Sephardic Festival

a message from the SMF crew:

We are currently planning THE 3rd ANNUAL SEPHARDIC MUSIC FESTIVAL (SMF), which will showcase Sephardic, Yemenite, and Ladino music. We are looking for artists who would like to be involved in the upcoming SMF 2007. It will be held during Chanukah (Dec 4th – Dec 11th 2007).

The performers scheduled so far include: the founding members of SHOTEY HANEVUA, Divahn, Y-Love, Smadar, Isaac Bitton, Aviva, DJ Balagan, Asefa, djhandler and many many more… If you or any artists that you know would like to perform as part of the festival, please email dj handler ASAP at with “SMF 2007” iin the subject.

The 2005/2006 festival participants were selected to represent the diversity of Sephardic music today. Many fuse traditional sounds with other influences, such as punk, jazz, and hip hop. Progressive artists like Hadag Nachash and Michal Cohen performed in venues such as BB Kings and Joe’s Pub, alongside more traditional musicians such as Gerard Edery and Joe Elias. All participating artists have dedicated their careers to the preservation and dissemination of Sephardic heritage.

Among the highlights of last year’s SMF were Women of Tzadik (female artists on John Zorn’s Tzadik label performing Sephardic songs at the Jewish Heritage Museum), Hip Hop Sulha (a showcase of Israeli and Palestinian hip-hop artists), and the Sephardic Scholarship Series (an artist and ethnomusicologist presentation on Sephardic, including North African, Persian, Yemenite, Iraqi and Israeli music and culture).

Every night should be different and exciting. I would very much like for each performer to debut a piece or present something special and new for the festival. I am eager to hear your ideas and am looking forward to working with you on bringing attention to your music and this beautiful culture’s traditions.

– Erez a.k.a. dj handler

Additional Background Information on the Sephardic Music Festival:

The New York Sephardic Music Festival (NY-SMF) aims to increase interest in and aareness of Sephardic cultures, including Mizrahi, Yemenite, and Ladino traditions, by showcasing the latest Sephardic musical talents in the United States. Artists at the forefront of the Sephardic music scene will perform at numerous venues around New York City during the eight nights of Chanukah. The festival will highlight the diversity that exists within the Sephardic branch of Jewish culture and history.

Other Jewish music festivals have mostly been dominated by Ashkenazic beats and melodies. The NY-SMF is the first to exclusively focus on Sephardic tunes. While there is evidence that general Sephardic music is beginning to have a revival in the larger arts communities, Ladino music, for instance, has not yet received nearly enough attention. The NY-SMF will serve as a platform for the preservation and continuation of Sephardic heritage by promoting a variety of music styles.


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