Arts in Context

Arts in Context uncovers the history and heartbreak behind this dramatic art form

Arts in Context uncovers history and heartbreak behind Ladino music

Editor's note: CultureMap is proud to present the latest installment in our partnership with KLRU's documentary series Arts in Context Shorts. This unique series celebrates stories about the arts in Austin and the people who make this such a vibrant and creative city.

This month, KLRU’s Arts in Context Shorts looks at a unique interpretation of traditional Ladino music as it is interweaved with Flamenco rhythms and harmonies. Produced by Maestro Jeffrey Eckstein, currently conducting Ballet Austin’s The Nutcracker, this unique musical tradition joins together Judaeo-Spanish culture and Spanish folk music for a dramatic experience that captivates and entrances audiences.

Ladino music — and language — is fused together with Flamenco music in Flamenco Sephardita musical experience that brings together eight musicians from varying disciplines including opera singers, guitarists and string instruments. The Ladino language, a Romance tongue derived from Spanish, has changed considerably since Sephardic Jews' exodus from Spain during the Spanish Inquisition. During this diaspora, Sephardic Jews could speak it only in secret, and over the past five centuries, Ladino has changed and evolved as its speakers have migrated across the world.

The result of this modern fusion is a bold display of skill, grace and passion. Drawing in audiences with its intensity, Flamenco Sephardit puts a dramatic twist on an art form that many considered to be lost. 

KLRU-TV, Austin PBS is dedicated to telling stories that entertain, inspire and change our lives. KLRU highlights what makes Austin unique — whether music, arts or public issues — by creating and distributing award-winning original content. KLRU produces several series including Austin City Limits, Arts In Context, Central Texas Gardener, Civic Summit and Overheard with Evan Smith. As a nonprofit educational organization, KLRU also prepares children to succeed in school and creates lifelong learning opportunities for all.

KLRU Flamenco Spehardit
Flamenco Sephardit puts a dramatic twist on an art form that many considered to be lost. Photo courtesy of KLRU/Austin PBS