This week we welcome a guest post from Sarah Aroeste, a wonderful musician who writes and sings in the Ladino language. She’s teaching us a beautiful little song about the family from her children’s album – Ora De Despertar. If you speak Spanish, many of the words and sounds will be very familiar. If you don’t speak Spanish or Ladino, you’ll still love learning, singing and sharing the song “My Famiya” (My Family).
My Ladino Family By Sarah Aroeste
Being a songwriter in an endangered language can present many challenges. Not least of which is that many people have never even heard of said language, Ladino, let alone children! Also known as Judeo-Spanish, Ladino is a hidden gem of world culture. Based in 15th century Castilian Spanish, Ladino is the language that developed out of the Jewish expulsion from Spain in 1492. When Jews, among others, were kicked out of Spain for not practicing Catholicism, they took the Spanish they had been speaking and combined it with bits and pieces of languages taken from the countries where they ended up settling, primarily across the Mediterranean and North Africa. With Spanish at its core, Ladino includes words in Portuguese, French, Italian, Arabic, Greek, Turkish, Hebrew and more. It is truly a pan-Mediterranean language, one that was spoken for hundreds of years by thousands of people. And it still exists today! It was the first language of my grandfather, and now I am doing all I can to ensure that it survives for my children, too.
In that spirit, I wanted to create materials for families to make learning Ladino as easy and fun as possible! The Ora de Despertar (Time to Wake Up!) project includes all-original Ladino songs with themes ranging from morning rituals, mealtimes, parts of the body, animals on a farm and much more. There’s also an animated cartoon series, songbook, and teaching guide! I want to make sure that anyone who is interested in learning about this important part of world culture will have the resources to do so—in a catchy, engaging way!
So here’s a song that is easy and fun for all to learn—My Famiya (My Family!). I wanted to teach some basic words about some family members (son, daughter, mother, father), as well as some basic pronouns (me, you, we). I also wanted to teach people how to say “I love you” in Ladino! Te kero bien. Try it! If you can say that, then you’ve pretty much got the song covered.
The song is very repeatable, and I suggest pointing to yourself for the “Yo” verse, pointing to a neighbor for the “Tu” verse, and then dancing all together for the “Mozotros” verse. Most importantly, you should just have fun with whoever you’re singing it with!
My Famiya – Lyrics:
Te kero bien, sos mi kerido, sos mi kerido ijiko
(I love you, you are my dear one, you are my dear son)
Te kero bien, sos mi kerida, sos mi kerida ijika
(I love you, you are my dear one, you are my dear daughter)
Te kero bien, sos mi kerido, sos mi kerida kriatura
(I love you, you are my dear one, you are my dear child)
Te kero bien, sos mi kerida, sos mi kerida mama
(I love you, you are my dear one, you are my dear mother)
Te kero bien, sos mi kerido, sos mi kerido papa
(I love you, you are my dear one, you are my dear father)
Vos kero bien, sosh mis keridos, sosh mi kerida famiya
(I love you, you are my dear one, you are my dear family)
Yo yo yo…Tu tu tu…Mozotros mozotros mozotros…
(Me, me, me…You, you, you…We, we, we…)
For more songs and information on Sarah, check out her website at: www.saraharoeste.com