Winner Sephardic Music Prize 2014
Sarah Aroeste, winner of the Sephardic music prize at IJMF 2014, has spent the last 10 years bringing her contemporary style of original and traditional Ladino music to audiences around the world. Aroeste writes and sings in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish dialect that originated from Spanish Jews after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Those who left Spain, including Aroeste’s family, carried the medieval language with them to the various points where they later settled, primarily along the Mediterranean coast and North Africa. In time, Ladino came to absorb bits and pieces of languages, including some Greek, Turkish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Hebrew.
American born and trained in classical opera at Westminster Choir College and Yale University, Aroeste became drawn to her Sephardic musical past after spending a summer in 1997 performing at the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv, where she studied with Nico Castel, one of the world’s great Ladino singers. Since then, Aroeste has worked tirelessly to keep Ladino music alive for a new generation. Her style, whether with her original music or with interpreting Ladino folk repertoire, combines traditional Mediterranean Sephardic sounds with contemporary influences such as rock, funk jazz and blues. To date, Sarah Aroeste has released three recordings, A la Una: In the Beginning(2003), Puertas (2007), Gracia (2012) and most recently, Ora de Despertar (2016), the first all-original Ladino children’s album.