This production features recordings by early 20th century Turkish cantor Haim Effendi. He was first recorded in 1907 by Odeon Records in Turkey who released his first 78 rpm records. This recording vies for the honor of being the ﬁrst commercial Sephardi recording. This and other very early releases signaled the beginning of an era in Sephardi music that for all practical purposes continues to this very day. As Isaac Algazi of Izmir did shortly after him, Haim recorded liturgical pieces for diverse occasions (especially for the High Holidays) and songs in Ladino, amid other recordings in Turkish that are not represented in the present production. His repertoire, a cross-cut of what producers of the recording companies and the recording artist himself considered “recordable”, provides a fair picture of the state of Sephardi music in the large urban centers of the Ottoman Empire ca. 1890-1918.
Click to see updates to the booklet of the CD (January 2010).
A classical Eastern Sephardi rendition of the Sabbath Eve Qiddush (the Sanctification of the Sabbath over a cup of wine) recited by the head of the family before the festive meal. The text includes introductory verses (Genesis 2:1-3) the blessing over the wine and the blessing of the Sabbath. The piece ends with a vocalization and Haim Effendi’s blessing “Shabbat shalom siñores” (“A peaceful Sabbath my friends”).
One of the most widespread and frequently recorded Sephardi songs throughout the 20th century. The version by Haim is the oldest one on record and one of the most complete in existence. Originating in an Andalusian folksong the present version incorporates stanzas from other popular Spanish songs. It is plausible that Haim Effendi played a crucial role in the composition and dissemination of this most famous modern Sephardi song which he may have heard from Spanish artists touring the Ottoman Empire (Seroussi in press 1).