Mara Aranda is a Valencian singer and performer who has gained international recognition for her distinctive work over the years. For over three decades she has researched about Valencian, Turkish, Greek, Occitan and ancient, medieval and Sephardic music, which has resulted in almost twenty albums of her own. After so much time committed to this folkloric music, it would be fair to say that she is deserving of her awards and recognition from the public and also the media. She is one of the most international interpreters of Spanish Sephardic music. ‘Sefarad en el Corazón de Grecia‘ (Sepharad in the heart of Greece) is the third volume of the sound pentalogy that appreciates Sephardic culture, a note to the Iberian land and the Jewish diaspora too. She tells us that: “Sepharad is the Hebrew name for ‘Spain’. This refers to the Jews of the Iberian Peninsula before the expulsion of the Jews, which started in 1492.” Regarding her trilogy of albums, the first two volumes of the collection were awarded the title of ‘best European album‘ by the Transglobal World Music Chart, in their respective years of release.

This year saw the launch of the third volume of the pentalogy, ‘Sepharad in the heart of Greece‘ dedicated to the Sephardic songs of Greece, ‘. This is an album that is based on the memory of experiences by people as a collective. Therefore, the album actually takes inspiration from what others have experienced in the historic past. Mara’s studio work has taken her on residency trips to Greece, Turkey and Israel, prior to the recording of these works, to gather information necessary to complete the musical work, which cannot be understood separately of its historical and cultural context.

The attraction that Sephardic culture exerts encompasses different types of researchers: musicians, linguists, novelists, journalists and historians.  To a greater or lesser extemt, they have all highlighted the value of Mara Aranda’s work that she has carried out in this series of albums. He work tries to recover and bring to light some rare songs that, in a way, are the heritage of humanity as a whole.

Report by Alice Teasdale

Article copyright 24/7 Valencia

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