Yaniv d'Or

Latino Ladino: Songs of Exile & Passion from Spain and Latin America

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AllMusic Review by James Manheim

This recital by countertenor Yaniv d'Or mixes a wide variety of music, from Spain to South America, from the 17th century to the 21st. The program's chief novelty, as the title suggests, is to mix Jewish and non-Jewish elements convincingly; recordings of music from the Ladino tradition of Spain's Jewish community generally focus on that tradition to the exclusion of others. D'Or maps it onto a wider theme of exile and wandering, reaching back to the African-influenced marizápalos and canarios dances cultivated by various composers of the Spanish Baroque, but also bringing in music by Albéniz, the Chilean folk singer Violeta Parra, and even a song of his own composition. The text in the graphics describes the sound of the eclectic Israeli ensemble Barrocade here as "folk-Baroque"; what it resembles most is the style of Jordi Savall's recordings of Spanish and Latin American Baroque repertory, and the recording may be recommended strongly to fans of Savall who want to hear new directions in which his discoveries might be taken. But really the main attraction is the limpid voice of d'Or, who has performed this program live and entranced audiences with darkly beautiful readings of traditional Ladino songs from across the Jewish diaspora. Sample one of these, like the Turkish/Greek love song Avre to puerta cerrada, to hear why audiences are swooning for this new vocal star. The modern pieces don't seem entirely integrated with the rest of the program, but they add to the impact of the personality of d'Or, who has experienced some wanderings of his own. An innovative and lovely recording.

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