Erez Safar, a producer and DJ who performs under the name Diwon, is enchanted by music and sounds from the Sephardic world. Six years ago, he founded the annual Sephardic Music Festival, which takes place in New York City over Hanukkah and features artists who meld Sephardic motifs with hip-hop, house music, electronica, and pretty much every musical genre, with the exception of klezmer.
Now Safar has produced a Sephardic Music Festival compilation album, which captures the sounds of the festival even for those who couldn’t be in New York for it. It includes songs by well-known musicians Matisyahu, Yasmin Levy, and Galeet Dardashti, along with less-familiar artists, like DeScribe and Shmoolik, who team up for a reggaeton-meets-Middle East pop track in French and Hebrew.
For Vox Tablet this week, Rob Weisberg, the host of WFMU’s Transpacific Sound Paradise—“New York’s peerless world music show,” according to Time Out—took a look at the album.