Renaissance Players

The Sephardic Experience, Vol. 4: Eggplants

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Fans of early music may have heard of the Australian-based Renaissance Players. In their eagerness to share the music and culture of earlier times, they perform their songs, dances, and poetry in festive costume. But what do they have to do with eggplants?

Volume four of THE SEPHARDIC EXPERIENCE is subtitled "Eggplants" after the first song, which is essentially seven recipes for eggplant. The songs of the Sephardim (a denomination of Judaism) are heavily influenced by both Southern Europe and the Middle East. Because they were able to travel between the Christian and Muslim settlements at war during the Crusades, the Sephardim had a rich culture and served as prominent members of society before their numbers dwindled.

The Renaissance Players celebrate Sephardic culture throughout Europe and the Ottoman Empire, singing in "Judezmo," a combination of Spanish and Hebrew as well as Turkish, Greek, Slavic, and Arabic. The performance resonates with originality and an authenticity that will intrigue international music aficionados as well as students of early music.

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