Rabbi José Rolando Matalon (Vocals) and Dan Nadel (Flamenco Guitar)
This concert lecture will provide an intimate exploration of beautiful piyutim and music from Spain, North Africa and the Middle East stretching from the 10th to the 20th century.
For over a decade, in concert settings as well as at the prayer services of Manhattan’s B’nai Jeshurun congregation, Rabbi Matalon and guitarist Dan Nadel have been delving passionately and deeply into the heritage of Sephardic Jews, presenting traditional melodies and poetry, while bringing the spirit of innovation and renewal in order to creatively reestablish the connection with modern-day sounds.
Piyut, a form of Jewish liturgical poetry, composed for centuries by Hebrew poets, scholars, philosophers, mystics, reached its peak in medieval Spain. Much of this poetry is incredibly beautiful and evocative, with deep insight about the human condition and spiritual yearning. Most of this poetry was influenced by Arabic poetics of the time, reflecting a symbiotic cultural relationship between Muslims and Jews in the Iberian peninsula. Following the forced migration of Sephardic Jews to North Africa, the middle east, the Balkans, the Caucasus and other areas, this poetry continued to evolve as it was adapted to beloved melodies of the host nations.