Over many centuries, Gaelic, Arabic, Christian, Jewish and Muslim cultures collided on the Spanish peninsula, eventually melding into a culture that is uniquely Spanish. This melding of cultures only happened in al-Andalus, where, sometimes in peace, sometimes in war, these diverse peoples of different languages, religions, and cultures lived side by side.
The music and poetry of the Jews of Spain comes down to us today as a rich heritage of secular and devotional art. It’s beauty, pervaded by melancholy, reflects the chiaroscuro, the darkness and the light, of Jewish life in old Spain and then in exile in the Ottoman Empire and Arab lands.
Brethren of the Desert
Out of the deserts and mountains of the Middle East, amidst idol-worship and polytheism, there arose a new monotheistic religion: Judaism. Later, a Jewish reformer was born whose followers created a new religion: Christianity. And some 700 years later, yet another reformer, an Arab of the deserts of Arabia, steeped both in Judaism and Christianity, founded yet another faith: Islam.
Under the direction of Dr. De la Sierra, Music of Spain conducts special programs for schools and universities on the culture, music and history of Spain. These cultural enrichment programs feature traditional song, guitar, rhythms and dance, and usually culminate in a concert demonstrating these arts.