Judy Frankel

Biography

[The Music][Accolades]

Judy Frankel criss-crosses the country performing her repertory of treasured Sephardic songs, accompanying herself on guitar. As vocal soloist for the San Francisco Consort, a chamber ensemble dedicated to researching and performing Medieval and Renaissance music, she travelled to Jerusalem in search of "old" Jewish music. In Israel Ms.

Frankel did extensive research on the repetoire of the Spanish Jews, music which has survived for 500 years. These songs, which evolved from 15th century Spain, have been passed along in the oral tradition from generation to generation throughout the Spanish-Jewish Diaspora. Ms. Frankel studied at the Longy School of Music and Harvard University in Cambridge, the Berklee School of Music and Boston University, and with Dorio Dwyer of the Boston Symphony. She has had master classes with Music For Awhile of N.Y., Andrea von Ram of Basil, and Emma Kirkby and the Hilliard Ensemble of London. She has concertized with the Handel and Haydn Choral Society of Boston, UC Berkeley Collegium Musicum and the San Francisco Symphony Chorus. Ms. Frankel has sung with the Golden Goose Madrigal Quartet, and has been the vocal soloist for the St. Helena Ensemble and the San Francisco Consort.

She sings in 20 languages. Judy Frankel specializes in solo performances and lecture-concerts of music of the Jews in Hebrew, Yiddish and, chiefly, Judeo-Spanish.

Judy has made numerous radio and television appearances here and in Europe, and is featured in several films, videos and DVDs highlighting Sephardic culture.

Her recordings of songs in Judeo-Spanish are available as cassettes, compact discs and in her songbook “Sephardic Songs in Judeo-Spanish” with accompanying CD.

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The Music

The music of the Sephardic Jews spans more than five centuries: from Medieval Spain to Morocco, the Ottoman Empire, and the Americas. The dual repertory include Judeo-Spanish usually sung by women, relating to daily life and the life cycle (birth, marriage, death).

Sepharad is mentioned in the Bible, the area we know as the Iberian Peninsula. The Sephardim are those Jews who came from that part of the world. Most spoke Castilian, one of the Spanish dialects of medieval Spain.

In 1492 the Jews were expelled from Spain. These Sephardic Jews were welcomed into Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, etc. Many others emigrated to Portugal, Morocco, Algeria and Northwestern Europe. Those who settled in the Ottoman Empire infused into that area a vibrant culture of Hispanic language, cuisine, poetry and music.

Since the 19th century, many Sephardim have moved on to Israel, South America and the United States where they continue to speak Judeo-Spanish and to transmit their songs orally. Secular songs are frequently accompanied by guitar or oud, hand drums and tambourines, and sung at weddings and other festivities.


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Accolades:

"...your Ladino is impeccable...your show was beyond perfection...you won converts to the beauty of Sephardic culture..."
---Sephardic Temple Tifereth Israel, LA

"...you held all of us spellbound with your Ladino Romanzas and stories. We are deeply indebted to you..."
---The Maurice Amado Foundation, LA

"Judy's crystal-clear, beautiful voice enchants and delights her audiences...We Sephardim are indeed lucky to have Judy Frankel interested in performing and promoting our songs."
---Rachel A. Bortnick, Dallas

"...thank you for your marvelous performance of Ladino music...We are much enriched as a result of your visit here."
---The New Mexico Jewish Historical Society, Santa Fe

"Your performance was outstanding and was one of the best musical events we have ever sponsored at the Synagogue."
---The Touro National Heritage Trust, Newport, RI

"Judy Frankel...is a gifted, seasoned virtuoso... remarkable..."
---Hadassah, NY

"You are a true Sephardi, the way you sing our songs. You are the best interpreter of our traditional Ladino songs."
---Emilie Levy, past President of the Central Sephardic Community of America

"Your music filled the hearts of each delegate and gave us an understanding of Sephardic music and culture."
---Hadassah: Western States Conference LaJolla,CA

"It was so wonderful to hear your stories ... Your voice and music were simply beautiful."
---SF Jewish Film Festival

"Your voice is most lovely and the way you pronounce the Ladino is perfect."
--- Violette Mayo Fintz Sephardi poet, Capetown, South Africa

"You left an indelible impression on our delegates."
---American Sephardi Federation convention Los Angeles, CA

"Your voice is beautiful ... full of feeling and vibrant with life."
---Jennie Adatto Tarabulus Sephardi poet, Jerusalem

"Your concert was a great success ..."
---Federacion Sefaradi Latino Americano por un Pueblo Unido

"...magnificent performance ... Your music, the love with which you explain and perform it, and the beauty of the performance were truly an inspiration to us."
---Jewish Federation of the Greater East Bay

" ... fabulous performance ... You are an incredibly gifted artist. I have heard nothing but rave reviews."
---SF Jewish Community Federation: A Sephardic Celebration

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