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Ladino Birthing Song Signals Rebirth at New Year

New Setting of Old Words

© Image from Sarah Aroeste music video: Rebirth (video below)

The New Year is upon us. It is a time for letting go of the past and a season of renewal and rebirth. For Sarah Aroeste, it is the perfect time to release yet another song, this one a remake of a traditional Ladino song. Thorough not strictly about the New Year, it is a song that reminds us that we can choose to step into new possibilities and community.

As Aroeste explains:

“​​Oy qui muevi mezis (Oh what nine months), is a traditional Ladino song about birth and community. The lyrics literally outline the months of gestation and birth, but more than that, it highlights how a community comes together to welcome new life. With guests and family, a mother and child are greeted with food and blessings in celebration. The connection between birth, community, food, and blessings, naturally made me think of the new year and all it represents. I filmed the video in a wadi in Ein Gedi, Israel, with an incredible group of female dancers who brought the birth narrative to life. Together, we hope we’ve created a piece of art of that brings thoughts of renewal and rebirth as we go, communally, into the new year…”

The words to the song are as follows: (Music video below lyrics)

Lyrics to Oy Qui Muevi Mezis:

Oh, what nine months

Of discomfort you have had

A son was born

His face like the moon.

Long live the child’s mother

With her newborn.

 

When the midwife

Says: Push, push

The mother says,

-Oh, God, deliver me!

Her parents say,

-Amen, Amen

 

Here comes the child’s father

With the guests

In his hand he brings

A string of coins

In the other hand

He brings good fish

 

Here comes the child’s father

Near the bed.

The child’s mother says,

-Today I did not eat.

Quickly bring for her

Fattened chicken.

 

Oh, what a pine,

The pine got green again!

Long live the child’s father.

Let him bring us wine!

Oh, what a grapevine

Green again grapevine!

Long live the child’s mother

With her newborn!