Dear Friends of Sephardi/Mizrahi Cultures

Ivri-NASAWI is pleased to bring you news of the Sephardic Music Festival, August 19 at Brandeis-Bardin Institute.

Join us, either as a group---at a special reduced ticket price of only $18 per person---or come on your own, at $25 per person, to see special guest performers, Judy Frankel from the Bay Area, and Gérard Edery from New York, along with local master oudist John Bilezikjian and others as they present an exciting evening of Ladino and Sephardic music from around the Mediterranean.

Brandeis-Bardin is a paradise away from L.A., only 45 minutes by car. Come early, at 5:30 pm, for a picnic dinner (bring your own), or just enjoy the concert at 7:30 pm. To join us at the group rate, call 323-650-3157, or simply mail in your check to Ivri-NASAWI, 1033 N. Orlando Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90069-4207, in the correct amount, with the number of persons in your party, payable to "Ivri-NASAWI" with "Aug 19" in the memo line.

We will create a group roster of names and you will go directly to Brandeis-Bardin where your tickets will be held at Will Call.

Directions: From the Los Angeles Area: Take the 405 Freeway (San Diego) OR the 5 Freeway (Golden State) NORTH to the 118 Freeway (Ronald Reagan) WEST. Take the 118 Freeway WEST (toward Simi Valley) to Tapo Canyon Road. Exit at Tapo Canyon Road and turn LEFT. Continue on Tapo Canyon Road past Cochran Street, Los Angeles Avenue and Guardian Street to the front gates of The Brandeis-Bardin Institute, 1101 Peppertree Lane Brandeis, CA 93064.

For additional directions, see mapquest.

To attend the Sephardic Music Festival as individuals, please call BBI at 805-582-4450.

At Brandeis-Bardin Institute, Sunday, August 19, 2001


A versatile, powerful vocalist and guitarist, Gérard Edery was born in Casablanca, Morocco and has lived in Canada and the United States. Edery has performed widely with his own ensemble and with the group Sons of Sefarad. He has a number of exciting collaborations ahead, including developing a new work with fellow composer/librettist Noa Ain, called Song of the Turtledove, which was accepted by the National Music Theater Conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. Edery has also composed songs for an important human rights play, Oigo, which was performed off-Broadway from Feb. 23-April 9, 2000. For more information on Gerard Edery's programs and recordings, visit

While Judy Frankel herself is of Lithuanian descendence, she explains her love of Sephardic music as a strong pull to Levantine culture. Over the years, as she has acquired her repertoire, often by interviewing Ladino speakers, and Sephardim from around the world, Frankel says, "I felt myself trying to build bridges between the [Jewish] communities, and I would get things like, 'Why is a nice Ashkenazi girl like you singing Sephardic music?' And on the other side I would get, 'Oh, you sing these songs so beautifully; too bad you¹re not Sephardic.' So I¹m always swimming upstream." Appearing with oud master John Bilezikjian, who has done such venues as Carnegie Hall, many of the songs Frankel performs weave a narrative through such countries as Spain, Turkey, Egypt, the former Yugoslavia and Morocco. Alternately euphoric and wistful, Frankel¹s rendition of 15th-century Ladino carried echoes of Spain¹s Golden Age, a time when Jews enjoyed hundreds of years of peace and prosperity living side by side with Spanish Christians and Moors. "It seems to me,³ Frankel says, "that a lot of Jews are busier assimilating than realizing the preciousness of the entire legacy of Jewish experience. Still, I¹ve noticed many Ashkenazim now taking an interest in Sephardic culture and bringing it into their bouquet of Judaism." Frankel's albums, among them Silver & Gold, include both traditional and contemporary songs, which Frankel has gathered not only from archival music, but from years of interviewing the surviving descendants of 15th-century Sephardim. Frankel's superlative vocals can also be heard on "Divine Divas," Rounder Records' award-winning anthology of women singers from around the world which includes Aretha Franklin, Marian Anderson and Patsy Kline.

A true world musician, John Bilezikjian is a master of the oud and also performs on mandolin and violin, as well as being a vocalist. His repertoire includes Armenian, Turkish, Arab, Greek, Israeli and Russian/Eastern European compositions. He has become known as one of the modern masters of Sephardic music. John has toured several times with Leonard Cohen and has worked with Lalo Shifrin, Maurice Jarre and Zubin Mehta, among many others. He has made more than 20 recordings. Visit his website at

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