Launch of Judeo Spanish Songs from the EMI Archive Trust

The EMI Archive Trust have the great pleasure to share an announcement from Prof. Edwin  Seroussi, Director of the Jewish Music Research Centre (JMRC), for the results of this extraordinary multi-disciplinary collaboration project ‘JudeoSpanish Songs from the EMI Archive Trust (1907-1912)’.  This entire project, including the 78 tracks is now open for listening on the Jewish Music Research Centre website.  JMRC invite you to join them and celebrate with some fascinating findings and music, first premiered 22 November 2020, hosted by Confederation House, the centre for ethnic music and poetry, as part of the International Oud Festival.

Hidden Voices: Ladino Songs From Over 100 Years Ago – premiered 22 November 2020.
Pictured artists: Hadass Pal-Yarden: musical direction, vocals Yaniv Ovadia: baglama Eliyahu Digmi: 1/4 tone guitar, oud, saz Yoni Sharon: percussion Amitay Mann: clarinet Commentaries: Prof. Edwin Seroussi

Joanna Hughes  – Heritage Curator & Manager of Historic Collections, EMI Archive Trust said:

“The EMI Archive Trust holds a collection of great depth, full of incredible stories, some remain untold, these often require deep research and decoding to allow us and our partners to share their true cultural value, globally. The impressive forensic work carried out by Professor, Edwin Serroussi and his team in revealing these rare recordings was inspiring.”

Artist: Isachino Pessah Title: Yo no entiendo la mi madre
Original 78 rpm title: El yerno muevo Zonophone X-6-10209278
Record disc part of the EMI Archive Trust Collectio

Prof. Edwin Serroussi – Director of the Jewish Music Research Centre, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel said:

“In 2008 the Jewish Music Research Centre released a 4 CD package entitled An Early 20th-century Sephardi Troubadour: The Historic Recordings of Haim Effendi of Turkey. Catering to the increasing scholarly and general public interest in the role commercial recordings had on musical traditions from the early twentieth century, that production became a landmark in the revised appreciation of Sephardic music prior to the rapid chain of events leading to the dissolution of the traditional communities that maintained this music. Although Haim Effendi dominated the playlist of Sephardic communities in terms of his proportional share of the market, he was by no means the only artist recorded. 

For this reason, locating and releasing the rich repository of Judeo-Spanish recordings at the EMI Archive Trust, heir to the Gramophone and Zonophone companies, represents a further breakthrough in the study of the Sephardic song. This collection not only brings to light the forgotten voices of many Sephardic artists extremely popular a century and more ago, but also expands the geographical distribution of recordings to Ottoman Jewish centers beyond Constantinople/Istanbul. Moreover, the EMI collection includes recordings that preceded those of Haim Effendi, broadening the confines of the Ladino song repertoire known until now. The picture of the state of Sephardic music in the large urban centers of the Ottoman Empire ca. 1890-1914 is now more textured and varied thanks to these precious jewels from the EMI Archive Trust.”

This page presents the full 78 tracks selected for this project for listening, and the accompanying booklet, a scholarly effort of many years, as a free PDF download. In the future Eastern Mediterranean Judeo-Spanish Songs from the EMI Archive Trust (1907-1912) will be available for purchase as a CD package and/or download.’  

Project Contributors:

Study and commentaries: Rivka Havassy and Edwin Seroussi

Research collaborators: Michael Aylward, Joel Bresler, Judith R. Cohen and Risto Pekka Pennanen

Record discs: EMI Archive Trust collection

Preservation transfers: Cleaned and digitised by SmartLab preservation studio, Universal Music.

Discography SEPHARDIC MUSIC, links to discography are available through the online booklets EMI Judeo Spanish Archive English Booklet.pdf & EMI Judeo Spanish Archive Hebrew Booklet.pdf, via the catalogue number on the tracklisting. p. 26 -32.