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The Yemenite Jews CD

The Yemenite Jews CD

  • $1529


After the destruction of the First Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BCE, a group of Jews settled in Yemen. They remained in exile, sometimes prosperous but frequently persecuted, until the 19th century. They then began to return to what is now Israel, first in small numbers and later in an organized wave with the establishment of the Jewish state in 1948. They brought with them a rich heritage of religious, secular, and devotional (diwan) music, the last of which includes both religious and secular subjects.

Every Jewish community in Yemen had its own diwan, consisting of works from the renowned medieval Spanish poets of the Golden Age of Hebrew poetry, as well as original writings from community members. These poems, in the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Arabic languages, were intended to be sung or chanted. According to the album’s compiler Avner Bahat of the Jewish Music Research Centre, the Yemenite diwan is “the richest and most valuable of all.” Eleven poems are presented in this 1976–77 recording. Structurally, the diwan is divided into three sections: nashid (an improvisational response sung without music or dance accompaniment), shira (the primary singing section featuring dance and rhythmic accompaniment on tin cans or copper plates), and hallel (a song of praise restricted to two or three notes around the tonic).

This album is part of the UNESCO Collection of Traditional Music. More than 125 albums are being released by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to make the series publicly available, including a dozen never-released albums of musical traditions from around the globe.

Track listing:

1. Shadai Emor Na Daile-Galuteinu - 2:34
2. Tsur Menati - 3:46
3. Ayumati Te'orer Ha-Yesheinim Qiryat - 4:05
4. Yashqef Elohim Mi-Me'on Qodsho / Yom Ezkera Het'i / Hallel - 8:04
5. Sar Ha-Memuneh - 2:14
6. Ahuv Yevarech Ha-Hatan - 1:37
7. Ahuv Mei-Har Ha-Mor Natan Li Morasha - 2:56
8. Adon Hakol Mehayyeh Kol Neshamah - 4:37
9. Adon Hakol Mehayyeh Kol Neshamah - 4:09
10. Yeda'atani Be-Terem Titsreini / 'Ayin Ve-Lev Yahad Merivim / Hallel - 9:18
11. Ayyahu Al-Husn El-Musamma - 5:33


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