Born in Jerusalem in 1975, Yasmin Levy was introduced to Ladino singing and culture from a very young age. Her father was the leading figure in the world of research into and preservation of the Judeo-Spanish culture, dating back to the 15th century in Spain. Today, it remains one of the most moving and romantic musical traditions of all times.
In her deep, spiritual and moving style of singing, Yasmin preserves and revives the most beautiful songs from the Ladino/Judeo-Spanish heritage, mixing it with Andalucian Flamenco.
Now I know. She exists. To confess, her music hurts sometimes, it’s so good.
Go ahead and listen to these clips (look for the site menu on the bottom and click on Music and Lyrics Samples) and you’ll see that one after the other, they shine. She focuses on Ladino songs but has also recorded songs in the Spanish tradition and in Arabic. She has an amazing voice, the songs are great and she captures another world and time but still sounds contemporary.
Now pay attention: I’m also including a video clip of a song called La Alegria. Please don’t click on it if you don’t want to see a tight muscular man’s body and a lithe woman’s body in a pseudo, kind of, like, uh, flagrante delicto…and I do mean delicto. However, if you want to see a somewhat sappy, over-the-top mess of two tight bodies WITH AN INCREDIBLE SONG in the background, do click on this video. Of course, you can also click on it and shut your eyes.
The words of this song, La Alegria (Happiness) which Yasmin Levy wrote and composed translate, apparently, to:
I drink and drink and drink
To forget you
I sleep and sleep and sleep
So I don’t have to think.
Damned be the world,
I live to pay for the sin of loving you.
I leave you forever, my love
But don’t forget that I exist only for you
And I give you the song of my life as a present
Forever… until I die.
She’s appearing in Tel Aviv on January 15 (Mishcan ha Opera, Tel Aviv) to celebrate her latest recording and launch a tour that will take her to Europe where she apparently has a following. I am officially jealous of anybody who can and will attend.