Yasmin Levy | Maurer Hall, Old Town School of Folk Music | International | Chicago Reader

Yasmin Levy All Ages Soundboard

When: Wed., March 16, 8:30 p.m. 2011

On Sentir (Four Quarters), Israeli singer Yasmin Levy puts a sophisticated contemporary spin on her revival of Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language that spread throughout the Mediterranean and the Middle East after Spain expelled its Jewish population in 1492. Thanks to the help of superb Spanish producer Javier Limon, who recently worked on genre-spanning recordings by singer Buika and pianist Bebo Valdes, the album's stylistic flourishes list toward flamenco, though never in predictable ways. A Spanish-language cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" is driven by flamenco's traditional cajon and syncopated hand claps ("palmas") but otherwise retains the song's soulfulness; the original "Triste Vals," on the other hand, acknowledges the Middle Eastern modalities present in Ladino music with a Turkish ney intro. Throughout Sentir, Limon and Levy nod to the cultural diversity of the 16th-century Mediterranean, combining sounds of then and now in a celebratory hybrid. —Peter Margasak

Price: $20, $18 members, $16 seniors

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