Sacred Sound: The Yamma Ensemble

BOMBYX Center for Arts & Equity (130 Pine Street, Florence MA)

Art + Entertainment + Music + Music/Instruments

The word Yamma has a lot of meanings. In Hebrew, it means “towards the sea”; in Arabic, it’s the word for mother; in Spanish it means “flame”; and in Buddhism it translates to “virtue”. And here is a group of musicians, collectively from Israel, who share as many ethnicities through their parentage: Turkey, Greece, Iraq, Morocco, Hungry, Latvia, Bukharia, and Brooklyn.

The Yamma Ensemble formed in 2010 and has risen to become one of Israel’s most acclaimed and scholarly performers of this style. The pan-global outcome of this rich and expressly Jewish collaboration is a rare and esoteric crush of diaspora songs and dialects; and a sensation that is both ancient and incredibly modern. The musicians perform with instruments referenced in the Bible and other ancient texts: duduk, ney, kopuz, oud, and shofar. They share rembetiko from Thessaloniki, Ladino love poetry from Turkey, and prayers from the Book of Psalms as they might have been heard by the ancient Jews in Babylon.

Prepare to be uplifted by a delicate, transfixing music that knows no borders and spans thousands of years of emigrations and connections between communities across Europe, the Balkans, and the Middle East.

This concert is part of a new music series called Sacred Sound, presenting audiences at Bombyx with sacred music from around the world. It’s presented in collaboration with our friends at Beit Ahavah Reform Synagogue of Greater Northampton and marks a celebratory close to the Jewish year, awakening love for the cycle which begins anew on Rosh Hashanah.