We just got back from our 4th and 5th event for the Sephardic Music Festival (Shahs of Sinai hookahs, world music and a Persian appetizer buffet followed by our Unplugged day! It was very chill, spiritual and much welcomed as the middle of the festival events. The festival will continue through Tuesday! And We were just chosen at one of the Top 5 Things to do in L.A. by the LA Weekly and our full story is featured in the Jewish Journal. See you at our next events, Asaf Avidan on Saturday night at Luckman and the Sephardic Story Slam on Tuesday night with some of your favorite story slammers followed by a performance by AUtomatic Toys at Bancs!
The feature story in the beloved Jewish Journal in LA read “L.A. music fest aims to prove Sephardic culture rocks” by Jonathan Maseng. Pick up your copy this week or read below for the feature.
For years, people have asked Erez Safar what it would take to bring his popular New York-based Sephardic Music Festival to Los Angeles. Turns out, all it took was for its creator to move west. A newly minted Angeleno, Safar will debut the Sephardic Music Festival’s Los Angeles edition March 2-11, and he hopes to share the same hip, progressive acts that have made the New York festival such a success.
“Initially, I came out [to L.A. to work] more on the music side, and then I started to just expand,” Safar said. His company, Bancs Media, does production, branding and PR, and while film licensing opportunities initially lured him to the West Coast, he soon saw an opportunity to work on his passion project as well.
Sephardic music traces its roots to the Jews of medieval Spain and is often composed in Hebrew as well as in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish language that was to Sephardic Jews what Yiddish was to Ashkenazim. Safar’s festival has featured many artists who fit squarely into the Sephardic tradition, like Sarah Aroeste, Gerard Edery and the band DeLeon, but it has also headlined artists with more suspect Sephardic credentials, like Matisyahu, Soulfarm and Diwon,
Waking up to ignorance and clueless words by Roger Waters was tough. Pink Floyd was such a relevant and influential band and I am surprised to be reading words that sound like they are coming from a angry teenager who doesn’t know any history whatsoever and happened to read and believe a little BDS propaganda pamphlet.
Hate never brings good…and if you want to read what I am referring to, check out Rabbi Shmuely’s word (here) and Craig Balsam of Razor and Tie’s words (here)
Dreams in Static “You’re On Your Own” is the first single from their upcoming album featuring Akie Bermiss. Dreams in Static conjures up the aesthetics of Pulp Fiction & Curtis Mayfield. The upcoming album produced by Los Angeles based hip hop producer Diwon and multifaceted guitarist/composer, Dugans will feature Akie Bermiss throughout. Bringing his own signature sound — with hints of Smokey Robinson and TV on the Radio – Akie Bermiss’ timeless dream-like voice breathes life and narratives into the Dreams in Static grooves.
** Be on the look out for the full music video directed by Bancs Media’s own Jonty Fine accompanied by the big Indaba Music remix contest later this month and keep up with Dreams in Static, here.
The first Sephardic Music Festival in Los Angeles opens with an epic world arts day followed by its opening night with the incredible Yemen Blues on March 2nd! Yemen Blues coexist in both the past and the present; they are timeless and modern. Fronted by acclaimed vocalist Ravid Kahalani, the group mies the music of Yemen and West Africa with funk, mambo, soul, and ancient chanting styles. Conjuring up a rich and diverse musical palette with the use of percussion, oud, horns, and strings, their myriad influences carry over to the stage, where the ensemble navigates from the boisterous to the romantic and from joyous celebration to anguished balladry.
Tickets: $30, $35, $40. (CSULA students • $15. Other students • $20.)
• Sephardic World Arts Day opens up the LA Sephardic Music Festival with world food, music and free, hands-on, interactive activities for all ages on March 2nd from 3 – 7pm at Street of the Arts walkway (The Luckman): 5151 State University Dr Los Angeles, CA 90032
A list of workshops include;
HUMMUS MAKING WORKSHOP
OLIVE CURING WORKSHOP
Sephardic CHALLAH WORKSHOP (participants will be taught how to braid the challah, and then they will prepare their own dough to take home)
HAMSA MAKING WORKSHOP (participants will design on their own wooden hamsa blank)
Sephardic JEWLRY MAKING WORKSHOP
TRIBAL BODY PAINTING WORKSHOP
DRUM CIRCLE CLASS
and a SEPHARDIC DANCE WORKSHOP led by Lior Haykeen.
Participants will also have the opportunity to step into the Jimena video booth. There will be a questionnaire related to their identity and their knowledge of Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews. For Mizrahi and Sephardic Jews who participate it will be an opportunity to reflect on their own identity and what Sephardic / Mizrahi culture means to them, in addition it will be a way to document a piece of their own family story and culture. Each participant will be in the booth for 5-15 minutes.
Shemspeed & Bancs Media’s popular Sephardic Music Festival hit Ynet (Israeli’s largest newswire) today. Here is what they had to say: “After nine years in New York, the Sephardic Music Festival (SMF) will make its way to Los Angeles, California and is scheduled to take place on March 2-8 2014.
The festival will continue SMF’s cutting-edge reputation for presenting the best in contemporary Sephardic Jewish music from across the globe.
The word Sephardic is derived from the Hebrew word for “Spanish,” and generally refers to Jews descended from those who lived in the Iberian Peninsula until they were expelled during the Spanish Inquisition at the end of the 15th Century. They fled to countries such as, Turkey, Balkans, Southern France, Italy, Greece, and Bulgaria.
The term also includes Jews from Arab countries, such as Algeria, Yemen,Egypt, Iraq and Morocco.
Founded by American-Israeli producer Diwon, the SMF is the only Jewish music festival in the United States to focus exclusively on Sephardic music and culture and showcase the latest Mizrahi, Yemenite, and Ladino artists from around the world.
The festival offers a platform for performers of traditional Sephardic folk music and innovators who fuse traditional Sephardic rhythms, melodies, and motifs with modern musical styles.
With an incredible range of artists this year, the Sephardic Music Festival presents a colorful tapestry of music and culture as rich, vibrant, and diverse as the Jewish world itself.” (read the rest of this article at Ynet)
12/1/2013 SEPHARTANGO @ THE CENTER FOR JEWISH HISTORY (NY) 12/2/2013 SEPHARDIC STORY SLAM @ EASTVILLE COMEDY CLUB (NY) 12/3/2013 HAZZAN VICTOR ESSES & TAVCHE GRAVCHE @ THE SPANISH AND PORTUGUESE SYNAGOGUE (NY) 12/3/2013 BALAGAN SALON (SMF LA TEASER) @ VOILA! (LA) 12/4/2013 RASHANIM & CHURCH OF BETTY @ KNITTING FACTORY (NY) 12/5/2013 ISRAMERICA PARTY @ LIBATION (NY) 3/2/2014 SEPHARDIC WORLD ARTS DAY @ TBA DAYTIME (LA) 3/2/2014 YEMEN BLUES @ THE LUCKMAN (LA) 3/5/2014 ucLADINO @ UCLA (LA) 3/5/2014 SARAH AROESTE @ FOWLER (LA) 3/6/2014 ucLADINO @ UCLA (LA) 3/8/2014 ASAF AVIDAN @ THE LUCKMAN (LA)