February 9, 2005 Ladino Music To Be Performed on March 23
Press Contact: Audrey Fischer (202) 707-0022
Public Contact: Gail Shirazi (202) 707-9897
Ramón Tasat will perform traditional Ladino music at the Library of Congress at noon on Wednesday, March 23, in the Pickford Theater, third floor of the James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave S.E., Washington, D.C. He will be accompanied by musicians Steve Bloom and Eugenia Shiuk.
The event, which is sponsored jointly by the Library’s Hispanic Division, American Folklife Center and the Hebrew Language Table, is free and open to the public. Tickets are not required but seating is limited.
Ladino is the language of the Sephardic people. A blend of Judeo-Spanish traditions, Ladino music has been part of the cultural life of many Sephardic Jews ever since they were exiled from Spain in 1492.
The performance will include Ladino Purim songs. Celebrated in March, Purim is a joyous holiday, commemorating a time when Jews living in Persia were saved from extermination.
Born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Tasat learned Ladino, the language of the Sephardic people, at his grandmother’s knee. Trained in five countries, Ramón has studied at the Latin American Rabbinical Seminary, the Manuel de Falla Conservatory of Music and the University of Texas at Austin, where he received a doctorate degree in voice performance. Tasat has performed on radio and television, and appeared in numerous opera productions including "Le Nozze di Figaro," "Il Impressario" and "La Traviata, garnering critical acclaim worldwide. He has toured Europe and participated in international festivals on both sides of the Atlantic, His most notable appearances have been at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall; the Israeli Embassy; the Italian Consulate in New York City; Touro Synagogue in Newport, R.I.; and Harvard University. His awards include first place at the Montpelier Cultural Arts Center’s Recital Competition and a National Endowment of the Arts grant.
Steve Bloom has toured throughout the United States and around the world as a performer, composer, recording artist and lecturer. He is considered an authority on African and related Cuban and Brazilian drumming, as well as Sufi drumming and movement. In 1980 he began studying Afro-Cuban bata drumming and Lucimi chanting with Lorenzo Penalbel of Havana. His career includes performances with Tito Puente and Cuban folkloric groups of international renown. In 1995 and 1996, his group, Havana Select, was featured in residencies at the Smithsonian Institution. He is co-founder of the Dance Place, a theater in Washington, D.C., which presents both cutting edge and traditional artists from around the world.
Eugenia Shiuk was born in Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg), Russia. She graduated from the Sverdlovsk Special Music School for gifted and talented children and studied at the Ural State Conservatoire until she immigrated to the United States. While studying at the conservatory, she played flute and piccolo in the Sverdlovsk Opera Theatre and served as the director of Woodwinds for the Youth Orchestra in the City Palace for Children, also in Sverdlovsk. Together with the Youth Orchestra, she toured extensively throughout Russia and Bulgaria. Eugenia came to the United States in 1993. Currently living in Maryland, she teaches flute and piano and performs as a flutist and vocalist.