Friday, February 20, 2009

Yitzhak Yedid performs Bakashot of Shabbat in Australia

Hi folks,

Here's my weekly, get in the Shabbat groove, video. This week, I found a video of Israeli composer and pianist Yitzhak Yedid performing a bakashot. I'd explain what the means, but YouTube user AlanBreat provided an extensive description (see below).

Yitzhak Yedid performs Bakashot of Shabbat in Australia

UPDATE: It seems I have a short memory. I just realized I posted this video back in June. Sigh.

From the YouTube video notes....
"Acclaimed Israeli composer pianist & improviser Yitzhak Yedid who was born in Jerusalem as the son of immigrant Syrian Jews.

Yedid performances in Australia included Piyutim from the Bakashot supplication.

The Bakashot (or "baqashot", שירת הבקשות) are a collection of supplications, songs, and prayers that have been sung by the Sephardic Aleppian Jewish community and other congregations for centuries each week on Shabbat morning from midnight until dawn. Usually they are recited during the weeks of winter, when the nights are much longer. The duration of the services is usually about four hours. The Ades Synagogue, Jerusalem, is the center of this practice today.

The custom of singing Baqashot originated in Spain towards the time of the expulsion, but took on increased momentum in the Kabbalistic circle in Safed in the 16th century. Baqashot probably evolved out of the tradition of saying petitionary prayers before dawn and was spread from Safed by the followers of Isaac Luria (16th century). With the spread of Safed Kabbalistic doctrine, the singing of Baqashot reached countries all round the Mediterranean and became customary in the communities of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Rhodes, Greece, Yugoslavia, Egypt, Turkey and Syria. It also influenced the Kabbalistically oriented confraternities in 18th-century Italy, and even became customary for a time in Sephardic communities in western Europe, such as Amsterdam and London, though in these communities it has since been dropped. By the turn of the 20th century Baqashot had become a widespread religious practice in several communities in Jerusalem as a communal form of prayer.

In communities such as those of Aleppo, Turkey and Morocco, the singing of Baqashot expanded to vast proportions. In those countries special books were compiled (such as "Shir Yedidot" in Morocco), showing the tunes and maqamat together with the text of the hymns, in order to facilitate the singing of Baqashot by the congregation. In these communities it was customary to rise from bed in the night on Shabbat in the winter months, when the nights are longer, and assemble in synagogue to sing Baqashot for four hours until the time for the morning service.
In Aleppo, Syria this custom seems to go back about 500 years. Most of the community would arise at 3:00AM to sing Baqashot and to listen to the voices of the Hazanim, Paytanim, and Meshorerim. When they arrived at Mizmor Shir LeYom HaShabbat they would break to listen to a sermon by one of the Rabbis who discussed the Perashah of the week. When he concluded they would begin Mizmor Shir LeYom HaShabbat and sing all the rest of the Baqashot.

The Syrian tradition was introduced to Jerusalem by Raphael Altaras, who came to that city from Aleppo in 1845 and founded a Baqashot circle at the Kehal Tsiyon synagogue. In this way the custom of Baqashot became part of the mainstream Jerusalem Sephardic tradition. Another important influence was Jacob Ades (1857-1925), who immigrated to Jerusalem in 1895 and introduced the tradition to the Persian and Bukharan communities. The main centre of the tradition today is the Ades Synagogue in Nachlaot, where the leading spirit was Shaul Aboud, a pupil of Moshe Ashear.

The Aleppian Baqashot did not only reach Jerusalem. The Jews of Aleppo took this custom with them wherever they went: to Turkey, Cairo, Mexico, Argentina and Brooklyn, New York. Each of these communities preserved this custom in the original Halabi style without all the changes and embellishments that have been added to the Baqashot by Jerusalem cantors over the years. Though these communities don't perform the Baqashot on a weekly basis, nevertheless, they use the melodies of the Baqashot throughout Saturday morning prayers."


Anonymous said...

It is Omid from Shiraz. I need some religious music samples of (Piyyut • Zemirot • Nigun
Pizmonim • Baqashot)
each of which lasts maximum 5 minutes(mp3) I wonder, if it is possible to send them for me by email?
My id is
Thank you

Anonymous said...

i need samples of (Piyyut • Zemirot • Nigun
Pizmonim • Baqashot)
for my article about relegios music
my id =
with regards