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Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs | A Different Night: A Passover Musical Anthology

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A Different Night: A Passover Musical Anthology

by Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs

An unusual collection of Passover songs which weaves its cloth from the myriad strands of the Jewish Diaspora. Because the holiday is of major importance to Jews all over the world, it is bountifully endowed with a fascinating panorama of music.
Genre: Spiritual: Jewish Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Kuando D'aifto
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
3:12 $0.99
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2. B'chol Dor Vahdor
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
1:45 $0.99
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3. Had Gadya (Tangiers)
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
1:07 $0.99
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4. Chad Gadya (Russia/Poland)
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
2:49 $0.99
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5. Had Gadya (Chaim Parchi)
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
2:17 $0.99
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6. Adir Hu
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
2:27 $0.99
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7. Ah Moshe
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
4:44 $0.99
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8. Alla Fiera Dell'est
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
4:22 $0.99
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9. Par'ó Era Estreyero
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
7:11 $0.99
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10. Chad Gadya
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
1:12 $0.99
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11. Ken Supiese Y Entendiense
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
5:09 $0.99
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12. Chad Gadya (Romania)
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
3:58 $0.99
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13. Ke Komiash Duenya
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
1:47 $0.99
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14. Had Gadya (Chaim Parchi)
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
2:05 $0.99
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15. Mose Salyo De Misrayim
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
3:33 $0.99
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16. Had Gadya (Morocco)
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
1:48 $0.99
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17. Had Gadya (Italy)
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
3:42 $0.99
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18. Chad Gadya (Tarnapol)
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
4:56 $0.99
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19. Chad Gadya (Italy)
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
5:18 $0.99
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20. Suite of Had Gadya
Voice of the Turtle & Judith Wachs
14:05 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
ABOUT A DIFFERENT NIGHT

This recording is an unusual anthology of Passover musical repertoire, a collection which weaves its cloth from the myriad strands of the Jewish Disapora. Because the holiday is of major importance to Jews all over the world, it is bountifully endowed with a fascinating panorama of music. Voice of the Turtle has has chosen a selection which reflects and explores the vast cultural wealth of Jewish life preserved within communities dispersed over centuries.

In this collection, we have gathered and focused upon an extensive collection of versions of "ˆHad Gadya," or "One Kid," (a baby goat) from all over the Jewish Diaspora, in Judeo-Spanish (also known as Ladino), Yiddish, Judeo-Provençal, Judeo-Arabic, Haketía, Italian, Hebrew, and in the original Aramaic. This repertoire and other traditional songs from the Haggadah (the book which contains the order of the ritual), are offered in conjunction with Judeo-Spanish ballads (romanças) which tell stories from Midrash (legend), which have been carried through centuries by oral tradition.

The melange of textual and musical versions presented here was learned primarily from field recordings; some versions appear in rarely heard languages and dialects, in variants found only in archives, or within the isolated domain of small scattered communities. This expanse of resources has informed our vocal and instrumental arrangements, and inspired the vision of this anthology.


THE HOLIDAY OF PASSOVER

On the evening of the fourteenth day (the full moon) of the month of Nisan, according to the Jewish calendar, in the month when goats and lambs are born, Jews all over the world conduct a Seder, read the Haggakah, tell the story. The story is of the deliverance of the Jewish people from the bonds of Egyptian slavery; it is told in combination with relevant liturgy, poetry and literature. A ritual feast is consumed.

The offerings and the ritual mark the season, linking the celebration to more ancient rites of the Jewish people, whose traditions were always closely connected to the forces and cycles of nature. The sacrifice of a kid at the beginning of the month of Nisan (which was considered the first month of the year), as well as a festival of unleavened bread at the time of the new harvest, were part of more ancient customs. The significance and the power of Passover, therefore, could also be attributed to its position as a "rite" of spring, a celebration of the new year and of the breaking through the dormant earth by the waking life within.

The importance of the holiday of Passover to Jewish people can only begin to be understood by observing that Jews, for over two thousand years, often despite risk to their very lives, conducted a Seder and read the Haggadah on the 14th day of the month of Nisan. Stories abound throughout the centuries of the celebration held in secret, of matzot (unleavened bread) baked under cover of night, of Jews hiding from spying neighbors during the Inquisition.

Because the Haggadah asks of every Jew that she or he personally experience the liberation from slavery, the holiday creates an identification not only with Jews over the ages and throughout the world, but with all people who struggle against oppression!


NUMBER GAMES

From at least as far back as the Babylonian captivity (597-538 B.C.E.), numbers have been assigned significant, if not magical powers, not only by the common people, but by scholars and sages as well. the significance of numbers appearing throughout the "telling" (the meaning of the word "Haggadah") and found in ballads and coplas relating to Passover, offers further perspective from which to understand the story of Passover, from its beginnings 3500 years ago when the Hebrews were slaves in Egypt.

This collection offers a glimpse of the "numbers" which play a part: for example, in "Who Knows One?," the counting proceeds from One God, to the two heroic figures, Moses and Aaron, to Three Fathers, Four Mothers, etc. through to the Twelve Tribes. In other versions of this song the text continues on to the significant (and not unlucky) number thirteen which refers to the Thirteen Divine Principles of Maimonides.

In the song "Had Gadya" (appearing twenty-three times on this recording!) there are ten scenarios, and only one kid, for two coins.

The cumulative "Adir Hu" offers twenty-two adjectives to describe God. There are 600,000 people who left Egypt, singing (according to Midrash which appears in "Kuando d'Aifto fueron salidos"). And the enigmatic "Ke Komiash Duenya" begins on the third day of Passover with a surrealistic accumulation of what the "duenya" ingested at her Seder.

The Haggadah tells of Ten Plagues. Four important questions are asked by the youngest child--the answers to which are the focus of the telling. There are three matzot on the Seder table. We are enjoined to drink four cups of wine; there are four theoretical children to whom the lessons of the holiday are addressed, and references to "the doubling" of the goodness of God who brought us out of Egypt. Three essential words must be said: "Pesach, matzah, maror"- Passover, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs.

Many of the songs in the Haggadah are cumulative, all of which combine to assign the largest dimension of symbolism and meaning to the celebration It is a serious and satisfying game.

"A Different Night" is Voice of the Turtle's tenth recording, released in our "chai" year- the eighteenth year by the same four "Turtles" who have performed and recorded together since 1978. The word for life in Hebrew, "chai," corresponds to the number eighteen according to the system of numbers (gematria) attributed to Hebrew letters. Eighteen is therefore considered a lucky number.


HAD GADYA

"Had Gadya" is a cumulative table song with an improbably tale, which appeared in the Ashkenazi Haggadah around the 16th century. Its function and meaning are the subject of continuing debate. It is sometimes interpreted as an allegorical recounting of the fate of historical enemies of the Jewish people. there are mystical interpretations, suggestions of allusion to the story of Joseph-perhaps to the kid which was slaughtered to convoke Jacob of the death of Joseph. Others read it simply as a functional addition to help children stay awake through the last part of the Seder. Could it belong to a genre of code songs? Many songs were said to have been composed as a ruse to divert spies who lurked about, seeking to catch Jews "Judaizing" at Passover time during the Inquisition. Two versions of "Had Gadya" from the Sephardic heritage, "Tenia Yo" and "Ke Komiash Duenya" have been interpreted in this way, i.e., sung as an imitation of a cumulative song which one might have sung at a Seder.

The text closely follows a 15th century German folk song, which is said to have derived from a French folk song. It seems to have appeared among the Ashkenazi Jews (Northern and Eastern Europe) in Aramaic and Hebrew, and later, at varying times in other communities, in other languages. As one can hear from this recording, it is often translated, reconfigured, and reinterpreted according to the traditions, the conditions and perspective of the community who sings it.


MUSICAL ARRANGEMENTS

The musical arrangements by Voice of the Turtle are the result of a collaboration among the four members of the group. Whenever possible, the group learns the melody and words from original field recordings. For the most part, these recordings are not accompanied by musical instruments; at times, however, instrumental accompaniments are heard, particularly in those field recordings which take place at events or gatherings, with instruments reflecting exilic as well as modern influences. Because this repertoire is dynamic, variations which we hear in the field recordings from the informants clearly reflect a range of "traditional" performance practices. Our presentations are conceived to demonstrate that dynamism.

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