Tehilim (psaumes), vocal improvisation
par Piris Eliyahu
Musicians : Piris Eliyahu, tar; Mark Eliyahu, kamancha; Nizar Ruhana, oud, Itamar Shahar, nay; Itamar Duari, percussion; David Menahem, vocal.
The Music of the Mountain Jews; Transcriptions and Commentaries : Jerusalem: The Jewish Music Research Centre,
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 1999. [ISBN: 0792-3740].
One of the most fragile linguistic treasures of the Jewish people is Juhuri (also known as Judeo-Tat), an Iranian language of Azerbaijan which has fused elements from Azeri, Turkish and Hebrew, and which until 1929 used the Hebrew alphabet. Nine years later the Latin alphabet was adopted, soon to be succeeded by a Cyrillic-based alphabet.
Piris Eliyahu, an Israeli musicologist of Juhuri origin, has now given us a splendid study of Juhuri music. He tells us that "During the last decades of the nineteenth century, following the Russian conquest of Daghestan, Jewish and non-Jewish researchers began to express interest in the folklore and language of the Mountain Jews. Songs, folk tales and linguistic studies were published during this period in Russian .... Periodicals and journals in Juhuri which began to appear in the twentieth century included folkloric materials. During the first decades of the Soviet period, the scholarly interest in the Mountain Jews slowly declined. The journal "Vatan Sovetimu", edited by, among others, the writer Hizghil Avshalumov and published since 1960, is the only modern publication in Juhuri.