Live: Ljuba Davis Leads Her Masterful Combo at Drom

Ljuba Davis Ladino Ensemble
Friday, June 15

Better than: Getting bummed about the end of Al-Andalus.

For those of us who grew up hearing a lot of Yiddish, it can come as a nice surprise to discover that Hebrew modified Spanish as much as it transformed German. The resultant “Ladino” toungue is to Spanish Jews what Yiddish became to the Ashkenazim, but whereas witty Yiddish catchphrases are almost as familiar to mainstream America as a vaudeville pratfall, ladino humor and terminology remain less well-known. The Iberian flavor of Ljuba Davis’s Ladino Ensemble owes much to spicy North African percussion and the melodic sweetness of the fado, and it reaches all the way back before Columbus to the golden age of Moorish rule for inspiration. String instruments — in this case the cello, the bouzouki, the oud, and the acoustic guitar — play together as in Arab orchestrals, with each instrument adding distinctive ornamentation to the main melody. Live, this tight five-piece combo of master instrumentalists sounds like a much bigger unit. Continue reading “Live: Ljuba Davis Leads Her Masterful Combo at Drom”