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Passion Songs

Yasmin Levy brings fire to traditional Ladino music

Hugh Levinson
March 17, 2008

Though she never really knew him, Israeli chanteuse Yasmin Levy is very much her father’s daughter. Composer, cantor, and singer Yitzhak Levy died when Yasmin was just one year old, but by that time he had collected and recorded thousands of traditional Sephardic songs that otherwise might have disappeared with the last generation of Ladino—or Judeo-Spanish—speakers.

Levy’s mother is also a singer, but it was not until her late teens that Levy herself began to follow in her parents’ footsteps. She has since received international acclaim for her fiery, Flamenco-infused interpretations of the songs her father so painstakingly preserved.

Hugh Levinson spoke to the thirty-two-year-old singer backstage at the Warwick Arts Centre in Coventry, England, where she performed as part of the world tour for her new album, Mano Suave.

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Julie Subrin is Tablet Magazine’s executive producer for audio.

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