New children’s songs in an old language

New children’s songs in an old language

With all the Yiddish in the air — in Manhattan theater, in Central Park concerts, even in Teaneck classes — we’re glad to report some good news for another Jewish language: Ladino.

The L.A. Jewish Journal reports that singer Sarah Aroeste has come out with a new album for toddlers featuring catchy, easy-to-sing melodies, simple repetitive lyrics inspired by the child’s everyday world, and elements of humor and surprise.

But unlike every other children’s album until now, all the songs are in Ladino, the medieval Judeo-Spanish dialect Sephardic Jews took with them when they were expelled from Spain and Portugal more than 500 years ago.

Aroeste, 40, has built her career on the Ladino dialect. Her new album, titled “Ora de Despertar” (“Time to Wake Up”), was taken from her personal experiences as a mother.

“Of course, there are some wonderful Ladino lullabies that are beloved — very fun, sprightly songs that, certainly, kids could enjoy, but they weren’t written for kids,” Aroeste told the Jewish Journal. “I wanted to play music for my kids in the same vein as all the other CDs I was receiving in English or Hebrew. I wanted the equivalent in Ladino and I couldn’t find anything, so I decided to write it myself.”

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