Wednesday, December 28, 2005

"Kol Isha" night at Makor--a Sefardi & Mizrachi music feast

Sarah Aroeste, Basya Schechter and her "Pharoah's Daughter" band, and Smadar played at Makor tonight as part of the New York Sephardic Music Festival. We ended up in the "cheap seats"--the "nightclub" section was wall-to-wall standing room only, so we ordered dinner in the restaurant in the back of the same floor, with a limited view of the stage and variable ability to hear the music, and made the best of it. And still ended up dancing half the evening away.

The location being Makor, the crowd was mostly in their 20s and 30s, but there were a few families and folks over 40 such as ourselves. There were a number of gentlemen in kippot/yarmulkes/skullcaps in the audience despite the fact that all the lead singers were women and that many in the Orthodox community believe that halachah (Jewish law) prohibits a man from listening to a woman sing for fear that a woman's voice ("kol isha") will lead him to sexual thoughts. Even a couple of Chassidim showed up, payos (sidelocks) and all.

The musicians hung around after their own sets to listen to one another's music, all of which was wonderful, including some traditional and modern Sefardi Chanukah songs and some Chanukah songs that I think may have been composed especially for the occasion. Sarah Aroeste spent half of the second and third sets in the back of the club area dancing the night away. A grand old time was had by all.



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