Local middle school students face the music

October 22, 2013 by  

Students from Highland Middle School’s orchestra had a treat earlier this month, when they got to attend a musical workshop with members of the band Baladino, an Israeli folk group.

The band shared its music with orchestra members and the community throughout the week, playing on traditional Middle Eastern instruments such as the bouzouki and ram’s horn. Orchestra teacher Rachel Gamin said the event was “huge” for the students.

The band’s name is a combination of the terms ‘ladino’ and ‘Balad’. The former is Judeo-Spanish in origin and the latter is an Arabic word for ‘band’. Baladino makes use of various instruments that are common in the Middle East but rarely heard in the west.

The band’s string player, Tomer Moked, said that although the band is comprised of Israeli musicians and is based out of Tel Aviv, the group members trace their ancestry to Iraq, Turkey, Spain, and Australia. Along with Moked, who arranges the music in addition to playing, the band includes Yael Badash on vocals, percussionist Yshai Afterman, string bass player Adam Ben Ezra, and Yonnie Dror on winds.

The Ohio Regional Music Arts and Cultural Outreach organization is responsible for bringing this most unusual ensemble to the Medina community. The outreach organization is based in Medina, and works to bring the arts to schools and citizens in the wake of school arts programs losing their funding.

The organization could work with brochure printers to recap Baladino’s performances, using it as an example of the kind of groups it sponsors, and seeking support for further similar efforts.