The Sephardic Music Festival showcases the remarkable diversity that exists within the Jewish community. Its tapestry of harmonies, rhythms, and cultural motifs are as rich, vibrant, and diverse as the Jewish world itself. Popular perceptions of Jews and Jewish culture are dominated by Ashkenazi images and symbols like bagels, gefilte fish, klezmer, and Yiddish. This is the first music festival to focus exclusively on the less familiar but captivating culture of the Jewish communities of Spain/Portugal, North Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia.
The festival showcases artists from all over the world, representing cultural traditions from Ladino (Judeo-Spanish) to Mizrahi (Middle Eastern/North African) to Yemenite (Judeo-Arabic). In addition to traditional liturgical music, Shabbat songs, Sephardic folk tunes, and classic love poems (Romanceros), the festival also presents artists who fuse traditional rhythms, melodies, and themes with modern styles such as electro, hip hop, and dance music. The Sephardic Scholar Series, an important part of the Festival, brings performers, ethnomusicologists, and experts together to illuminate the historical and sociological roots of Sephardic music and culture.
“This Hanukkah fest wants to school us in Jewish music—and not just your grandpa’s klez.” - Time Out NY
“For most New Yorkers, “Jewish music” means klezmer: plaintive fiddles, wailing clarinets and other vestiges of a largely vanished Eastern European culture. But at the Sephardic Music Festival, a New York City tradition…, the world of Jewish music gets explored from an entirely different angle, focusing on the aural legacy of Jewish communities from Spain and the Muslim world.” – JPost
“Our Hannukkah-side suggestion is the annual Sephardic Music Festival…look at this festival as the un-Ashkenazi festival.” - National Public Radio, WNYC
And here's a video promoting and fundraising for the festival:
Sephardic Music Festival Promo Clip from ShemspeedTV on Vimeo.
And the write up on the fundraising page goes like this: