Mara ara Aranda
After more than three decades working on the historical repertoires, Mara Aranda
is the internationally best-known interpreter of Judaeo Spanish music and
committed herself to the sephardic legacy.
To investigate and study the original sources, she travelled to Thessaloniki
(Greece), Istanbul (Turkey) and Jerusalem (Israel). And only when all the
necessary information had been gathered, only when she understood the
historical and cultural context, she dared to approach the musical material.
She is currently the director of the International Center of Medieval Music, where
all the cultural traditions that had their expression in this era, come together,
giving value, and restoring the place in history, the past of our present, that all
these manifestations deserve.
Sephardic in the Heart of Greece
'Sephardic in the heart of Greece’ is the third volume of the sonorous
pentalogy that recovers and revaluates the Sephardic culture, forged in the
Iberian soil as well as in the different regions of the diaspora. The first two
volumes of the collection were awarded the title of “Best European album of the
year” by Transglobal World Music Chart, in their respective years of release.
Women were the custodians of this legacy, they passed the songs by word of
mouth, from generation to generation, und by doing so, affected the identity of
women all over Europe, because since centuries we share a common past. These
songs went along with the dispossessed, and now make their way back to their
origin, influenced and linguistically enriched by those places where the Sephardi
had found refuge: Sefarad, the Iberian Peninsula.
Homer narrates that the gods of Olympus taught humans how to use and enjoy
perfume. Venus, pursued by satyrs, fled under myrtle bushes that concealed her,
for which reason she gratefully gave them the intense fragrance they exude. It was
also the goddess who gave the rose its colour and penetrating fragrance. Myrrha,
a figure of Greek mythology, also known as Smyrna, unwittingly committed incest
when her son Adonis was procreated. The goddess Aphrodite angrily
metamorphosed her into a tree, but soon felt sorry and remorsefully transformed
her into the myrrh tree that bleeds aromatic resin.
Greece, a mixture of East and West, North and South of the Mediterranean, once
ruled by the Roman and Ottoman Empires, until the 19th century did not lose a
bit of the splendour and fascination of its past, being inspiration and point of
origin of all the culture of the Occident. Every foreign culture on Greek soil left
it's very special mark, left it's inimitable scent, and this is the unique melange the
essence of every song of this album was distilled from.
Be aware that smells, perfumes, and essences communicate with our senses,
memories, and emotions. We can distinguish and memorize more fragrances
than colours, (we have a thousand receptors for smells, but only few for the
vision) that the brain will interconnect with aromas, emotions, and recollection.
We are what we breathe and, deprived of this capacity, our life would be severely
limited, having no ties with the past. But only those ties render possible to extend
this past beyond the life of any mortal.
This is an album that undoubtedly comes from the memory of experiences that,
even if we have not lived to see them ourselves, do not cease to inspire us, twentyfour
hours a day, 365 days a year, based on what our predecessors, in places near
or far, have exhaled.
The attraction of the Sephardic culture comprises many different types of
researchers: anthropologists, musicologists and ethnomusicologists, linguists,
novelists, journalists, or historians. They emphasize the accomplishment of this
compilation of discs which goal it is to try to revive unpublished or seldomly
interpreted music as part of world cultural heritage.