* During the holidays, many families celebrate their ethnic traditions, and as part of the Smithsonian's Holiday Celebration, Flory Jagoda and her family will perform "Ladino Songs" at the Museum of American History Wednesday from 2 to 3 p.m.
Jagoda says she is "trying to pass on and preserve songs that come from my community of Yugoslavian Sephardic Jews." Ladino is a Judeo-Spanish language, a 15th-century Castilian dialect "that Spanish Jewish immigrants took with them when they left Spain during the Inquisition. They preserved this language up until World War II. It was written in Hebrew letters but sounded Spanish."
Jagoda, born in Sarajevo, Yugoslavia, "grew up with Ladino songs, my grandmother taught me, and my whole family were Ladino singers. I sing songs that have been in my family for 4 1/2 centuries, passed on orally from generation to generation and have adapted the flavors of the countries. When you hear Ladino music you are reminded of Greek or Turkish or Yugoslav music," she says, "yet a Spanish person listening to my music is very comfortable hearing it."
Jagoda, a resident of Falls Church, her son Elliot and daughters Lori and Betty Jagoda Murphy will perform "Ladino Songs" tomorrow. The Smithsonian's program, highlighting the ways in which Americans celebrate Christmas, Hanukah, and the New Year, runs through Dec. 31.