Voice of the Turtle: Singing the Music of the Spanish Jewslyre

...the voice of the turtle (dove)....
The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing is come,
and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard through the land.

                                   — Song of Songs 2:12


musiciansThe turtle is actually a turtledove — the symbol of exile, the harbinger of spring and of peace. It is familiar to English speakers from the King James Bible, where the Hebrew word tor (Song of Songs ) translates as "turtle dove."

A musical ensemble known as Voice of the Turtle has been studying and presenting the beautiful and compelling musical repertoire of the Spanish Jews since 1978. Whether a mistranslation or simply the poetic form of the word, "turtle" is used in the group's name to encompass an array of images.

Voice of the Turtle's logo, an ancient lyre with the shell of a tortoise as its resonating box, is decorated with the Star of David and the Arabic crescent, both ancient symbols. The juxtaposition evokes a significant part of Sephardic history.

megaphoneEnjoy Skalerika de Oro, a Sephardic wedding song, sung by Voice of the Turtle. Lisle Kulbach, lead singer accompanied by guitar, dumbek and tambourine played by Voice of the Turtle. (View text of song)

If you don't already have the Real Audio plug-in for your browser, you can download the free RealPlayer from Real Networks in order to hear the broadcast.

* an interview with Judith Wachs, Artistic Director of Voice of Turtle, conducted in March 2000 by JHOM Managing Editor, Jennifer Turvey

* an abridged transcript of the interview


From: Voice of the Turtle: " Full Circle: Music of the Spanish Jews of Jerusalem." 1997by Titanic Records. Permission of Voice of the Turtle
  Voice of the Turtle's new CD "The Sword of the Dove--A Judeo-Spanish Purim Fantasia" will be published in December 2000.

VOICE Table of Contents



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