By Alicia Rappoport
In March 2020, when global fear paralyzed our lives, when the media bombarded us with talk of illness and death, with streets empty and uncertainty lurking behind closed doors, I wept. Then I realized that I could transform life, change thinking, and lift spirits with music. With songs from my ancestral past, I could invoke healing, hope, liberation, joy, and thanksgiving to life.
Dear friends, I invite you to this spiritual journey with an evening of ancient music and prayers, Sephardic songs, and more. I have gathered a group of amazing musicians who will bring serenity and joy to life. This is my gift to the community of San Miguel de Allende and its surroundings, that I love so much.
These are the musicians who will join me on stage:
Cynthia Valenzuela is a world-renowned harpist and a major representative of the Celtic harp in Mexico. She will also play the lute.
Francisco Bringas is a prize-winning percussionist from Mexico City who will play several middle eastern percussion instruments.
Santiago Ruiz is from Xalapa and will play various flutes from around the world: the ney (Arabia, Turkey), bansuri (India), sáo truc (Vietnam), duduk (Armenia), and suling (Indonesia).
Dalmau Cudney is a talented guitarist who will play guitar and bouzouki.
Mane Rodriguez is a young, award-winning pianist.
Paola and Lexa are two gifted Sanmiguelense singers.
Shira means “singing” in Hebrew—singing poetry and songs from age-old traditions. The sounds and vocabulary of the Hebrew language carry a haunted millennial history. The prayers and songs have a disarming beauty, a power to unite people with a universal language that connects to the power of creation.
Psalm 118 is a regular part of Jewish, Catholic, Anglican, and Protestant liturgies, and it inspired this Shira concert. It showed me the way to deal with the panic around me: “I shall not die, but live…”
The second part of Shira will bring Sephardic songs accompanied by harp, lute, bouzouki, guitar, flutes, and percussion instruments from the Middle East.
During the medieval period, the Sephardim lived on the Iberian Peninsula and had a language of their own—Ladino—an emotive dialect mixing old Spanish, Hebrew, and Aramaic terms.
“Sareri Hovim Mernen” is a beautiful 400-year-old Armenian love song: “…the earth listens to my secret, my voice goes beyond time, my heart forever sings…”
The time of this pandemic has brought out our deepest fears, the vulnerability of our daily living, and the fragility of our relationships. It is time now to celebrate being alive.
Join us for an inspirational Thanksgiving Concert and let us bring joy back into your life. Seating is limited to 45 people for safe social distancing.