Judy Frankel

BORN BOS­TON, MASS, AU­GUST 12, 1942. DIED SAN FRAN­CISCO, MARCH 20, 2008, AGED 65.

The Jewish Chronicle - - OBITUARIES -

ASHKE­NAZI-BORN singer Judy Frankel spe­cialised in Ladino songs, gath­er­ing them from the rem­nants of the Sephardi com­mu­nity scat­tered around the world, and es­pe­cially those who had set­tled in the USA.

Born Ju­dith Brad­bury into a fam­ily de­scended from East Euro­pean im­mi­grants, she stud­ied mu­sic at Bos­ton Univer­sity, grad­u­at­ing in 1965. She moved to San Fran­cisco in 1969 with her hus­band, Ken Frankel, from whom she was later di­vorced.

A classical singer, she was in the San Fran­cisco Sym­phony cho­rus for 10 years and in 1980 co-founded the San Fran­cisco Con­sort, an early mu­sic group in which she was a soloist.

But she was also a folk singer and en­ter­tainer from the age of 13, per­form­ing at wed­dings, bar­mitz­vahs and on ra­dio and TV.

She first heard a Ladino song in a folk con­cert in the 1960s and was en­tranced by the plain­tive mu­sic and the He­brew words mixed with me­di­ae­val Castil­ian. She wrote down songs sung by old men in San Fran­cisco, then trav­elled to Europe and Is­rael to find more.

She sang in Spain and Por­tu­gal. In 1995 she sang at a cer­e­mony in Lis­bon to hon­our Por­tuguese diplo­mat Aris­tides de Sousa, who gave visas to thou­sand of Jews flee­ing the Nazis.

She recorded Sephardic Songs of Love and Hope on CD and pub­lished a song book, Sephardic Songs in Judeo-Span­ish. Both she and her mu­sic fea­ture in a doc­u­men­tary film, Trees Cry For Rain: A Sephardic Jour­ney.

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