IMA ARTIST Q&A WITH:
Artist Name: Sarah Aroeste
Home Base: Alford, MA
Genres: Children’s, World Beat
Categories Entered: Children’s, World Beat
Title of Work Submitted: Album: Ora de Despertar; Song: “Las Komidas”
Producer: Shai Bachar
Artists Featured: Sarah Aroeste, Shai Bachar, Fima Ephron, Danny Flam, Yael Kraus, Tal Matmor, Shahar Mintz, Tali Rubinstein, Ariel Shafir
Instruments Featured: Piano, bass, tuba, trombone, guitar, flute, ukulele
What’s the story behind your artist name?: It’s me! My family many centuries back came from Spain, but after the Spanish Inquisition in 1492 they left and ended up in Greece. So Aroeste means “of the west” – as they went eastward they were always looking back west from where they came. Cool, right?
Describe your sound: I write in a funky old dialect of Spanish, called Ladino. Most people have never heard of it, but it’s a true hidden treasure. It’s a 15th century dialect of Castilian Spanish, combined with bits and pieces of languages all along the Mediterranean Coast. You might hear a little Portuguese, French, Italian, Arabic, Turkish, Greek, and Hebrew thrown in. It’s a pan-Mediterranean language! It’s so rich and beautiful, and heartbreaking that so few people even know about it. Strangely I grew up with it in my family, and I’ve spent the last 15 years of my musical career working to keep it alive for new audiences. In my music geared towards adults, I’d describe my sound as Ladino Rock – writing experimental, contemporary songs in the old language. In my current project, a children’s album!, I’ve decided to write fun, catchy children’s pop songs in Ladino. In other words, Children’s World Music. I want anyone young or old to enjoy the whimsical songs while hopefully learning a little something along the way. My latest album is called Ora de Despertar, or Time to Wake Up. For kids it’s the fun title track about the rituals of waking up in the morning. But for adults, it has a more significant meaning. It’s a wake-up call to teach our kids our traditions before they get lost. What better way to keep a culture alive than to do it through children…
Who’s sitting in your audience?: Kids, families, people who like funky languages and world cultures, anyone interested in learning about and listening to something new!
What’s your favorite press quote about your music?: “Latin music that breaks barriers and pushes boundaries” – NPR Alt.Latino
The song or songs that changed your life and why: I recorded a traditional song in Ladino and combined it with a grunge electric guitar riff for my first record in 2003 (A la Una). It got picked up by NPR and got me on the map.
Describe the first time you walked onstage: I was snoopy in my Sunday school musical when I was 5 or 6 years old. I loved every minute.
Why did you submit to this year’s Independent Music Awards?: I want everyone to know that children’s music can be interesting and fun for all ages young and old, and even if it’s in a funky different dialect. Good music is good music, no matter the language.
If you win and/or get nominated, how will you use your IMA honor to further your career?: Working in either World Music or Children’s Music by nature narrows the audience reach. And to be doing both—Children’s World Music – even more so! Getting an IMA nomination will help introduce people to this great style of music – there are so many cultures around the globe that our kids should be exposed to. Especially in today’s world, learning about multi-cultures is evermore important. I’ve got another Ladino family album in the works, and IMA recognition would certainly help make it happen. A nomination would give me the chance to continue forging a path in this special genre!
Who is your musical hero & what would you like to learn from them?: Not really related to my own music at all, but Dolly Parton. Such a prolific songwriter. She knows where she comes from and isn’t afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. I think she’s underrated. And in world-beat music, I love a late Israeli singer, Ofra Haza. She was in inspiration to me in how she combined the ethnic music of her family tradition with contemporary sounds. I wouldn’t be doing what I do without her.
Where can fans follow you/purchase your music?: www.saraharoeste.com and at Amazon, CD Baby, Bandcamp, iTunes, you name it!