Oral history interview with Hazzan Abraham Lopes Cardozo of Shearith Israel, the U.S.’s oldest, continually functioning synagogue where he served for 50 years. Born in Amsterdam in 1914, Lopes Cardozo began his career as a hazzan in Suriname in 1939. While visiting New York on a vacation in 1945, members of Shearith Israel heard Lopes Cardozo sing the liturgy and recruited him to be their hazzan–a continuation of the congregation’s centuries-old practice of “importing” the best and most knowledgeable hazzanim in order to preserve their musical heritage. In addition to Lopes Cardozo's personal history, the interview focuses on tradition and change within the Western Sephardi musical tradition, its historical continuity, and its connection to the Sephardi communities of both Northern Europe and the Mediterranean.
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