oySongs - Love Jewish Music


Sarah Aroeste
Inspired by her family's roots in Greece and Macedonia, Aroeste has spent the last 15 years bringing her contemporary style of Ladino music to audiences around the world.

Aroeste writes and sings in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish dialect originating from pre-Inquisition Spain in 1492. Those forced to flee, including Aroeste's family, carried the medieval language with them to the places where they later settled, primarily along the Mediterranean coast. In time, Ladino came to absorb bits of languages all along the Mediterranean basin, including Greek, Turkish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Hebrew, and more. This exotic pan-Mediterranean language has, unfortunately, been fading away. But the continued musical legacy of the Sephardic world highlights the strength of an oral tradition that spans many centuries and geographic boundaries.

American born and trained in classical voice at Westminster Choir College and Yale University, Aroeste became drawn to her Sephardic musical past after performing at the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv in 1997. Since then, Aroeste has worked tirelessly to keep Ladino music alive for a new generation. Her style combines traditional Mediterranean Sephardic sounds with contemporary influences such as rock, funk jazz and blues. One of few Ladino artists today who writes her own music, Aroeste performs songs of such universal themes as family dynamics, first-love crushes, unrequited love, loss, searching for home, going off to war, and much more. Together, her songs have brought new energy to the beautiful and mysterious sounds of Sephardic music.

In the last decade, Aroeste has toured internationally and amassed a loyal following across the US and abroad. To date, she has released four recordings, A la Una: In the Beginning (2003), Puertas (2007), Gracia (2012) and Ora de Despertar (2016), the first all-original Ladino children's album. Her 5th album, Together/Endjuntos, the first bilingual (English/Ladino) holiday album, will be released September 2017.

In 2008 Aroeste was a finalist in Israel's prestigious "Festiladino" competition of original Ladino songs and performed her winning song with the Jerusalem Symphony. Currently, Aroeste works with renowned Israeli composer and producer Shai Bachar to stage the live, multi-media production of her Gracia project, which is an original Ladino, feminist, rock homage to 16th century Sephardic heroine, Dona Gracia Naci, as well as their new children's project, Ora de Despertar (Time to Wake Up). In September of 2014, an electronic version of their Gracia project won the Sephardic Prize at the International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam, and in June 2015 the Gracia project represented the USA at the International Sephardic Music Festival in Cordoba, Spain. In 2016, Aroeste's Ora de Despertar children's project won a coveted Parents' Choice Award, and one of the lullabies from the album was selected as a finalist for the Forward's Soundtrack of our Spirit contest.

Bringing a fresh and inspiring modern sound, Sarah Aroeste and her contemporary Ladino style has helped to transform and revitalize a tradition.

View all albums by Sarah Aroeste

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