Yasmin Levy

Yasmin Levy
Cadogan Hall, London

Robin Denselow
guardian.co.uk,
Sunday 28 February 2010 22.20 GMT

Yasmin Levy has the makings of a world music superstar, but can’t
quite deliver. There is passion and originality in the music of this
young Israeli singer and she has a devoted following, striking looks
and a sense of humour. But this show didn’t match her best recordings,
because she was trying too hard to sound emotional and theatrical.
Only on the rare occasions when she relaxed did she do justice to the
material.

She is best known for reviving Ladino songs (the music of Jews
expelled from Spain in the late 15th century and dispersed around the
Mediterranean), but there’s also a strong flamenco influence in her
work; she came on looking like a flamenco diva, her black hair matched
by a dramatic all-black outfit. Her band matched two acoustic guitars
against piano, double bass, Latin-American cajon box percussion and
wind instruments ranging from clarinet and Arabic-sounding flute to
the wailing Armenian zurna. She started with an old Ladino song, Mi
Korason, and then the new flamenco-inspired Nos Llego el Final, both
treated in an overdeclamatory style in which almost every phrase was
given a sudden burst of power, creating an effect that was jerky
rather than passionate.

So she continued, through a set that included a fine self-written
weepie, Una Noche Mas, a less successful treatment of Leonard Cohen’s
Hallelujah, and an emotional sequence in which she sang to a recording
by her father, a Ladino expert with a fine, warm voice who died when
she was one. There were witty introductions to her increasingly bleak
and tragic songs, and she sounded at her best and most relaxed with
the bleakest story of all, about a grave-digger forced to bury his own
daughter.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress

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Emil Lazarian

“I should like to see any power of the world destroy this race, this small tribe of unimportant people, whose wars have all been fought and lost, whose structures have crumbled, literature is unread, music is unheard, and prayers are no more answered. Go ahead, destroy Armenia . See if you can do it. Send them into the desert without bread or water. Burn their homes and churches. Then see if they will not laugh, sing and pray again. For when two of them meet anywhere in the world, see if they will not create a New Armenia.” - WS