Sung by Mr. Leo Azose, originally from Marmara, Turkey. Recorded in Seattle June 10, 1973. Number 8a in Benmayor, Romances judeo-españoles de Oriente.
Leo Azose’s rendition of “El Paso del Mar Rojo” (Crossing the Red Sea)
(Translation reads from left to right)
When the people of Israel left Egypt singing
children and wives singing the Song of Songs
some carried the wood and others carried the dough,
the men carried the children in their arms and by the hand
the women carried the gold which is a lighter load.
Moshé turned his head to see how many were crossing,
He saw Pharaoh advancing with his red banner.
“Where have you taken us, Moshé to die in this wilderness
to die without tombs or be drowned in the sea?”
“Don’t be afraid, Jews and don’t lose hope.
Pray to Him and I will do the same.”
So many were the prayers that rose to God on High
A voice descended from heaven calling to Moshé:
“Come here Moshé, My son, do My command.
Take this staff, Moshé take this staff in your hand.
Part the sea in twelve paths and lead your people to safety.”
The Jews were crossing the Egyptians were drowning.
Only Pharaoh was left behind hanging by the neck.
Let us recognize the miracles that God on High bestows on us.
He is one and not second He is the Father of the entire world.
Translation by Rina Benmayor
El Paso del Mar Rojo. Rina Benmayor, Romances judeo-españoles de Oriente (Gredos, Spain 1979)
Dr. Rina Benmayor is Professor Emerita of Oral History, Latina/o Studies, and Literature at California State University Monterey Bay, and is author of the books Romances judeo-españoles de Oriente : nueva recolección and co-editor of Migration & Identity, Telling to Live: Latina Feminist Testimonios, and Memory, Subjectivities, and Representation: Approaches to Oral History in Latin America, Portugal, and Spain. She received her Ph.D. in Romance Languages & Literatures from UC Berkeley.
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