Sarah Aroeste is one of the only contemporary Sephardic Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) performers in the US. As one of few Ladino artists today who writes her own music in the exotic language, Aroeste has built an acclaimed international career over the last decade with her unique Ladino "rock" style. Aroeste combines music, video and storytelling in her powerful performances, and always leaves an audience learning a little something along the way. She writes and performs for both adults and children, and has been a pioneer bringing Sephardic culture to wider audiences around the globe.
Price Range: Depends on size of band, or solo presentation
Gig Length: 30 - 90 minutes
Languages: Ladino (Judeo-Spanish)
What to Expect
Sarah Aroeste has several program offerings-- from solo sing/talk presentations geared towards schools, universities and cultural centers, to duet house concerts, acoustic trios for smaller venues, and full electric 4-9 piece bands. Aroeste offers shows for adults, and a brand-new program just for kids and familes. As the frontwoman, Aroeste weaves story telling, with music, dance and video to create a performance that is both educational and entertaining.
Sarah Aroeste, inspired by her family's Sephardic roots in Greece and Macedonia, has spent the last 15 years bringing her contemporary style of original and traditional Ladino music to audiences around the world.
Aroeste writes and sings in Ladino, the Judeo-Spanish dialect that originated by Spanish Jews after their expulsion from Spain in 1492. Those who left Spain, including Aroeste’s family, carried the medieval language with them to the various points where they later settled, primarily along the Mediterranean coast and North Africa. In time, Ladino came to absorb bits and pieces of languages all along the Mediterranean coast, including some Greek, Turkish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Hebrew, and more. This exotic pan-Mediterranean language has, unfortunately, been fading away. But the continued musical legacy of Spanish Jews highlights the strength of an oral tradition that spans many centuries and crosses many geographic boundaries.
American born and trained in classical opera as a teenager at Westminster Choir College and then at Yale University, Aroeste became drawn to her Sephardic musical past after spending a summer in 1997 performing at the Israel Vocal Arts Institute in Tel Aviv. There, she had the fortune of studying with Nico Castel, one of the world’s great Ladino singers and coaches at the Metropolitan Opera, with whom she learned she shared a similar Sephardic background. Continuing to study with Castel upon her return to the US, Aroeste started incorporating classical Ladino songs into her opera repertoire. She quickly realized that Ladino, not opera, was her true musical passion and soon after made the leap to performing in Ladino full time.
Since then, Aroeste has worked tirelessly to keep Ladino music alive for a new generation. Her style, whether with her original music or with interpreting Ladino folk repertoire, combines traditional Mediterranean Sephardic sounds with contemporary influences such as rock, pop, electronica and jazz. One of few Ladino artists today who writes her own music, Aroeste performs songs of such universal themes as family dynamics, first-love crushes, unrequited love, loss, searching for home, going off to war, and much more. Together, her songs have brought new life and energy to the beautiful and mysterious sounds of Sephardic music.
In the last decade, Aroeste has amassed a large and loyal following across the US and abroad, and has been featured in both national and international press. To date, Sarah Aroeste has released four recordings, A la Una: In the Beginning (2003), Puertas (2007), Gracia (2012), and most recently Ora de Despertar (2016) an all-original Ladino children’s album.
She has performed in major music venues throughout the US and overseas (tours through Europe, Israel and Cuba), and has collaborated with such notables as Frank London (The Klezmatics), Roberto Rodriguez, Tamir Muskat (Balkan Beat Box), Y-Love and more. In 2008 Aroeste was a finalist in Israel’s prestigious “Festiladino” competition of original Ladino songs and performed her winning song with the Jerusalem Symphony. For the past few years, Aroeste has teamed up with renowned Israeli composer and producer Shai Bachar to stage the live, multi-media production of her latest album, Gracia, which is an original Ladino, feminist, rock homage to 16th century Sephardic heroine, Dona Gracia Naci. In September of 2014, an electronic version of their Gracia project won the Sephardic Prize at the International Jewish Music Festival in Amsterdam, and in June 2015 Aroeste represented the USA at the International Sephardic Music Festival in Cordoba, Spain. Currently, Aroeste and Bachar are gearing up to present the live version of their newest album, the first-ever all-original Ladino children's record. This latest project works to bring Ladino culture to more young children and families.
With her unwavering commitment to Ladino cultural preservation, Sarah Aroeste has received notable attention over the years for her innovation in working to make Ladino music more accessible and exciting to new and larger audiences. Bringing a fresh and inspiring modern sound, Sarah Aroeste’s contemporary Ladino style has helped to transform and revitalize a tradition.
Additional Booking Notes
Technical needs are dependent on the size of the venue and the band size-- we could be as small as just a microphone and video projector, and as big a set up as required by a 9-piece electric band.
Past Booked Events
|March 13, 2016 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm||Furth, Germany|
|February 17, 2016 • 7:00pm - 8:00pm||Tufts University|
Set lists and presentation styles depend on whether the event is geared towards adults or children. All performances include interactive music and video.
Influences & Inspiration
Sarah Aroeste is very much her own style as there are very few Ladino artists today who write their own music or present the music in a contemporary style. There are also no other known Ladino children's artists.
Microphone and projector at minimum, full stage set-up for a 9-piece band at maximum
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