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Music finds common ground for cultures

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Singer Consuelo Luz’s music, life and worldview are intertwined in a cross-cultural exploration.

“My journey is connecting indigenous, Latin culture with the Sephardic,” Luz said in a phone interview from her Santa Fe home.

“On my last CD I incorporated Aztec flute with Sephardic music because I felt that it reflected the journey of the crypto-Jews. They came to South America and to the Southwest and intermarried, so you have this genetic combination of indigenous and Western folks with Sephardim.”

If you go
WHAT: An Evening with Consuelo Luz
WHEN: Dinner, 6:30 p.m., concert at 8 p.m. with dessert to follow on Jan. 22
WHERE: Congregation B’nai Israel, 4401 Indian School NE
HOW MUCH: $57.72 for concert, dinner and dessert. The deadline for these tickets is Tuesday, Jan. 17. $36 for concert and dessert only. The deadline for concert-dessert tickets is Friday, Jan. 20. For reservations call 266-0155 or email The event is a fundraiser for the congregation

Sephardim refers to the descendants of Jews of Spain and Portugal before their expulsion or forced conversion to Catholicism in the late 15th century. Crypto-Jews are those in Spain and the New World who ostensibly converted to Catholicism but secretly maintained Jewish rituals.


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In her Jan. 22 concert at Congregation B’nai Israel, Luz said she will sing mostly songs of the Sephardim in Ladino, the language of Jews of Spain and Portugal, as well as three of her original songs.

Luz will perform with guitarist Joaquin Gallegos and cellist Nelson Denman.

Luz, whose parents were from Cuba and Chile, said the music in the concert also represents a spiritual exploration of “the tree of life.”

She used that phrase in the context of the Kabbalah, which is a set of mystical Jewish teachings that attempts to explain the relationship between the eternal and the mortal. The tree of life is a key element in the Kabbalah.

“I am also developing my exploration of Judaism,” Luz said, “which for me is coming at a late time of my life, exploring the Kabbalah and ancient mystical interpretations of Jewish tradition.”

She said she’s been finding a commonality of ancient Jewish wisdom and ancient Native American wisdom.

“I see it as a spiritual evolution for the plant, as a bringing together of cultures,” Luz said.

On one song she’ll do in the concert, Luz said, she’ll accompany herself on charango, a small stringed instrument associated with the Andean peoples.

“That song came out of my own experience as I was preparing for my own bat mitzvah. The rabbi sent us out in the desert on a vision quest. It’s what I found on the vision quest,” she said.