The Lbrary of Congress!

What a thrilling experience it was to present a program of the Ladino music to a standing-room-only audience at the Library of Congress! I saw all walks of life in the hall, and so many new people became exposed to the stories and history of Ladino. This concert will definitely go in my memory bank as one of my favorites!


Remembering the Jews of Greece

One week from today I launch a brand new project that i've been working on for months. I'm so used to being engaged by programmers of Jewish venues and organizations, that it was especially exciting to be approached by the Greek Chamber Music Group to put together a program honoring Jews of Greece. How refreshing! The collaboration, nearly a year in the works, is culminating in a tour of East Coast academic institutions and cultural venues. I hope this is the start of a much longer relationship with the GCMP, and fruitful conversations with audiences about the importance of keeping these little known stories of loss during WWII alive... If you are in New Haven, CT, Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC or Philadelphia, PA, I hope you'll come out to see and hear this beautiful new program!

A Latina Jewish Princess!!!

Did you hear the news? Disney is introducing a Latina Jewish princess in its series, "Elena of Avalor." We don't know if the character, voiced by The Sopranos' Jamie-Lynn Sigler, will be Sephardic, but even so, this is a huge step for wider Jewish representation in mainstream media. As a proud Jewish mother of two daughters, I am thrilled that they will be able to look up to a character that they can relate to more closely. Recently, I weighed in on what this news means to me, along with others of Latinx Jewish heritage. Click below to find out more!

Keeping the Line Going

This week I had the joy of meeting the newest member of the Aresty/Aroeste clan!! Thinking about our family line always inspires me to write new music. I'm cooking something up. Stay tuned!


I don't have any tattoos, but if I were to get one, an image of my favorite place, Tanglewood, would be at the top of my wish list! I've been enjoying a temporary one as a reminder of where I got my musical start (in the BUTI Young Vocal Artist Program in the summer of 1993!!) and how important it is to continue to reach back to one's roots for inspiration. I love giving props to the places and people who got me where I am today!

Staying Local

For the first time in 18 years (yes that's how long I've been doing this!!) I declined several good gigs this summer because I just wanted to spend the summer with my family.  I love love performing, but I just needed a little break to enjoy my two young daughters for a couple of months. They'll only be ages 3 and 5 years  once! And I'm sure this small breather from touring will help me be a better mom and musician moving forward...

Going Back in Time

I've just returned from a week in Iberia (Spain, Gibraltar, Portugal) performing and meeting with local Sephardic communities. But it was walking down the streets of my ancestors that impacted me the most. I could feel their presence along the cobble stoned streets, the medieval arches that crowned the Jewish neighborhoods, and the hidden markers on doorposts that signified a secret Jewish family residing therein. Today, there are signs along roads to show where Jewish life once thrived-- "Sefarad," we see you! We remember you.

The Gang's Back Together!

I love playing with these musical cousins (myself, Anthony Russell, Dmitri Gaskin and Rob Sanzone) in our "Yiddish Meets Ladino" program. With three shows behind us in three different states (this one today was in Milwaukee, WI), we are officially taking it on the road. Stay tuned for a new project website coming soon!


Practice, Practice, Practice

You know how the saying goes: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice!!What a thrill it was to see my name in a Carnegie Hall brochure, and to perform my "Yiddish Meets Ladino" show for its Festival of Migrations!!


A New View

I travel so much for work, and I rarely get to bring my kids along. I finally had a chance to take a proper vacation this month, and I loved traveling with my girls to experience new parts of the globe. It is so eye-opening to take a break every once in a while, and to see the world through my children's eyes!

Learning New Tricks

A new year, new resolutions. It has been 30 years since I last read Torah, and so this month I am committing myself to re-learn how to do so! I'm starting over with the basics...and a new part of my musical brain. What a joy for the soul!

A Festival and Year of Lights

Now that Hanukkah, the festival of lights, is officially over, I can look back on this past year and see how bright it truly was. With family, health, friends, music and creativity, 2018 will be remembered as a beautiful year. Thanks for being a part of it!

Exposing Our Kids

In the same way I ask my fans to expose their kids to Sephardic culture and Ladino music, it's so important to teach our kids about all different cultures! Here I am practicing what I preach: bringing my two daughters to a Diwali event to learn about the Indian New Year. Light overcoming darkness is a lesson we can all appreciate! Happy Diwali!


As performers, we still need to go on stage even when our hearts are broken. Today saw the terrible violence committed towards eleven innocent souls in Pittsburgh- for the simple reason that they were proud Jews. I am a proud Jew, and I am so thankful I could share the stage last night with my beautiful, talented Jewish soul-sister, Joanie Leeds. We participated in a gathering of family musicians for a Hootenanny- it was a celebration of family love and partnership in all its greatest strength and diversity.

My soul needed it.


Music connects people around the world! I'm so proud of my recent collaboration with the Jewish Community of Mumbai. Our song for Simchat Torah adds a global perspective for this holiday season! Click below to read and listen to more!

Buen Shabat Party

These are the smiles when you bring together two dozen strangers (but now friends!) to shoot a merengue Shabbat video. Indeed! Can't wait to share the finished product when it's ready. More about the Buen Shabat Project coming soon!

Going Back to My Roots

What an exhilarating experience it has been leading a Jewish Heritage Tour to Macedonia this past week. It truly is a miracle that, after WWII when nearly the entire Jewish population of Macedonia was killed, I have been here with a group of more than 20 descendants to celebrate Jewish culture here. We are still here.

And how proud I have been to represent my family in the birthplace of my own grandfather.

Being here reminds me of why I do what I do!

New Collaboration

I'm so excited to announce a new collaboration!

Yiddish Meets Ladino w/ Sarah Aroeste & Anthony Russell

In a program originally commissioned for the Yidstock Festival, I have joined forces with Yiddish vocalist Anthony Mordechai Tzvi Russell in a new project that explore scommon themes and approaches in Ladino and Yiddish music. Accompanied by pianist/accordionist Dmitri Gaskin (of Tsvey Brider) and guitarist Rob Sanzone, we musically reconcile these long-lost cousins of Jewish music in an interactive and genre-bending performance. We look forward to bringing this new project to a city near you soon!


Some people ask me about the sources for my inspiration to write songs and books. This! Just discovering my grandfather's boyhood fez what he wore in the Ottoman Empire! Over 100 years old!


I'm always amazed that there is an entire street festival for Greek Jews in New York City each year. Such a joy to participate! Nothing better than sharing the #Ladino love.#sephardicproud


TENT: Children's Literature

What a gift it was to participate in TENT: week-long writer's retreat at the Yiddish Book Center (and with the support of PJ Library) for children's book authors and illustrators. What an incredible community to be a part of-- big things in the works for the coming year! Stay tuned... 

Sealed the Deal!

I'm thrilled to announce that I've got a new book in the works! I just signed the deal for a children's board book coming 2020.

Stay tuned! #buenshabat

8 Days Sephardic

Getting ready for Passover? Wishing you were Sephardic right about now? Here's your chance.

My latest video, 8 Days Sephardic, for your Pesach enjoyment! 

Come with me to Macedonia!

Just 2 weeks left to register to join me on a trip of a lifetime to Macedonia! I'll be leading a trip this summer from August 19-26, and I want YOU to be my VIP guest. All details, including itinerary, resources and registration information can be found here. DEADLINE to register is MARCH 16th. Join me!

El Dia de Purim


Purim is upon us! It's one of the most joyous holidays, so here's my newest song to help celebrate the occasion!

Thank You For The Trees

Today marks the eve of New Year of the Trees, Tu B'Shvat! I was inspired to write the following folk-roots style song by a Ladino proverb I've always loved: The trees marry and the first flowers start to appear. It's the second track off my bilingual holiday album, Together/Endjuntos (2017). I hope you enjoy my newest tune!

How to Learn Ladino

I am so happy to present this article I curated on resources to learn Ladino! It was published by, and we hope many people will find it helpful!


Bimuelo Hello!!!

Hanukkah is almost here!! And with that, I want to introduce the world to the Bimuelo, the most delicious Sephardic fried delight! News flash: Hanukkah isn't just about latkes and donuts. Enjoy my new song, Bimuelo, off my new bilingual holiday album (Together/Endjuntos), featuring rap star, Kosha Dillz!

Looking Ahead

I'm always looking ahead towards my next project! Already starting to work on it:

Voting Time!

Today marks the start of GRAMMY voting, and my new bilingual holiday album, Together/Endjuntos, is on the general ballot. If you are a Recording Academy voter, or know someone who is, please listen to my album and consider it in the category for Best World Music Album. Thank you!


Safe & Sheltered

I know how fortunate I am to have a roof over my head when so many do not. As the celebration of Sukkot begins this week, I hope those in need find peace and shelter soon. Here is my song off my new bilingual holiday album wishing safety and comfort under a sukkah roof or wherever it may be:

Dulse i Alegre

Wishing all a happy new year, blessed with sweetness and joy. Anyada buena!

Living History

This week I had the opportunity to visit for the first time Bitola, Macedonia, the birthplace of my Ladino-speaking grandfather. After hearing so many stories, I could not have imagined how emotional it would be to see it first-hand. I stood in the doorway of my family's house from before WWII, I laid stones on the graves of distant relatives in the historic cemetery, I performed for the beautiful people of Bitola, and I felt overwhelming love from the city for my family's history. I can't wait to return.


New Baby is Here!

Hannukah came early this year! My new baby is here! I'm so thrilled with my new album- a bilingual holiday album- and I hope you will be too. Official release date is 9/9/17!!!

New Children's Book Out Today!

I am so thrilled to announce the release of my illustrated children's book, Ora de Despertar (Time to Wake Up!).

The book is an all-original bilingual story in Ladino and English that highlights rituals of the morning and what to be thankful for upon waking up. With the backdrop of the Hebrew Modeh Ani prayer, the book (illustrated by artist Miriam Ross) offers a way for families to get a fresh look at Sephardic culture and the relevance of Ladino today. Interweaving the languages throughout bright colored pages and scenes, the book shows a joyous picture of contemporary Jewish diversity. Meant for children ages 0-5.

We hope you enjoy!!

Available now


Tadlikos! Biscochos!

Today I had the chance to bake my family's special Sephardic cookie recipe with my eldest daughter! We call them tadlikos, but some may know them as biscochos. My daughter had never had them before, so what a treat it was to make them with her by my side. And I filmed the instructions live!


And the finished product! Yummm....

To watch the full cooking video, click here!

Recording recording!

In the studio doing my thing!!! Can't wait to share my new bilingual holiday album with you soon!

To the Finish Line!

Friends! If you haven't heard, I’m recording a bilingual (Ladino/English) holiday album – the very first of its kind!! In a nail-biting race to the finish, I was able to raise the first half of the money needed to get into the studio to start the recording. Thank you to everyone who pitched in!

Now I have one more month to raise the rest.

Here are the top 5 reasons to get on board before June 25th:

1) Bruce Springsteen’s former publicist is behind the project. Not a joke.
2) Any music pre-orders or donations are TAX-DEDUCTIBLE. You get a tax break by participating!
3) You believe that Ladino should stay alive. (Doesn't everyone?)
4) You think I rock!
5) I’m getting closer and closer to my target goal to be able to release the album.

If you’ve been thinking about participating, now’s the moment to make it happen.

Ladino needs you. I need you!

Full project info and to participate now:

Munchas grasyas (that's thank you, in Ladino)!!

A Ladino Legend!

Today I got to meet my #Ladino hero. She is the one who has inspired me most in my preservation work- an incredible voice, outlook and spirit. Flory Jagoda you are everything! What an honor to sing with her in the streets and to bask in her light. Ladino is joy! May it live for many generations to come.

And we're off!

Today marks the launch of my newest project! Together/Endjuntos is an all-original BILINGUAL (Ladino/English) album! And a holiday one at that! I'm so excited to share it with you. Please check out the video and consider being a part of it. Complete info on the project is found here:

(Added bonus: you'll get a tax break while helping to keep #Ladino alive. Watch to find out more!)





Big things coming...


Check it! The beautiful new artwork for my newest project. Details coming soon!!!!


I'm back at it! I just returned to the studio to start laying out the initial tracks of my new project-- out early Fall 2017. I can't wait to share the details with you soon! It's going to be an exciting new(ish) direction for me...stay tuned!

Never Forget

I just had such a special opportunity to perform at the Holocaust Memorial Center in Detroit, MI, an incredible institution. The highlight for me was singing for the David family, whose matriarch is a survivor from my family's hometown of Salonika. We will never forget.


The Kids are our Future

What a delight it was to be an Artist-in-Residence for the Atlanta Jewish Music Festival this month and to be able to work with so many different communities! I had the chance to participate in an International Night at famed Eddie's Attic, celebrate Shabbat and Purim with beautiful Congregation Or Hadash, and share family Purim fun at the Marcus JCC. But surely one of the highlights was working with kids at the Epstein School and with Be'chol Lashon! It is always such a joy for me to bring Ladino music and culture to school kids, and to see them dancing with glee when they learn how exciting this part of Jewish culture is!


Inspiration Infusion

What a humbling and inspiring experience it was to be with over 300 song-leaders from across North America sharing music and prayer over President's Weekend in St. Louis, MO. I had the pleasure of attending Songleader Bootcamp, which was an unforgettable few days of singing with friends and colleagues, and a true reminder of how song can bring us all together.

New year, new project...

I'm back in the studio so revved up about my new recording project! It's going to be a slightly new direction for me (again!), and I can't wait to share more about it with you soon...stay tuned...

Diversity Helps Repair the World

As an artist, I know I have a responsibility to use my platform for positive action in the world. I'm very proud to lend my Sephardic voice in this terrific free resource guide on how to discuss race and diversity in the Jewish community. Thanks to Be'chol Lashon and Repair the World for putting this out in the world...

Ladino Rocks Limmud UK

An amazing week I just had performing and sharing Ladino music and culture with Limmud UK in Birmingham!! From lighting communal hanukah candles and singing Sephardic songs of redemption with Sudanese refugee Mutasim Ali, to teaching hundreds of kids and families new Ladino songs, giving Ladino music workshops to such eager listeners, meeting with representatives of Reconectar and learning about efforts to reach out to thousands of lost Sephardic Jews from hundreds years past to present, singing at the gala with the fab Limmud UK House Band and amazing violinist Lior Kaminetsky, and sharing music with Shir and so many other terrific musicians from across the globe. Thank you to all my Limmud friends old and new for sharing in such an inspiring experience with me!


Ladino's Children

There's really nothing like being mobbed by the most eager, energetic kids after a rockin' Ladino kids concert! Thank you for such amazing hospitality, Milwaukee! Truly lifted my soul...

GRAMMY Ballot!!

Wow. Is this the first time that a Ladino record has ever been on the GRAMMY ballot for Best Children's album? I think so!! What an incredible joy it's been to see Ora de Despertar, my labor of love, make it all the way to the GRAMMY ballot. Wow wow wow.

Parents' Choice Award Winner!

What an honor it is to be recognized by the renowned Parents' Choice Foundation, and to win one of their coveted awards!  My recent children's album, Ora de Despertar, is now a Parents’ Choice Recommended Award Winner!!

I'm a Ladino DJ!

Check me out in my DJing debut!

What fun I had Guest DJing this program on kids music in languages across the globe! I spun music in Yup'ik, Swahili, of course Ladino, and much more. If you thought listening to kids music in Ladino was cool, want to hear a children's song in Quechua? In Amharic? Come listen!



A Ladino Laugh Break

The world seems to be going crazy sometimes. Join me in taking a 10-second time-out giggle (care of my daughter)!

Sometimes we just need to stop and laugh.

10 La Riza from Sarah Aroeste on Vimeo.

Ladino Diplomacy

I had the pleasure of dining with the Ambassador of Spain to the United States, Gil-Casares, in his home this evening (that's me 3rd from the left)! We discussed relations with the Jewish community and the recent law allowing ‪Sephardic‬ Jews to acquire ‪Spanish‬ citizenship. A lovely dinner and conversation!

Greek Jews Unite!

What a day! Only in a city like New York can you have an entire block festival celebrating Greek Jewish culture. Over 6000 people came through! I was proud to have my own booth to sign CD's and give quick Ladino lessons to anyone who stopped by...opa!


I'm famous!


What a treat to get this note from a young fan - notice the line of the famous person she knows! Truly makes my work all worth it...


I had such a blast attending the Kindiecomm conference in Philly this weekend. Kids independent music rocks! I met such great musicians and people, including one of my heroes, Bob Dorough of School House Rock! #celebcrush

My Biggest Fans


Well the new children's CD is released!! I'm so grateful to all my fans and supporters who have shown such excitement about this project. Of course my biggest fans are the ones who inspired the album. Mom's #1 fans showing off their pride at the CD release!


Ladino & Klezmer - a match made in Germany!

What an amazing time we just had performing for the finale of the Internationales Klezmer Festival of Fürth! We felt so honored to bring our Ladino music and stories to this wonderful international festival in Germany.


And for those of you who read German, click below to read a great write-up of our performance!

Family treasure

First ‪#‎selfie‬ for my 98 year old cousin - my last remaining Ladino-speaking relative. Always such a gift to visit with her. ‪#‎ladinorocks‬ ‪#‎sephardic‬ ‪#‎family‬

My newest baby!

Nothing like seeing your hard work come to fruition. My new ‪#album‬ is here!! Official release isn't 'til March, but pre-order info will be available soon. ‪#‎ladinorocks‬ ‪#‎childrensalbum‬ #2016 ‪#‎timetowakeup‬

Newest Single!

We're thrilled to be releasing our newest single today, Las Komidas, off our forthcoming all-original Ladino children's album (out early 2016). It can be found via our webstore., iTunes, CD Baby and most other online music sites.

Click below to watch the video. ENJOY!!




New Band Member!

I'm thrilled to announce the newest member of my band. She already knows how to make her audience melt.

Birthing an Album- FREE giveaway!

As all musicians know, putting out a new album is like having a baby. In honor of both those things happening in my life right now I’m having a giveaway contest! Know anyone who loves Ladino, and is expecting? Follow us on our Instagram page, and write in the comments of this post why you think Ladino rocks. One lucky chika will win this signature Ladino Rocks maternity tee. Winner announced Nov 1st!

In the studio


Yes that's my 8-month pregnant belly recording my new album! We're almost done! Can't wait to share more info soon...

Why Ladino Matters

It was such an honor presenting an ELI Talk (think TED talk with a Jewish slant) on "Sephardic Culture is Jewish Culture: Why Ladino Matters."  Filmed in June at the PBS studio in Chicago, you can see the full talk below!

Back to Summer Camp!

I had a great week being the Artist-in-Residence at Camp Eisner in the Berkshires! I loved teaching and working with the awesome campers!

Spanish Love!

We were honored to perform for the International Sephardic Music Festival in Cordoba, Spain this June! I traveled with two other musicians from the US and we worked with 5 musicians from Granada. An amazing week!

Photo Shoot Fun

Having fun on the set of the photo shoot for my newest project! Stay tuned for more info coming soon! #LadinoRocks

Adding Another Member to the Band!


I was laying low this month, but now I can tell you why! I'm looking forward to adding a new member to the band this coming fall! One day I hope she'll join her sister and they'll perform with me on stage...


A new project has to start somewhere. #‎livingroomsession‬ ‪‪#‎newalbumcomingsoon‬ ‪

Musical Inspiration in the Heart of Winter

Making music sure is fun, but making a snowman with my daughter in the dead of winter is the best inspiration of all.

New Year, New Uke!

A new year, a new uke! Lots of new music coming your way in 2015...anyada buena!

Some Big Texan Love

A big thank you to Congregation B'nai Zion and the Anusim Center in El Paso, TX for such a warm welcome. They even put me on the side of a building (a first for me)! We loved performing in the Lonestar state last night and we felt the El Paso love!

Inquiring Minds

One of my favorite parts of my job is working with the next generation. Here's a shout out to the great kids at Scarsdale High in Scarsdale, NY. I loved hanging with the Spanish students this week and spending a day teaching them Ladino!

Dreams of Home

I wrote a blog piece for and Bechol Lashon on my family's home in Macedonia and what "home" means to me today. I hope you enjoy! I invite you to click the picture below to read:


Winners of the Sephardic Music Prize!

We just wrapped up an amazing tour in Amsterdam performing for the International Jewish Music Festival. A gathering of groups from across the globe, the IJMF was a 3-day juried festival.

We were honored to have made it all the way finals (one of 6 acts), and we are even happier to report that we walked away with the Sephardic Music Prize! We were thrilled to be recognized for our work, and we look forward to planning a tour in Spain (starting in Cordoba) next June as part of our prize!

Feeling Creative

Opening up a new session for a brand new project! Can't wait to share! Stay tuned...


We are thrilled to announce that we've been selected to represent the USA in the International Jewish Music Festival taking place in Amsterdam this September.  We will be one of 24 Jewish music groups from around the globe - wish us luck! Follow us on FB and Twitter if you want to track our progress!


Chika Morena Video Shoot!

Day 1 of my newest video shoot, for my song Chika Morena. Thanks Bancs Media for making my younger self look so great! Video coming soon...

Meeting of the Minds

I had the wonderful opportunity this weekend to introduce my daughter to her last remaining Ladino-speaking relative. It was an incredible meeting of the minds. There really is no better legacy to keep a tradition alive than to pass it along to the little ones...

A Mother's Song

Now that I'm a new mother, I've been thinking a lot about how I want to transmit my beautiful Ladino tradition to my daughter. I just wrote a short piece about this that I'm very proud of for and Bechol Lashon. I invite you to read and listen here.

Ladino in Yiddish?

Any Yiddish speakers out there? This Ladino gal made it into The Forverts! Click below to read a review - in Yiddish!- of my recent show as part of  the Endangered Language Alliance Unheard Of music series:

Pesach Alegre - Mixtape!

Wishing everyone a Pesach Alegre, or a happy Passover! To help you prepare for the holiday, enjoy this mixtape of songs inspired by the seder, curated by some of your favorite Jewish musicians. I was honored to participate in the project from WhobyAudio. Just click the image below to take a listen!

Ladino in the Bluegrass!

We had a great time in bluegrass country performing at the University of Kentucky this month! We loved Lexington and all the Kentucky hospitality. I even got to sit and chat with the UK President about our shared Greek Jewish roots. Who knew?!


LA loves Ladino!

We had such a fun time helping to bring the inaugural Sephardic Music Festival to LA! After 9 years in NYC, we helped to kick it off in California, along with Yemen Blues and Asaf Avidan. From me and the band, thanks to everyone who came out to our sold-out show!

Back to work!

After taking a few months off to spend time with my baby, I'm now back at work rockin' it up Ladino-style.  A great way to be welcomed in NYC for my first show back!

2014 Buena!

Here's wishing everyone an "anyada buena," a very happy new year! May it be filled with lots of new inspiration! Here are some of mine in the new year: 

My songwriting muse:

View from my new studio:

Int'l Day of Ladino!

Today marks the Inaugural International Day of Ladino! Yes, there really is a day for it.


To celebrate the day, I released a brand-new video today! "Las Estreyas"--in the stars will be our destiny...


Ladino Pregnant Pop

I recently was asked to write a post for a great new joint blog, "Jewish &", for MyJewishLearning and Be'chol Lashon (In Every Tongue). The result is here!  My take on how the words "Ladino," "Pregnant" and "Pop" all fit naturally together. 

The newest Ladino rockstar!

It is with great joy that I'm announcing the newest addition to my band! A beautiful baby girl born earlier this month-- the apple of her mother's eye. She's already learning to rock out Ladino style!

Happy Fall/New Year!

I've been taking some time to soak in the Fall holiday season and get ready for a new chapter in my life.

Am feeling grateful and blessed and want to wish all who observe a Happy New Year full of possibilities...

Happy Fall to everyone else!

Belly-Bump Bash!

Thanks to everyone who came out to check out my August 19th bash in NYC at Drom!!  What a pre-baby send-off it was! I could feel the love and energy from the packed house. Can't wait to get back to performing for you all in 2014!



Fun in the Sun!

I just returned from a trip to LA to shoot some new music videos!  What an experience. I had a great team working with me, and I can't wait to share the videos when they're ready.  In the meantime, here's a sneak peak of what I was up to! This is what a Ladino rockstar looks like at 6 months pregnant...



A new band member!

I'm extremely excited to announce that there will be a new "ijiko" or "ijika" joining the band in a few months!

Gotta start them early...


Tumblr: Inside Gracia

Since my latest album release last year, I've been asked many times about the meaning behind some of the songs (beyond just the translations). Well now i've got answers for anyone who's looking to learn more about my inspirations for the lyrics and arrangements!

I wrote a Tumblr to give the inside scoop on Gracia.  Read, share, and enjoy!


Pick us up in Europe!

We're very excited to announce that we've been picked up by a European distributor, one of the best in World Music, Xango Music. Our CD's are now available throughout Europe, and in stores in the Benelux region.

Sephardic Seattle

I just got back from an amazing trip to Seattle, Washington, where the community gave me such a warm welcome. Not only did I get to share my music and family stories to a packed house, but I also got to guest teach a class at the University of Washington!



And I love this article** below that was written about my appearance:

Click HERE to read the full review

Thanks Seattle for being such a great audience!

**This piece was originally published on, the web site of the University of Washington's Stroum Jewish Studies Program, and is reposted here with permission

Anyada Buena!

Keeping it short and sweet:  a big hearty "Anyada Buena" (a Ladino happy new year) to all my friends and fans!

May 2013 rock for everyone.

Top 5 Honors

We're so flattered that The Forward named our most recent album, Gracia, in the Top 5 albums of 2012!  What an honor. 

Read here to see! 

Sizzling Sephardic Sampler

Very excited to have two selections featured on this new great Sephardic Music Sampler (Tracks 8 and 14), alongside some of my favorite artists.  I won't be around to participate in the festival this year in NY, so I'm proud to be represented here! 

Want to own a copy? You can order/download it here:


And thanks to the Jewniverse blog for singling out our La Comida La Manana track as their favorite track on the whole CD!

Win a free signed CD for the holidays!

For the next 2 weeks-- until Dec 5th-- we're giving away a free signed copy of our newest CD, Gracia!

Just in time for the holidays.

To enter, simply follow us on Twitter, and tweet the following message:

Follow @saraharoeste and RT this for a chance to win a Free Ladino CD for the Holidays! #FreeSwag #LadinoRocks

Tweet this @SarahAroeste and you'll be automatically entered to win!


UPDATE (12/6/12): Guy Wilson is the lucky winner. Congratulations!

Music Monsters!

We're in a video game!

One of our songs, Scalerica de Oro, is featured in the Music Monsters video game, available now - FOR FREE-- through the iTunes Store.  As far as we know, it's the first video game to feature Ladino music! Check it out and try your hand at it now:

Available for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.1 or later. Coming to Android soon.

Love us some Top-10 lists!

We're flattered that SoundRoots just named Gracia one of the Top 10 global music CD's this fall!  We join the ranks of some of our favorites, Rita and Fanga-- check it out:

SoundRoots / Spin The Globe
Top 10 World Music Albums – October  2012

1. World Kora Trio: Korazon
2. Gordon Grdina's Haram: Her Eyes Illuminate
3. Yannick Noah: Hommage
4. Fanga & Maalem Abdallah Guinea: Fangnawa Experience
5. Samuel Yirga: Guzo
6. Sarah Aroeste: Gracia
7. La Caravan Passe: Gypsy for One Day
8. Geomungo Factory: Metamorphosis
9. Very Be Careful: Remember Me from the Party?
10. Rita: My Joys

We've gone mobile!

Today we launched our mobile app! Can't get enough of our music? Take us along with you!

Just type in in your smart phone's browser, and you'll be able to download the app from there.


We'll post exclusive material there, where you can be updated on the go with new music, gigs, videos and more.

Download and enjoy!

Women of Substance Radio

I am honored to have two of my songs off my newest album, Gracia, on a 3-month rotation (starting today!) on Women of Substance Radio. This is great internet radio station that features female performers, both label and indie. It's a real step forward for Ladino music that we've been included! 

You can catch me on the playlists for 'Women Who Rock' (Friday 6pm Eastern) and 'Eclectic' (Saturday 1pm Eastern) either through iTunes Radio (Look for Women of Substance in the Adult Contemporary section), Live365, or via streaming through the Women of Substance website. Your listening in helps support diverse women rocking in music!


UPDATE January 2013: The response to our music was so great that our songs have been included for another 3-month rotation!

Gesher Award - Ladino loves Mexico!

I had the pleasure last evening to perform for a special ceremony honoring Mexican Ambassador to the US, H.E. Arturo Sarukhan.  Ambassador Sarukhan received the American Jewish Committee (AJC) Gesher Award for his remarkable work bridging Latino-Jewish relations, and I was honored to bring Ladino music into the celebration!


Ladino is not a pasta!

Check out this new video I just posted after roaming the streets of New York City asking strangers questions about Ladino. Their answers are classic. Hope you enjoy watching, and please help spread the vid along!

Spice up your weekend party!

Need something fun to add to your party playlist this weekend? Are you a DJ, or know someone who is?  We love this remix done by Israeli DJ, Avi Elman, off our new album, Gracia

As one blog wrote, "if there is any justice in the world, the remix of Scalerica will soon be a global dance floor smash." (Arte Y Vida

Click below to listen. We think it's a dance party hit, and we hope you do to. Enjoy!


For a limited time, we're offering it as a FREE download as an end-of-summer special!

Just follow the link above, and get your Ladino dance on today!

Glamor of the Music Biz

As the summer months fly by, I wish I could say that the music biz is all about touring and glamor. But alas, I am taking a few weeks off to get down to business!  In today's digital world, an artist has to keep up an online profile in dozens of places.  It's all to bring you, our great fans, access to our music on multiple platforms, in multiple territories.  

So I'm hard at work right now making sure our new music can find you on the web, and on all your mobile devices.  If you're on any of the following sites, feel free to listen to me (many of these offer you the chance to listen on the go!) and share with your networks.  Just log on and type my name... 






Radio Reddit

Sound Cloud

Not enough options for you? You can also find us on Rhapsody, Emusic, Simfy, Google Music, Zune, All Music, Medianet, Nokia, and of course the usual iTunes, Amazon & CD Baby...

And we've been making the rounds on some great radio stations recently as well.  If you listen to a station you think would enjoy our music, feel free to request us!  That still really does work...

Work for a radio station? You can download radio-ready and pod-safe songs here:

Airplay Direct

Music Alley


However you listen, enjoy!

Ladino Rock of Gibraltar

What an amazing experience to perform in the Gibraltar World Music Festival last night!  It was an honor to share the stage with the other beautiful Sephardic divas:


And not only did we perform at the Rock of Gibraltar, we performed inside

Ladino loves NPR

So humbled and flattered that NPR featured my new music today, calling my work "Latin music that breaks barriers and pushes boundaries."  We love NPR!

Listen here for more.

CD Release Show in NYC

Thanks to everyone who came out to make our CD release show a sold-out night at Joe's Pub tonight! What a night!

Video coming soon...


Giving Dona Gracia her Due

Check out this piece I wrote for The Forward newspaper today on their Sisterhood Blog!


Reviving Dona Gracia

Gearing up for the CD release

Getting excited for the new CD release...the two-week countdown starts now!  We're busy behind the scenes putting together tours and final touches on our CD release show in NYC May 31st.  Hope to see you there! 

Shooting Video

Greetings from Tel Aviv! I've had a wonderful 10 days here working with amazing musicians and crew to bring Gracia to life on video!  We shot a concert video in the heart of Tel Aviv yesterday, with 16 musicians participating!  Here are a few pictures from our sound check:



I can't wait to share the actual video clips with you when they're ready!

The CD's are here!

The CD has arrived!  The proof is below:


However, it will take some time still to get the product into your hands.  Now begins the post-production!

Post-production entails a lot of logistical and legal mumbo-jumbo: copyrighting and registering, setting up distribution, and planning the PR.  All this has to be set in motion before I can officially “publish” the music (the official street-date for the release will be May 22nd). But everything is on schedule and we're thrilled!

Mark your calendars!

I am excited to announce that we've got our CD release show in the calendar!  It will be in NY on Thursday, May 31st at one of my favorite venues, Joe's Pub! 


Tickets and more info can be found here!

Mixing is Complete!

I’ve been holed up in the recording studio the last month finishing up Gracia!  Below is a picture of me in the last day in the mixing studio, with our wonderful editor Eli Lishinsky:

It’s been an extraordinary couple of weeks for me, and I’m happy to report that the final mixes were just delivered to me this past Friday. This essentially means that the recording process is now complete!! The final step of mastering will happen next week.  In the meantime, now that I have the final mixes in hand, it’s been a good time to reflect on the last few songs I’ve tackled. I saved some of the most meaningful songs for last...

Two weeks ago was my father’s birthday; he would have been 67.  He passed away far too soon over 20 years ago, but his influence on my life, and my music, remains with me every day.  My father was not Sephardic and never lived to see my passion for Ladino culture grow, but I credit him for teaching me so much of what I know about music.  Below is a picture of me and my father at one of our favorite places in the world— Tanglewood Music Festival in Lenox, Massachusetts, otherwise known as the summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

I really got my musical start at Tanglewood, where my family has been going since I was even younger than in this picture.  My father’s love of classical music was instilled in me as a little girl, and I was inspired by one of my father’s favorite pieces of music, a Mendelssohn violin concerto (in E minor, opus 64....but who’s taking note), in the last song I saved last to finish. 

This song, "Tu Portret," is an original I composed, set to a poem by one of my mentors in the Ladino field, Matilda Koen-Sarano. After my father passed away, I wore a locket with his picture in it for many years after.  This song is about pleading with that picture to come back at least to say a proper good bye.  Needless to say, it was a difficult song to write, but has quickly became one of my favorites. The song is filled with many other memories— both happy and sad— that make it one of the most emotional on the album. I know my father would be very proud that his musical legacy (among many other of his wonderful qualities) still lives on in me...

So with 11 tracks under our belts, this closes the “mixing” stage of Gracia’s production.  Next up is mastering!!  The next update you’ll hear from me will be when the CD is mastered and on its way to being manufactured.  I promise to include a celebratory song clip then!  I look forward to reporting back in just a short couple of weeks with great news of the CD’s release...

A True Yiddishe Mama

So sad to hear today about the passing of one of the Jewish music greats-- Adrienne Cooper. She was an inspiration to me and so many others. She helped lead the revival of Yiddish music, and by extension, helped put Jewish music on the contemporary world scene.  You can learn more about her work here.  May her memory be a blessing.


Check out my Ladino cameo on this single released just for the holiday by Diwon and Y-Love. I always wanted to be a fly-girl in a hip-hop song-- now I am!  Enjoy getting your kandelikas lit!



Wild Women

It’s not easy being a musician today.  It’s also not easy being a Jewish woman in the music world.  That’s a whole other conversation— happy to have with anyone off-line! So to be both a musician, and a female Jewish one to boot, I’ve often been told takes ‘cajones.’  But I believe so strongly in the mission to keep Ladino culture alive, and I also believe that I, as a woman, have a unique artistic perspective to be heard.  I am proud of the fact that this new album is dedicated to my Sephardic heroine, Dona Gracia Naci (see blog post "Recording Gracia" to learn more about her), and I’m proud that I’ve incorporated some strong feminist inspiration in many of the songs.   

When I started my career 10 years ago, Ladino “Rock” was a seeming oxymoron.  It wasn’t often one would hear an oud paired with an electric guitar on a traditional Ladino song.  Somehow I’d like to think I’ve made it work.  Well now I present you with some “Feminist Ladino Rock!”  That’s a combo you really don’t hear too often...  

Before I talk about the new song I'm recording, I want to share with you a picture of one of the most remarkable women I know. This is my cousin Rachel:

Cousin Rachel

She grew up in Bitola, Monastir (Northern Greece/Southern Yugoslavia— now present-day Macedonia) where much of my extended family is from (my grandfather was born there, too!).  On March 11th, 1943 Rachel’s family, along with all the Jews of the town, were rounded up and taken away.  Rachel survived.  She hid in a neighbor’s house and when the time was ripe, and with the help of a chauffeur from the Italian consulate, she was transported to Albania in the trunk of a car.  There, she changed her identity and lived in a stranger’s house until war’s end.  She never saw most of her family again.

Rachel’s strength and joyful spirit in all the time I’ve known her is an inspiration.  She is also the last remaining Ladino speaker in my family.  She is a treasure all around. It is Rachel, along with Dona Gracia, my own mother, and many other strong, powerful women who have inspired me, that I had in mind when I put together many of the tracks on this new album, including the one I'm finishing up today.

This song includes one of my dear friends, an incredibly talented spoken-word poet and feminist I have the honor of featuring on this album: Vanessa Hidary (aka the Hebrew Mamita).  I’ve taken a traditional Ladino song “La Comida la Manana”-- which for you Spanish speakers, is really not about tomorrow’s meal. It’s actually an amusing tiff between a daughter and a mother about the role of women in society (and specifically dating mores of the time).  I weaved in a poem of Vanessa’s called “Wild Women” to enhance my interpretation of the song.  As Vanessa writes at the end of the song (which you’ll hear in the full version on the album):

My wild, crazy, unruly, artsy, fiery, sweet, smart, talented sisters-
I am you.
You are me.
We are not for everyone.
But We Live.

Carry on.

Ladino Thanks You!

THANK YOU to all my amazing supporters and fans for helping me reach my Kickstarter goal. With your pledges to buy my new album Gracia, I am able to finish up the recording now. I am truly humbled and grateful for your belief in me. I thank you.  Ladino thanks you.  Can't wait to share the album with you as soon as it's done!  Now it's back to the studio to get to work...

Returning Home

In the past few updates I've shared special pictures of my ancestors with you.  Now I want to share with you a picture and a song that truly symbolize why I am so committed to the work that I do.

First the picture: this is the facade of a synagogue that many of my distant relatives helped build in the 1920's in Salonika, Greece. For you Hebrew speakers, you'll notice the "Aroeste" on the sign above the entrance!  As many of you may know, the Jewish community of Salonika (along with the rest of Greece) was decimated during WWII.  What is less known is that  Greece was the hardest hit country of any country in Europe in terms of the *percentage* of Jews killed during the war.  The community was devastated, along with much of Ladino culture, and to this day it is struggling to rebuild.  I am blessed that my immediate family was safely in America when the war hit.  But many of my distant relatives were not as fortunate. While many of the buildings in Salonika were destroyed in the fighting, this one synagogue remarkably was left intact at war's end.  The Nazi's used it as a Red Cross shelter, and so it was spared.  To me, the fact that this building was left standing (and is still in use today-- albeit much less) says so much about the resilience of Sephardic and Ladino culture worldwide today.  Our culture is certainly not as widespread  as it was just 70 years ago, but it *is* still standing.  And we are holding on fast, and we *continue* to rebuild.

In that spirit, I am asking you-- my fans-- to help me make sure this music gets heard.  I have made a commitment to my ancestors to not forgot their stories, and I'm doing so by creating new ones in the language and culture that they fought so hard to keep alive.  Today I'm recording one of my favorite songs on the new album.  It's another original song called "Chika Morena"-- and it's based on an old Sephardic theme of the wandering gypsy girl. In this song (which includes French and Moroccan influences--and an amazing orchestral score that kicks in half way), I imagined a young Sephardic girl kicked out from her homeland wandering for years and searching for a way back home. In this globalized world today, in the end I believe we are all just searching for that way home and to feel connected with our roots.  This song symbolizes that deep-rooted desire, which for me has been exemplified by my exploration of my Ladino heritage.  I have learned so much about myself along the way "home," and I hope this song inspires the same for you...


In my last update I shared a picture of my grandfather.  Now I want to share a picture of my great-great grandfather, “Papoo!”  From what I’ve been told, Papoo had two main goals near the end of his life: to marry a young bride, and to be buried in Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives.  He achieved both goals (notice said young bride in the photo below).

Like Papoo-- I have set my goals and I plan on reaching them.  And our goals are strangely similar!  I recently got married this year, and, while not on the Mount of Olives, I do hope to spend a lot of time in Israel over the next few years performing my music live. So Papoo and I are not so different, and I am constantly amused and affected by the similar path I seem to take from my ancestors. They truly lead me on my way.

In honor of Papoo (and my own recent nuptials), I've put together a new track on the upcoming album that actually combines two songs: the first is a very beloved traditional Sephardic wedding song, “Scalerica de Oro,” and the second song (in Hebrew) is a little known wedding psalm from a Sephardic prayer book for the holiday of Sukkot called “Dodi Yarad” (based on the Song of Solomon). I mixed the two songs in my version of a Ladino wedding ‘mash-up’!  Stay tuned for a clip coming soon...

Twitter Contest for a Free Holiday CD

Anyone want a free CD?  Follow me on Twitter (@SarahAroeste), and RT this for a chance to win a free signed CD in time for the holidays! #giveaway #contest  Good luck!

The Pasha Comes to Town

After being in the Ladino music biz for the last 10 years, some of you have asked me how I have the energy and will to record, promote, and distribute all on my own in today's music world-- the answer is below!  This is my grandfather (the younger of the lads) all spiffed up to watch the "Pasha" come into town.  My grandfather and his relatives were so proud of their heritage, and I feel it is my duty to honor them and make sure my beautiful history of Sephardic culture does not get lost.  This is why I do what I do

Today i'm recording a another original Ladino song of which I am especially proud.  It's called "El Leon Ferido" and is inspired by a poem by the great 11th century Judeo-Spanish poet, Samuel Ha-Nagid.  It's about maintaining hope and drive-- even when you think you've reached your end.  I hope my grandfather would be proud!

Recording my Hero


Today I'm recording the title-track to my new album, Gracia!   This is an original song I wrote-- an homage to Dona Gracia, my medieval Sephardic heroine!

Dona Gracia saved hundreds from the Spanish Inquisition through her courage, commitment to culture, and her feminine wisdom. The song I wrote for her is my foray into Ladino feminist rock! The end of the song even includes a special cameo by the iconic Gloria Steinem...

(As a side note, for any of you who speak Hebrew, there was a wonderful article recently in one of the major Israeli newspapers, Ma'ariv,  about Dona Gracia and why it's a travesty that more people don't know about her... The article can be found here .)

Can't wait to share a clip with you soon!

Making Music

We're hard at work bringing Gracia to life-- wanted to share a couple pics of what we've been up to in the studio!  Check out the 16-piece string orchestra we've recorded on half the album, as well as Shai taking the lead in Pluto Studios in Tel Aviv.  More fun pics coming soon!



Kicking Off

Today marks the kick-off day to my Kickstarter campaign!  Along with the campaign, I'm launching my new website and Gracia project!  It's a big day in my career.  I couldn't have gotten this far without my supporters and fans, and I can't wait to update you on the recording process of my new album, Gracia, and the Kickstarter campaign as it all unfolds. To watch my campaign video and learn all about the Gracia project, click below!


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