Together/Endjuntos

by Sarah Aroeste

MA

One of my favorite childhood memories is of watching my aunts congregating in a kitchen preparing our family’s “tadliko” cookie for special occasions. I always knew I came from a unique and special Sephardic background, and that is why I have spent my life’s career working to educate a broader audience about it. 

After proven successes with my last 4 recordings (NPR named me one of the most boundary-pushing Latin artists with my album Gracia, and my most recent children’s album, Ora de Despertar, was award-winning!), I now want to take the task of cultural transmission one step further.  My upcoming recording project, Together/Endjuntos, will be the first-ever, all-original BI-LINGUAL (English/Ladino) holiday album.

                             (**Not sure what Ladino is? See the footnote at the end…**)

The 10-song cycle has been written, and includes interwoven lyrics in English and Ladino that highlight holidays throughout the Hebrew calendar. There are songs for the Sabbath, Rosh Hashanah (the New Year), Sukkot (the harvest), Tu B'shvat (the Hebrew arbor day), Hanukah, Passover and much more. This is not a kid's album, like my last one; instead, this is music that can be enjoyed by all ages and that we hope will bring many people together. Ladino has the ability to bridge ethnic and linguistic divides, and I believe that by including English in a fun and clever way, the Ladino and Sephardic themes of this new album will reach even more people and will help add a fresh element to holiday music offerings. The "together" title represents how Ladino and English are connected in this project, but the larger meaning is that "together" is how we hope holidays are celebrated and that this music will be added "together" with other holiday songs you have come to know and love.

I am currently seeking $15,000 as my TARGET GOAL to help cover part of the recording process for “Together/Endjuntos.” Any money raised for my target will go directly towards the music production, studio time, musicians and mixing. The musical producer (Shai Bachar, my trusted partner who has produced my last 2 records), session musicians, studio, and engineer have already been identified, and it is our goal to begin recording in June 2017.

As this is only LESS THAN HALF of the actual budget, additional funding to reach my STRETCH GOAL will go towards line items like mastering, duplication, shipping, educational resource development (songbook, teaching guide), and a video series to accompany the music, which was so critical to the success of our previous album, Ora de Despertar (Time to Wake Up!).

Additionally, Seth Cohen PR (former publicist to Bruce Springsteen!!!) has agreed to take on the project - which is to say, there's great support already for what we believe will be a project with BIG impact. (Note that PR isn't even included in the budget items above-- that's extra!)

In order to release this album in time for the Jewish New Year, we must have the album recorded by the start of this summer. That's soon! It takes months to get an album from the studio out into the world, which means there's urgency for us to get into the studio as soon as possible. Here's me working on the pre-production "scratches." We're ready and primed to record the real songs as soon as we raise the money!

Hatchfund, the platform I'm using to fundraise for this project is like Kickstarter in that it works as an all-or-nothing approach. If I don't raise my target goal, I don't receive any of the funds. HOWEVER, the big differences are that Hatchfund only supports vetted artists (me!), and is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit. This means that, unlike Kickstarter, any donation is TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. Arts funding is in danger, and support for independent artists like myself is scarcer than ever. Hatchfund allows professional artists like me to raise money, and for donors to receive tax benefits for supporting the arts. It's a win-win! 

By supporting my project, you'll get updates with exclusive material and will also receive the perks you see on the sidebar. Any amount helps! Bottom line, if you think you'll be listening to the album when it comes out, if you support this project by pre-ordering it now, you'll actually help get it completed.

Ladino is listed by UNESCO as a “severely endangered” language. But Ladino represents a part of world history that spans centuries and borders, and I believe is worth keeping alive.  I am proud to be one of the few artists today who writes her own music in Ladino, as I believe that cultural preservation is not only about preserving what came before us, but that it also includes an imperative to create new material to keep a culture moving forward.

Good music is good music, no matter the language. But people will never have the chance to learn about Ladino and the critical place it holds in world history if they’re never even exposed to it. By composing Together/Endjuntos, with English/Ladino bilingual lyrics, I hope Ladino will have a higher chance of becoming more accessible to a larger group of people.  I have spent my entire career working to showcase the beauty and relevance of Sephardic culture today, and I have a proven track record of success so far. I won’t let you down with this new project. 

Thank you for your consideration and for the chance to help keep Ladino culture alive for generations to come...

Yours, Sarah 

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**Ladino is the Judeo-Spanish dialect originated by those fleeing the Spanish Inquisition (including my ancestors), and which flourished in the places where they later settled, primarily across the Mediterranean coast. In time, Ladino came to absorb bits of languages along the Mediterranean, including Greek, Turkish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Hebrew, and more. While this exotic pan-Mediterranean language was the first language of my grandfather and is still spoken around the world today, it is, unfortunately, fading away.

**Want to learn more about the Ora de Despertar children’s project?  Launched in the spring of 2016, Ora de Despertar (Time to Wake Up!) is the first ever all-original Ladino children’s albumanimated cartoon series, songbook, and educational resource guide.The award-winning album includes entirely original Ladino songs with themes ranging from learning body parts, to times of the day, how to say “hello”, animals on a farm, nature symbols and more. I wanted to make sure that easy-to-learn Ladino children’s songs could be accessible to anyone interested, whatever their background.

                                              

**Just for fun, here are pictures of my musical inspirations and Co-Presidents of my fan club:             

                             

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