Aron Saltiel's music embodies the depth of his experiences. His concerts are inspired and heartwarming, always with an ear toward bringing people of diverse backgrounds together. His audience participatory "Niggunim" concerts in Europe paved the way for future generations to adopt his style of gently leading passive listeners into active singing. His concerts intersperse humorous spiritual anecdotes with subtly molded music, and include Sufi, Turkish, Greek, and Bulgarian Sephardic music.
Aron was born in the Ladino-speaking community of Istanbul of descendants of Sephardic Jews who were exiled from Spain in 1492. His first contact with Sephardic and Turkish music was in his home, where he absorbed the singing of his grandmother. Later he learned that many of the songs she sang to him were shared by Turks, Jews and Greeks, which led him to explore the galvanizing potential of music in these languages and cultures. Aron is still acknowledged as one of the world’s experts on Sephardic music, and has served as advisor and radio producer for both Jewish and Islamic music for Austrian national Radio (ORF) and West German Radio (WDR).
In 1971 Aron graduated from vocational school and worked as an immigrant worker in Switzerland and Germany. From 1973-1977 he studied Linguistics and Translation at the University of Graz, Austria, which eventually led to his working as translator for various government and educational institutions. Aron completed his training in psychotherapy in Switzerland and presently works as both a psychotherapist as well as a Breema bodywork practitioner.
His musical interests led him to study voice with Hedda Szamosi in Vienna, following which he founded the group, Alondra with Marie-Thérèse Escribano and Wolfram Märzendorfer. Although the term and precepts of "World Music" would not take hold until the late 1980s, throughout the early 1980s Alondra offered concerts dedicated to the performance of Jewish and Islamic music. Their concerts were seen as path-forging, and brought them invitations to renowned festivals such as the Steierische Herbst Festival, Graz, the Wiener Festwochen, the Semana de Musica Antigua, Burgos, the Festival des Arts Traditionnels, Rennes.
Aron's work in both collecting music and linguistics led to the seminal Sephardic Songbook (C. F. Peters Verlag Frankfurt) in 2001, based on field recordings between 1976 and 1996 in Bat-Yam, Israel, Sarajevo, Thessaloniki and Istanbul.
He has been invited to give solo as well as group concerts throughout Europe and the United States and continues to give workshops and participatory concerts of Hasidic Niggunim. His concerts are considered to be not only fun and exciting, but also uplifting with the power to bring people together.
Recordings and Publications...
- Aron Saltiel - Kantigas de boda Project
- Chants Judeo-Espagnols (LP, Arion France) (1982)
- Aron Saltiel singt jiddische Lieder (1996)
- Cantigas Sefardies, CD (2001)
- The Sephardic Songbook, 2001, C. F. Peters Verlag, Frankfurt, together with Joshua Horowitz