top of page

The 2nd Edition of the AMERICAN SEPHARDI MUSIC FESTIVAL Session: October 4th, 7th, and 8th 2018

The 2nd Edition of the


Session 1

October 4th, 7th, and 8th 2018

American Sephardi Music Festival - 2nd Edition

Sophisticated Sephardi Sounds at 2nd American Sephardi Music Festival Featuring Yemen Blues, Laura Bello, NY Andalus Ensemble, and Renowned Turkish Pianist Renan Koen!

Dynamic and diverse performances by world-class artists will be heard at the second American Sephardi Music Festival (ASMF)! World music sensation Yemen Blues is part of the star-studded line-up, including the Granada-born Ladino singer Lara Bello, Pantam player and multi-instrumentalist Adam Maalouf, and the NY Andalus Ensemble, which conjures anew the cosmopolitanism of Córdoba.

The Festival is being headlined by Renan Koen, a Sephardi classical pianist from Turkey to perform three distinct repertoires of Sephardic and original Holocaust music. Her ensemble is composed of some of the finest Turkish musicians.

ASMF is being presented by The American Sephardi Federation on October 4 at the Kehila Kedosha Janina Synagogue and Museum (280 Broome Street, New York City), as well as on the 7th and 8th of October at The Center for the Jewish History (15 W 16th Street, New York City).

« Last year's first edition of the Festival was a smash hit with some of the greats of Sephardi music: Gerard Edery, Francoise Atlan, Itamar Borochov. This year, I decided to divide the Festival into several sessions to keep the experience of this unique Festival all year long! This first session stars artists such as Renan Koen (from Turkey!), Adam Maalouf, the New York Andalus Ensemble, Lara Bello, and Yemen Blues. This large variety, from the ancient to the modern, perfectly showcases the diversity of culture throughout the Greater Sephardic diaspora. I am deeply honored to bring this unforgettable experience to you." said Serero, Artistic Director and Producer of the Festival.

"David is showcasing the vibrant variety of Sephardi sounds, ranging from Andalusian ballads and Ladino love songs to the latest Yemen-Israeli blues fusion. ASF is proud to host this Festival for the second edition and hopes it will join the New York Sephardic Film Festival as a major, annual cultural event," said Jason Guberman-P., Executive Director of the American Sephardi Federation.

The ASMF is a proud partner of the renowned Festival des Andalousies Atlantiques in Essaouira, Morocco.


October 4th 2018:

8pm: RENAN KOEN & Ensemble - Una Matika de Ruda

October 7, 2018:

4 pm: RENAN KOEN & Ensemble - Lost Traces Hidden Memories

6 pm: ADAM MAALOUF and the Future Tribe - Where the Ancient Meets the Modern


October 8, 2018:

4 pm: LARA BELLO sings Ladinos and Sephardic songs

6 pm: RENAN KOEN - Holocaust Remembrance 'Before Sleep'

8 pm: YEMEN BLUES (duo) (Followed by After Party)

Passes are from $75 to $100 (VIP)

Tickets are from $20 to $30 (VIP).

Tickets: or 1.800.838.3006


RENAN KOEN - Pianist, Composer, Soprano, Music Therapist

October 4 at 8 pm, seven at 4 pm, and eight at 6 pm.

She started her studies in music with the flute in 1979 when the conductor of the Amherst College Choir discovered her talent during his stay in İstanbul for the International Music Festival. She studied piano in 1983 with the composer Ali Darmar and the "State Artist" Ayşegül Sarıca. Meanwhile, she received her secondary school degree from the " Nazım Acar flute studio at Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory. Between 1985 and 1986, she furthered her studies in piano in Paris with Germaine Mounier. 1990-1991, she continued her studies in London with the pedagogue Maria Curcio and her assistant.

Mark Swartzentruber. 1995 brought her prizes in various competitions. She received

the fourth prize in the "Chopin Etudes" competition hosted by Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory. She was awarded the second prize for her interpretation of a Cemal Reşit Rey composition entitled "Improvisation" in the competition held in honor of the composer. That same year, she graduated from the piano studio of Judith Uluğ at Mimar Sinan University State Conservatory.

In 2008, Koen released her solo piano album "Köprüler/Bridges" with the Taxim Edition/Universal Record label. In 2014 came her second album, which centers around the story of her own family. The album is composed of her compositions inspired by authentic Sephardic folk songs of the Aegean, Middle East, Anatolia, and Synagogue hymns. In this album, Koen's contribution also extended to playing the piano harmonium and singing the soprano part.

In this album entitled "Lost Traces, Hidden Memories," Koen collaborated with many eminent musicians. Kalan Music Productions released the album.

Renan Koen's 3. album was released on November 24, 2015, the same day as the installation of Theresienstadt Concentration Camp (on November 24, 1941) by Kalan Müzik. This project, "Holocaust Remembrance/Before Sleep (composed of cd+dvd+booklet)," documents the research conducted by Renan Koen into the life stories, ideals, and works of composers who continued to create notwithstanding the prohibitions imposed on them while being imprisoned in the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp during the Second World War. In addition to outstanding samples of their works for piano and chorus, about which information is provided in the booklet, enthusiasts can also lend an ear to real-life stories from the war and interviews with survivors' families. We thank the Quincentennial Foundation, Anadolu Kültür, the Kariyo&Ababay Foundation, and Dr. Erol Hakanoğlu for their generous support. World Ort Music and the Holocaust website have quoted Renan Koen's 3. Album "Holocaust Remembrance/Before Sleep" and included it in their citation list. This treasured website features extensive research both on the music, composers, and performers of the Holocaust period and also on other special topics such as Politics and propaganda, Resistance and exile, and Answers & Emory. It is one of the many valuable creations of World ORT (, an organization that promotes the importance of education worldwide, and shares in its "Education for Life" motto.


ADAM MAALOUF and the FUTURE TRIBE - October 7 at 6 pm.

Where the Ancient meets the Modern. They are featuring Andreas Arnold (Flamenco Guitar) and Shelley Thomas (Vocalist). As a specialist in bantam (handpan), cello, & percussion from around the world, Adam's unique interpretation of World Music is channeled through genre-bending compositions for solo and ensembles. "Future Tribe" is an ensemble of global instrumentalists that take listeners somewhere new. The Tribe's music is found where the modern meets the ancient, where the Pantam (or handpan) meets old or traditional styles of music from around the globe. Pantam is the name of the "flying saucer" instrument invented in the year 2000, and the word stems from the combination of the Pan from Trinidad and the Ghatam (clay pot drum) from South India. Maalouf's music is presented with traditional musicians playing Indian Tabla, Arabic Vocal, Bansuri Flute, Middle Eastern Percussion, Guitar, Trumpet, Turkish Oud, and Nay.

TICKETS: or 1.800.838.3006

LARA BELLO sings Ladinos and Sephardic songs - on October 8 at 4 pm.

Lara Bello was born in Granada, Spain, and moved to New York in 2009. She studied classical singing and violin at the Royal Conservatory of Granada. At the same time, she trained in flamenco and traditional singing and dance with many different teachers in her town. After winning a national prize in Spain as a songwriter, she debuted her first album, "Niña Pez," in 2009 and was voted Best Spanish Artist by the World Music Charts Europe in 2010. Her second album, "First yellow then purple," introduced her to the US and received high praise from People magazine, NPR, CNN, CCTV- America, etc. In 2014, she produced and wrote all the music for "Shadows of the Pomegranate Tree," a musical theatre show based on Tariq Ali's novel. In 2017, Bello released her latest album, "SIKAME" (The Soul of the Gold), celebrating the African roots in the Western music culture as jazz or flamenco. This album was recommended by The New York Times and NPR. Bello has performed her music all over the world at many festivals and venues, including the Aga Khan Museum (Toronto), Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Beijing Ninegates International Festival (Pekín), Palace of Congress (Granada, Spain), etc.

TICKETS: or 1.800.838.3006

NEW YORK ANDALUS ENSEMBLE - October 7 at 8 p.m.

Today, a spirit of intercultural exchange rooted in Córdoba, Spain, is reborn in New York City with the New York Andalus Ensemble. This multiethnic, multifaith group performs in Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish, and Ladino. Drawing upon repertoire from the ninth century to the 1960s, from al-Andalus and the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia), the ensemble consists of a large choir and a wide array of traditional and modern acoustic instruments. The large ensemble comprises 15-20 performers and the more minor Chamber Orchestra shall consist of 5-10 members. Under the direction of ethnomusicologist and multi-instrumentalist Dr. Samuel R. Torjman Thomas, the New York Andalus Ensemble is dedicated to conjuring the cosmopolitanism of Córdoba in the present day.


YEMEN BLUES (duo) - October 8 at 8 pm (followed by After Party for VIP tickets)

In 2010, singer & composer Ravid Kahalani founded a rare combination of top musicians called Yemen Blues. From the start, Yemen Blues created an original sound that became a new language in contemporary music. The intense musicians hail from NYC, Uruguay & Tel Aviv. This includes the core members of creation: Rony Iwryn, Itamar Doari & Shanir Blumenkranz. Each member comes from a different background and brings their sound and arrangements to Ravid's compositions. The result of this fantastic group is a powerful energy that mixes Yemenite, West African, and jazz influences and what Ravid calls "New Age Culture Music." The mambo and North African rhythms create a joyful and deep foundation, while the vocals remind the listener of ancient Arabic chants mixed with funk & blues. For their first album, the group collaborated with the well-known maestro Omer Avital, who served as a musical director & producer. Since then, Yemen Blues has kept magic alive with a constant stream of new songs and their world-renowned, exciting live performances! Yemen Blues Duo will include the composer and frontman Ravid Kahalani with the phenomenal musician Shanir Blumenkranz, who has been an arranger and creator in YB since 2012. Together, they will present some of Yemen Blues' songs from both albums in a very detailed & intimate performance that can't avoid getting intense even in a duo appearance with both Ravid & Shanir stage and musical charisma.

About the Artistic Director/Producer: DAVID SERERO

French opera singer and actor David Serero has performed over 1,500 concerts worldwide, recorded over 20 albums, and played in over 100 films and TV series. His repertoire ranges from Opera, Musicals, and World Music. He enjoys bringing his Sephardic origins to Classics. Over past seasons, he starred in Shylock and Othello's title roles, both adapted in a Sephardi style, Cyrano (Rostand's Cyrano of Bergerac) and Don Giovanni (Mozart's opera). Among his various recorded albums, he has released "Sephardi," an album of Sephardi music, and recently « Baritone Opera Arias.» Next engagements with the ASF are Verdi's Nabucco (May 2019), Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet (June 2019), and Mozart's Marriage of Figaro (July 2019).


The American Sephardi Federation, based at the landmark Center for Jewish History, preserves and promotes Greater Sephardic communities' history, traditions, and rich mosaic culture as an integral part of the Jewish experience. ASF hosts high-profile cultural events and exhibitions, produces widely-read online (Sephardi World Weekly, Sephardi Ideas Monthly) and print (The Sephardi Report) publications, supports research, scholarship, and the National Sephardic Library, and represents the Sephardi voice in diplomatic and Jewish communal affairs as a member of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations and World Jewish Congress.

Please visit us at

Like us on Facebook at


WHEN: October 4th, 7th, and 8th 2018

WHERE: or 1.800.838.3006

Media Contact:



Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Twitter Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page