The Sephardi Ballad

Past and Present

in European Judaism
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  • 1 University College London
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The ballad has played a significant role not only in the literature of Sephardi Jews but also in establishing the distinctive Sephardi culture of the Ottoman Empire and North Africa. Handed down orally by generation after generation of Sephardi women until the first systemised collecting of ballads took place from the early twentieth century onwards, the Sephardi ballad became part of family and daily life, sung to accompany mundane household tasks; to entertain; to mark out significant stages in life from birth until death; and to celebrate and commemorate the annual religious cycle.