A warm and eclectic space.
Ariel Balevi says, "When Isabella of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon united their kingdoms which became the Kingdom of Spain, one of their first decrees was the expulsion of their Jewish subjects in 1492. Thus began a migration eastward across the Mediterranean towards the lands of the Ottoman Empire. And so these Sephardim (Spanish Jews) arrived in cities such as Salonika, Smyrna, Bursa and of course Constantinople ( now Istanbul) bringing with them their medieval Spanish language and culture. These were my ancestors. In their new home , their language was transformed by the number of languages they encountered there like Turkish, Arabic, Persian, Greek, Bulgarian and later on French to become Ladino. For over five hundred years, it was in Ladino, they conducted their business, conversed, argued, sung songs and told stories. Today however Ladino is disappearing as an everyday spoken language. Come to listen to a celebration in song and story of this disappearing culture which was both enriched by the cosmopolitan culture of their new home as well as challenged by the numerous vicissitudes of a declining empire and the emerging modern world of nation states; a world where the elegiac and the humorous, the mystical and earthy lived side by side in the daily lives of its people .
An evening of stories and songs is enchanting, enriching and relaxing. The old storefront that is now my living room is an eclectic and inviting space. Step out of the crazy world, slow down, listen. It's also the time leading up to Nowruz/Nevruz - Persian New Year. We'll have tea and a few snacks. If you have something traditional you wish to bring to share - you are most welcome.
"My elderly parents are perhaps among the last few thousand people who use this language as their daily speech. I offer it as an elegy not only to a disappearing culture but also as a modest act of love for my parents' heritage." Ariel Balevi "I love stories and have spent many, many years listening to and learning songs and music from Turkey, Greece and the Balkans. I am really looking forward to delving into this beautiful repertoire." Brenna "Yes. In any key." Demetri Petsalakis