful, and no one's, and ours in same time. And always leave a trace, so we followed her to grow - to get to heaven. Only there, perhaps, it will no longer need to us...
This is part of the story, dedicated to all of us and my neighbors. Several tracks. For love, lust, for the holidays and difficult moments... For the missing. The different languages and cultures - the same feelings. I want to watch, sing, listen, share secrets... To do remember that I lost. I want never to say: Me mankas mucho. I miss you so much...

Sibo