Jako el Muzikante

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Contantinopla, 1902. Inside a Café Amán, Greeks, Turkish, Armenians, and Sephardic jews, descendants from the Spanish Jews expelled in 1492, secretly gather there just to sing. They intone songs about love, satire and other melodies that depict their social and political reality. Jako el Muzikante, Jako the go-getter barely survives singing at weddings and “mitzvá” celebrations while stealing whatever he can from his pleased, and often drunk spectators. Shortly after, the Ottoman Empire collapsed and Greece, Turkey and Armenia embraced these music pieces and customized them. Unfortunately, these Sephardic melodies were forgotten due to the complicated situation the Sephardic artists were going through that time. Ven al Luna Park (2019) is the first Sephardic urban music recuperation project run by Xurxo Fernandes after years of field research in the Sephardic communities from Istanbul, Esmirna, Sofia, Plovdiv, Samakov, Athens, Thessalonica and Jerusalem. This CD-book has substantial information about the thirteen songs as well as curiosities about the singers and the people Xurxo interviewed. This show has been performed on significant stages from Israel, Turkey and Spain. Xurxo´s ability to change into Jako is astonishing: he speaks ladino with virtuosity and offers a unique show along with a brilliant band. A live band show that makes us look back to those eastern cafés and connect with Jako, an interesting, charismatic and stylish character.

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