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SMF Kicks Off on Second Night of Hanukkah

Shemspeed, an underground Jewish music label, has made a mission of exposing new audiences to Jewish music, musicians and the culture surrounding them. The Sephardic Music Festival is Shemspeed's way of concentrating the year's key artists in New York to draw in new interest during the eight nights of Hanukkah.

SMF returns for its fifth year just in time for the second night. The festival opens Dec. 12 at 92Y Tribeca with performances by Smadar Levi, Sarah Aroeste and Galeet Dardashti's "The Naming."

The festival aims to increase interest in and awareness of Sephardic cultures, including Mizrahi, Yemenite, and Ladino traditions. It showcases the latest Sephardic musical talents from all over the world, including Matisyahu, Yair Dalal and Electro Morocco, to name a few of the performers this year's line-up. By bringing these artists forward, the SMF highlights the diversity that exists within the Sephardic branch of Jewish culture and history. SMF also serves as a platform for the preservation and continuation of Sephardic heritage by promoting a variety of music styles, such as Ladino which is nearly extinct as a spoken language.

SMF runs from Dec. 12 to Dec. 19, 2009. This year's schedule includes:

Opening Night with Smadar Levi, Sarah Aroeste and Galeet Dardashti's "The Naming"
Dec. 12 at 9 p.m.
92Y Tribeca, 200 Hudson Street
Tickets $15 in advance, $20 at the door

Ladino Night with Rivka Amado and Elie Massias
Dec. 13 at 7 p.m.
Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue, 3 West 70th Street
Tickets $15 in advance, $18 at the door

Yair Dalal
, Asefa and Michelle Webb
Dec 14 at 7 p.m.
Union Hall, 702 Union Street
Tickets $10


Dec. 14 at 7 p.m.
Webster Hall, 125 East 11th Street
Tickets $35

Sephardic Scholar Series with Ladino-flamenco duo Aviva and Dan, panel with filmmaker Lisa Katzman and ethomusicologist Samuel R. Thomas
Dec. 15 at 6:30 p.m.
Center for Jewish History, 15 West 16th Street
Tickets $15, $12 for American Sephardi Federation members

Pharaoh's Daughter, DeLeon and Levi Mordechai
Dec. 16 at 7 p.m.
Knitting Factory, 361 Metropolitan Avenue
Tickets $12 in advance, $15 at the door

Kosha Dillz
, Y-Love, Eprhyme, DeScribe, Diwon and guests
Dec. 17 at 1 p.m.
Best Buy at Union Square, 52 East 14th Street
Free admission

Electro Morocco
and Diwon
Dec. 17 at 11 p.m.
Joe's Pub, 425 Lafayette Street
Tickets $15 in advance

Closing Night Warehouse Party with Balagan Boogaloo, DJs Diwon and special guests
Dec. 19 at 10:30 p.m.
171 Lombardy Street
Tickets $8, R.S.V.P. $5

To purchase tickets and for more information, head over to:

Sephardic Music Festival
Dec 12 to Dec. 19, 2009
Various Locations

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