With its members hailing from Berlin and Tel Aviv, Baladino is a Mediterranean folk band that offers fresh, yet deeply authentic interpretations of Saphardic and Ladino melodies and brings this tradition back into full, fresh dialogue with its trans-Mediterranean past, using extended technique, subtle electronics and improvisation to dust off the predominant heavy-handed approach to Ladino music. With stunning vocals, unexpected instruments, and a pitch-perfect sense of arrangement, the Israeli group melds everything from Egyptian darbuka to Armenian duduk, from Ladino classics to rarely heard tunes, into a sonically vibrant, organic whole. During Baladino’s live performances, songs often form a jumping-off point for instrumental improvisations driven by Mediterranean-Gypsy grooves, yet embracing rock and electronic influences.
Baladino was conceived by multi-wind instrumentalist Yonnie Dror and string player and producer Thomas Moked. After years of working intensely with Israel’s most respected performers, the two band members were in search of a different musical vocabulary and spent most of their meetings developing concepts and ideas about how to combine tradition and creativity. Enhancing the band’s musical identity is the singer Yael Badash who brought with her an important collection of Ladino songs belonging to her ancestors. Internationally acclaimed world percussionist Yshai Afterman, specializing in Mediterranean percussion, provides the group’s smart and exuberant rhythms. Their debut album Dos Amantes was released in 2013 and their second album, made in collaboration with the Fifth House Ensemble, Nedudimwas released 2016. They are working on a third album now.