The Key from Spain: Flory Jagoda and Her Music

When Flory’s ancestors were forced to leave Spain during the time of the Spanish Inquisition, they took with them their two most precious possessions: the key to their old house and the Ladino language. When Flory left Europe after World War II, she carried Ladino with her, along with her other precious possessions: her harmoniku  and the music of her family and their village in Bosnia, where they had settled after the Expulsion from Spain. But what of the key?

Flory Jagoda, now a nonagenarian, is known as the keeper of the flame of Sephardic music, as well as of the Ladino language. Flory traces her family back to Al-Andalus–medieval Muslim Spain–and then to Turkey and Bosnia. She has brought Sephardic music to people everywhere, around the country and the world, on stages, in schools, and in homes.

Kar-Ben Publishing
Ages 4 and up
ISBN 978-1-5415-2218-3

Buy the book:
IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes & Noble


*”Levy’s writing and Wimmer’s mixed-media illustrations strike the perfect synergy. . . . The writing is poetic and lyrical, effortlessly weaving centuries of history into the story while maintaining a strikingly intimate tone.”
School Library Journal (starred review)

“An inspirational reclamation of history.”

“A worthy . . . homage to a language and its fervent promoter.”

Videos and Music

“Ocho Kandelikas”
Flory Jagoda, with Susan Gaeta and Howard Bass, perform Flory’s famous song “Ocho Kandelikas.”


“La Yave d’Espanya” (“The Key from Spain”)
Trio Sefardi, a group inspired by Flory, sing her song “La Yave d’Espanya.”


“Sviraj Harmoniku” (“Play Your Accordion”)
This is Flory’s song about her escape from Zagreb on a train during World War II.

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