Ladino Lecture

“Avre tu puerta cerrada – Open your closed door.”
Music Performance and Lecture of Ladino and the Sephardic Diaspora


Audio intro to lecture intro


Come spend an evening with Derek Burrows, Musician and Storyteller, as he follows the path of the Spanish Jews, known as the Sephardim, who after living in Spain for 15 centuries, were expelled from their native land in 1492. Hundreds of thousands of these Spanish Jews traveled the continent, keeping their stories and traditions alive trough song and an oral tradition of story telling as they fled persecution. Ladino, a mixture of Medieval Spanish, Turkish & Hebrew, is a romance language that was written in Hebrew characters and is still spoken today lives many homes, communities.

Known as crypto-jews, the Sephardim were forced to hide their religion, sometimes by lighting candles in their closets on Shabbat or hiding the Torah while pretendeding to play card games to fool the authorities.

Expelled from their homeland, they maintained and passed on their legacy through the music and stories that now make up a rich lexicon of Ladino culture.

This program introduces us to the power of the oral tradition in helping humans survive through adversity. Using a variety of songs, stories and historical information, Derek weaves for us the lives of the Sephardim as they journeyed throughout the Mediterranean and the Ottoman empire in search of new homelands.

Derek demonstrating the songĀ  Cuando el Rey Nimrod at a synagogue as a part of a lecture in Ladino.

Derek is a member of the International Sephardic music group, Voice of the Turtle
For more information about this one hour lecture or about a concert
of Sephardic music please email or call Derek.