Los Desterrados

Los Desterrados

 London, England, GBR
BandWorldFolk

Los Desterrados take the Medieval music of the Sephardic Jews - with its strong Latin influences and timeless tales of love, faith, passion and daily life - and draw it into the 21st century with lashings of Spanish folk, Balkan soul and London attitude.

Biography

(Short version - 100 words)
Los Desterrados formed in 2000 with the objective of exploring historic Judeo-Spanish music and bringing it alive for modern audiences. The songs, which we sing mainly in Ladino, may be ancient, but they’re as relevant as they were 500 years ago.

Each one of us has our own musical inspirations, and rehearsals are often spent trading quotations ranging from Mozart to Motörhead. The result is a blend of all our influences, plus a healthy dose of London attitude. But we never lose sight of the integrity of the original music and the sentiments that come to us through the ages.

(Long version)
Los Desterrados – ‘The Exiles’ – weave soul, jazz, flamenco and folk influences into the ancient Mediterranean music of the Sephardic Jews. We have created a rootsy, contemporary sound that will appeal to fans of the Gipsy Kings and Ojos de Brujo, as well as Yasmin Levy and Mor Karbasi.

We formed in 2000 as the brainchild of guitarist and oud player Daniel Jonas, with the objective of exploring the largely overlooked Judeo-Spanish musical tradition and bringing ancient Ladino music back to life for modern audiences.

We sing mainly in Ladino, a UNESCO-protected language. It is estimated that under 300,000 Sephardim have any knowledge of the language, and even fewer speak it. So it’s a privilege to be able to transmit it, and it’s always very moving when people come to us after gigs to tell us how our songs have triggered distant memories of grandparents singing to them, or of family get-togethers in foreign lands. On this theme, in August 2008 we took part in a CNN documentary about the preservation of language through storytelling.

The songs themselves may be ancient, but they’re as relevant and powerful as they were 500 years ago, with their tales of love, faith, war and family life. And each one of us has our very own musical inspirations, whether it’s jazz, funk, classical, flamenco, heavy metal or folk. So rehearsals are often spent excitedly trading musical quotations ranging from Mozart to Motörhead, and the resulting music is an energetic blend of all these influences, plus a healthy dose of London attitude. But we never lose sight of the integrity of the original music and the sentiments that come down to us through the ages.

It’s this particular blend that makes us unique. Sephardic music is at last becoming known, emerging from the shadows of its Jewish cousin Klezmer, but there is no other band in the UK, possibly the world, that is doing what we’re doing with it. Most singers and bands play this music in the authentic sound world of the original time, and we also try to live in this sound world. But for us, our authenticity comes from remaining true to the soul of the music; to the heritage of the songs and the people who sang them; and to ourselves as musicians. Just as our 15th-century ancestors breathed in the cultures around them and filtered them into their music, we do just the same from our viewpoint of 21st-century multi-cultural London.

In 2009 we were nominated for Best Group in the Songlines Music Awards, which led to an appearance at Womad. We have also played at the Shambala, Belfast Queen's, Canterbury and Brighton Sacred Music festivals, and we perform regularly as part of the London’s thriving world music scene. London venues have included the Roundhouse, National Theatre, Notting Hill Arts Club, Wilton’s Music Hall, Clore Ballroom, St Ethelburga’s, Rich Mix, Jewish Museum, the Scoop and artsdepot. Outside London, we have played at St George’s, Bristol, York’s Early Music Centre, and Belfast and Exeter synagogues. Abroad, we have performed in Copenhagen and Munich. We have also had airplay on Radio 2 (Bob Harris), Radio 3 (Late Junction), Radio 4 (Something Understood) and have done live sessions on Radio 3 and BBC Radio London.

We have released three albums, selling over 6,000 CDs to date (including over 1,000 in Turkey) through worldwide distribution and at gigs. Our last album, 'Miradores', was produced by Simon Edwards, former member of Brit Award-winning 80s band Fairground Attraction. We’re currently working on our next CD, which we’re planning to record in July, and we have researched some really great new material for this and are very excited about getting this underway.

Lyrics

Yo La Keria

Written By: Trad

Yo la keria
Maz ke mi vida
Maz ke mi madre l’amava yo
Por el destino
Kruel, sangriente
Duvo desharme
Sin su kerer

Una manyana
De frio, d’invierno
Entre miz brasos me se muryo
I dezde entonses
Vo por il mundo
Kun il rikuerdo
D’akel amor

Onde ‘stas korason?
No te syento palpitar
Ke’z tan grande dulor
Ke no puedo yora
Yo keria yorar
Ma no tengo maz yanté
La keriya-a-a tanto-i-se-hue
Para nunka maz turnar

I loved her more than my own life
More than my mother I loved her
It was my destiny. cruel and bloody
That left me without her love
One morning in the cold of winter
In my arms she passed away
And since then I pass through the world
With the memory of that cherished love
Where are you, my heart?
I don’t feel your pounding
The pain is so deep I cannot even cry
I wanted to weep, but tears, I have no more
I loved her so much and she left, never to return again

Quiryateinu

Written By: Trad

Qiyateinu Mele’h Nehora (R. David Buzaglo (Morocco – Israel C20th)

Qiryatei-nu mele-ah nehor-a x2
Mi-zoog-‘o-teh or tif-a-ra-aah x2
Hatan dagul [havush] ‘atarah
zo kalato ya’alat hen nefesh ye-qarah

Et nivli a’ir tokh miqehalot
Ool-kalatkha mor va-ahalot
[Lekha]-hatani rav ma’a lot
Qir-oo hei-dad, hei-dad, qir-oo hei-da-a-ad lazoog hatan ve-khalah
Qiryatei-nu mele-ah nehor-a…

Ya’alat hen tzi-vakh dar ‘aravot
Le-hatanekh hemdat le-va-vot
Tih-yenah oz-nayikh qa-shoovot
Qir-oo hei-dad, hei-dad, qir-oo hei-da-a-ad lazoog hatan ve-khalah

Hayyim-koolam tovim oov-ri-im
‘Im-shool-hanot deshen me-lei-im
oo-vanim-ha-khamim viy-rei-im
Vekhol ro-im, ro-im, ve-khol ro-im
Yomroo-mi-ba-neha shel sa-rah...qiryatei-nu mele-ah nehor-a…

Dos Amantes

Written By: Trad

Dos amantes tengo la mi mama

Dos amantes tengo la-mi mama
Al-kual-ke-me tome yo? (x2)
El uno-es pantalonero
el otror[s] partikular (x2)

Al pantalonero-la-mi mama
enganyandolo esto (x2)
Al partikuler-mi mama
Lo-amo-de korason (x2)

Echa agua-en-tu puerta
Pasarey-i-me kaerey (x2)
Para-ke salgas-tus parientes
Me-darey-a konoser (x2)

Ven bijuka, ven ermoza,
Veras-onde bivo yo (x2)
entre dos muntanyas altas
donde-no-endanyava yo (x2)

Dos amantes tengo la-mi mama
Al-kual-ke-me tome yo? (x2)

Enkalador

Written By: Trad

Kon la kuva i la furcha (x2)
Va pregonando enkalador, salyo una madam (x2)

Enkalador, me kyeres enkalarme? (x2)
Antes ke venga el balabay
I nos top-e en este hal (x2)

Kero ke mes enkales la kusina (x2)
La kusina i la oda
Osman aga (x2)

Kero ke tu me le des dos manos (x2)
Por adelante i por atrais
Yo te la vo enkalar
Por adelante i por atrais
Osman aga

Vamonos detras de la kusina (x2)
Por adelante i por atrais
Yo tela vo enkalar
Por adelante i por atrais
Osman aga

La furcha komo la tyenes godra (x2)
Antes ke venga el balabay
I nos top-e en este hal (x2)

With the bucket and a brush comes the whitewasher hawking. A lady comes out of the door: “Whitewasher, won’t you come and whitewash, now before the man of the house comes back and finds us in this mess? I want you to whitewash the kitchen, the kitchen and the sitting room, Osman aga. I want two coats of whitewash…”
“In front and in back I’ll whitewash you!”
“In front and in back, Osman aga”
“Let’s go into the kitchen. In front and in back I’ll whitewash you”.
“My, how thick your brush is… Now, before the man of the house comes back and finds us in this mess!”

Discography

Los Desterrados 'Por Dos Levanim’ (2001)
Los Desterrados 'Tu' (2005)
Los Desterrados 'Miradores' (2008)
'I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea' - arrangement of Elvis Costello song on London's Calling album (2012)
Los Desterrados 'Dos Amantes' (2013)

Radio play of 'I Don't Want to Go to Chelsea' on Gideon Coe's Radio 6 show.
BBC Radio 3 Live Session on Lopa Kothari's 'World on 3'
BBC Radio London Live Session on DJ Ritu's 'A World in London'

Set List

Having a repertoire that extends to more than four hours without playing the same song twice means that sets can be adapted according to length and style required. A typical set is two halves of 45mins but a straight through set of 1hr 15 is also good.

A typical set list would be:

Set 1: 45 mins

1. Ben Seni Severim
2. Esta Noche de Purim
3. Enkalador
4. Yodoo Shimcha
5. Axerico
6. Estreyas
7. Aguila Guila
8. Ija Mia
9. Yo La Keria

Set 2: 45mins

1. Una Ora
2. Quiriyateinu
3. Eliahu
4. Secretos
5. Ni Pudra
6. Cavritico
7. Ocho
8. Mi Suegra
9. Dos Amantes