Who is that Stranger? [17']

based on texts by anonymous, illiterate women of Yemen and the West Bank

Who is that Stranger?

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Who is that Stranger?‘s six songs are based on the traditional anonymous oral poetry of Jewish women from Yemen and teh West Bank, translated from the Judeo-Arabic by Mishael Maswari Caspi. In each song, the singer yearns for home, for Paradise, for deliverance, for the end of her personal exile – an exile even within a community itself in exile.  The imagery is that of ancient, ageless desert diaspora. Thirst is the overarching metaphor for longing, and each song is an invocation of the outcast’s craving for an almost imaginary home.

Although several of the songs call on Middle Eastern rhythmic modes, scales, and gestures, one, “I am Thirsty,” also appears to be a modern spiritual, invoking another exiled people’s cri du coeur.