I have been a fan of traditional music for many years, and from time to time I still discover artists who manage to fascinate me with their music.
Tonight I discovered the work of a Spanish singer and songwriter with a truly magical voice. Her name is Ana Alcaide, and I especially liked this theme of hers entitled "Luna sefardita" (Sephardic Moon), whose meaning explains like this: "is the song about Alina, a girl who personifies the history of the Sephardim and leaves Toledo undertaking a long journey of exile, and in which she will follow the traces of the moon in her own search and reunion."
Sephardic Jews were expelled from the Spanish kingdoms of Castile and Aragon in 1492, after Jews had been expelled from other kingdoms in Europe. Some went to Portugal and Navarra, from where they were also expelled shortly after. Others migrated elsewhere in Europe (including Poland), to North Africa, and to Asia Minor. Today there are about 2 million Jews descending from those Sephardic Jews. Many retain a variant of the Spanish that was spoken at the time of their expulsion, the Judeo-Spanish language, which Sephardic communities in Israel and other countries still speak it. They are a Hispanic people whose diaspora is present on four continents.
The song mentions the aljamas, the Jewish communities of Spain in the Middle Ages, and also refers to the keys to the houses that the Sephardim left behind when they were expelled from Spain, keys that some Sephardic families have kept for generations, as a symbol of hope to return to the land of their ancestors.
I leave here the original lyrics of the song in Spanish:
Se ha callado la soledad
en esta alborada nueva.
A orillita de la ciudad
duerme la primavera.
Con sus ojos de abril
las colinas florecen su trigo hacia el sol,
se recuestan en oro
galas de despedida.
Dime, Alina, ¿qué mala estampa
hierve en tu sangre hebrea?
De la aljama sales cantando
con un puño de arena.
Andas sin mirar atrás
No habrá nadie que prenda la lumbre en tu hogar,
sigue el signo de azar
de la Luna Sefardita.
¿Dónde están las llaves de España?
¿Quién abrirá sus puertas?
¿Dónde guarda un pueblo sin alma
todas sus horas muertas?
Vienen de dos en dos
las carretas llorando su herida de amor,
a perderse en los ojos de la Luna Sefardita.
And here you can read the English translation:
loneliness has been silenced
In this new dawn.
On the edge of the city
With their April eyes
The hills bloom their wheat towards the sun,
Lean back in gold
Finery of farewell.
Tell me, Alina, what a bad stamp
Boils in your Hebrew blood?
You come out of the aljama singing
With a fistful of sand.
You walk without looking back.
There will be no one to light the fire in your home,
Follow the sign of chance
Of the Sephardic Moon.
Where are the keys to Spain?
Who will open its doors?
Where do you keep a people without a soul
All their idle hours?
They come two by two
the carts crying their love wound,
to get lost in the eyes of the Sephardic Moon.
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