Caption: PRX default Piece image
PRX default Piece image 

La Nona Kanta ("The Grandmother Sings")

From: Julie Subrin
Length: 14:22

Profile of Flory Jagoda, an 83-year old Sephardic folk singer from Sarajevo

Default-piece-image-1 Flory Jagoda grew up in a family of singers. Her childhood, in a mountain village outside of Sarajevo, was filled with songs, sung in Ladino - the language passed down by Jews expelled from Spain during the Inquisition - that told of the loves, lives and rituals of her community. With the horror of World War II, all that changed. She and her parents were the only survivors of the 42-member Altaras family. Since then, Jagoda, winner of a 2002 NEA National Heritage fellowship, has dedicated her professional life to composing, performing and teaching songs that preserve her memories of that lost life. Her songs, sung in Ladino, echo the Spanish and Bosnian melodies and rhythms of her past. This piece combines Jagoda's stories - told unflinchingly, and with humor and warmth - with music from her 4 recorded CDs. "La Nona Kanta" could air anytime, but might be especially appropriate during Hanukkah (Dec. 4-11 this year) as Jagoda is perhaps best known for what has now become something of a Hanukkah standard, her original composition, "Ocho Kandelikas."

To hear the full audio, sign up for a free PRX account or log in.

Piece Description

Flory Jagoda grew up in a family of singers. Her childhood, in a mountain village outside of Sarajevo, was filled with songs, sung in Ladino - the language passed down by Jews expelled from Spain during the Inquisition - that told of the loves, lives and rituals of her community. With the horror of World War II, all that changed. She and her parents were the only survivors of the 42-member Altaras family. Since then, Jagoda, winner of a 2002 NEA National Heritage fellowship, has dedicated her professional life to composing, performing and teaching songs that preserve her memories of that lost life. Her songs, sung in Ladino, echo the Spanish and Bosnian melodies and rhythms of her past. This piece combines Jagoda's stories - told unflinchingly, and with humor and warmth - with music from her 4 recorded CDs. "La Nona Kanta" could air anytime, but might be especially appropriate during Hanukkah (Dec. 4-11 this year) as Jagoda is perhaps best known for what has now become something of a Hanukkah standard, her original composition, "Ocho Kandelikas."

Broadcast History

This piece has not been broadcast. A slightly different version was posted as a podcast for Nextbook.org on January 8, 2007.

Timing and Cues

SUGGESTED HOST INTRO AND OUTRO

HOST INTRO: Hanukkah songs may not be as widely known as Christmas carols, but there are a few golden oldies ... from Rock of Ages to The Dreidel Song. And then there's this less-known, but reasonably popular children's counting song ...

TEASE TAPE: [short clip, Ocho Kandelikas, by Flory Jagoda]

Ocho Kandelikas [OH-cho cahn-day-LEE-kus] is sung in Judeo-Spanish (or Ladino), the language of Sephardic Jews, whose ancestors come from Spain or Portugal. And while it may sound like a traditional tune, passed down over generations, it's only about 25 years old. The woman who wrote it has made it her life's work to bring back to life the music and language she grew up with, and that was virtually extinguished during the Second World War.

This is her story, which she shared [a year ago], from her living room in Alexandria, Virginia.

TAPE IN: My name is Flory Jagoda. I was born in Sarajevo, Bosnia. I'm 82 years old. And I'm known as a Sephardic folk singer.

TAPE OUT: It's like when you go and see a psychiatrist - you let it out!

[SONG: LA PARIDA]

HOST OUTRO: Flory Jagoda [juh-GO-duh] has released four Sephardic folk music CDs, many of them featuring her children and even grandchildren. You can purchase them by visiting flory jagoda dot com.

Flory Jagoda's story was brought to us by Nextbook dot org, an online Jewish culture magazine, and was produced by Julie Subrin.

PRODUCER'S NOTE: This piece was recorded in December, 2006. At the beginning she states that she's 82 years old, but she's now 83.

Musical Works

Title Artist Album Label Year Length
La Kreasyon Flory Jagoda Arvoliko. Altaras Recordings 2005 01:05
Laz Tiyas Flory Jagoda La Nona Kanta. Altaras Recordings 1992 :35
Arvoliko Flory Jagoda Arvoliko. Altaras Recordings 2005 01:05
Yo Hanino, Tu Hanina Flory Jagoda Memories of Sarajevo. Altaras Recordings 1989 :46
Ocho Kandelikas Flory Jagoda Kantikas Di Mi Nana. Altaras Recordings 1992 :24
La Parida Flory Jagoda La Nona Kanta. Altaras Recordings 1992 01:01

Related Website

http://www.nextbook.org