JWG (jwg) wrote,

  • Music:

Yihe zichra baruch (May her memory be blessed)

Yesterday I went to a Voice of the Turtle Memorial concert for Judy Wachs. It was well attended and very excellent. The group was founded in 1978 and remained intact for 30 years until the untimely death of Judy. She was the researcher for the group taking many trips to collect Sephardic songs and stories. She brought back tapes; the group then worked on arrangements with their huge array of instruments - 'oud, saz, guitar, mandolin, dumbeks, kamanja among others. For this concert they played one of the tapes and then their version of the song which included audience participation.

There are many fascinating stories behind all this music. When the Jews were ousted from Spain in 1492 (and Portugal in 1497) they dispersed to many areas of the Mediterranean where the local instruments and music influenced the evolution of the songs they brought with them - still sung in Judeo-Españoloften called Ladino. The various VOT concerts and CDs often focused on some particular area/genre.

Their concerts were always entertaining and musically satisfying. In yesterday's concert Derek again told the secret of what held the trip together: food. They were on tour a lot and always found interesting restaurants - the most important question about a concert was "where are we going to eat before the concert" and "where are we going to eat after the concert?". And apparently Judy had a good sense of finding good places.

The concert opened with a film (well made by Frederico Muchnik) which contained some interviews with Judy, and a bunch of stills of Judy and the group, and various concert artifacts. They were joined in some pieces by members of Libana, another group that formed at the same time. They said that they would probably continue to collaborate.

I met the turtles and Sue Robbins, the Libana director, when we all members of The Quadrivium, and early music group founded by Marleen Montgomery.
The flowers appear on the earth; the time of singing is come and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. Song of Songs 2:12

Their closing piece was Adio Kerida:
A translation of Adio (not Judy's since I can't find that CD at the moment)
When your mother gave to the world
She did not give you a heart for a second love.
Goodbye my dear
I don't want to live because you embittered my life.
Go and look for another love
Knock on other doors
wait for another passionate love
As for me - you are dead.
Tags: music, nostalgia

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