Ramón Tasat is a gem. He sings with passion and true bel canto
technique. I was also impressed by the seamless weaving of the operatic
and Jewish liturgical traditions.
Your recent visit to Champaign-Urbana (14-16 February 2002) as Artist-in-Residence for Champaign-Urbana Jewish Federation and Sinai Temple was amazing. Everyone who heard you is singing your praises and your melodies and wants to know when you are coming back.
Since you left, I have received dozens of comments, in person, emails, and phone messages, about your performance. All are compliments. From this feedback, several themes have emerged that I thought you might appreciate hearing.
Listeners were delighted by the beauty and purity of your voice, which some likened to a musical instrument and many described as angelic. Your contra tenor, at once powerful and graceful, drew special praise, as did your striking arrangements and masterful guitar playing. Keep in mind that these appraisals come from a highly sophisticated audience accustomed to hearing world-class vocalists and musicians at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
The tremendous range of your repertoire was also savored. Audiences were thrilled by your ability to move freely from popular tunes to opera to cantorial selections to folk music and beyond and to construct a concert, at once fluid and cohesive, that encompassed selections from six languages, spanning ten centuries.
Since you trained as a musician, you may be used to compliments of this nature. I wonder, however, if you are fully aware of your gifts as an educator. Regardless of the forum in which you shared your music and knowledge (classroom, radio, interview, workshop, bima, concert), you inspired curiosity, respect, and rapt attention. The depth of your knowledge about Judaism, Jewish music, Sephardic culture, Argentina, and the connection between music and spirituality was greatly appreciated. In each performance, your audience was pleased to learn about the music that they were hearing and able to experience it more deeply for knowing its origin and history.
Finally, your personal warmth and sincerity are compelling. Open, down-to-earth, flexible, kind, and generous, you endear yourself to everyone you meet. Indeed, you would have won all our hearts even if you had not sung or played a note! Traits such as these are what make your workshops so successful: participants simply cannot resist your invitation to sing. Together, your love of music and your love of people ensure transmission of Sephardic music for another generation.
It is an honor to have been your host. I look forward to your return to our community and am eager to do whatever I can to facilitate this.
Ramón, I don't even have the words to express the gratitude I feel for the most wonderful Shabbat we just celebrated. My mother felt so honored and celebrated, and was so moved by it all. I had dozens and dozens of thank yous from people at TI after services –you made our davvening so special and meaningful. Every word you sang was truly a pearl. You transported all of us with you as you sang to ha-Shem. Your Torah trop was beautiful, as was the haftorah trop. Your talk after services –the songs but also your teaching about the prayers– was extraordinary.
Dear Cantor Tasat,
On behalf of the Adult Education Committee, I want to express to you our deepest appreciation for the marvelous evening of Sephardic music you provided our sizeable audience with last evening. Your concert with Jon Seligman as accompanist was one of the most entertaining, informative, and crowd-pleasing of the four “world of Jewish Music” series this year, and, in large part, that was due to your huge talent.
You are truly a superb musician. Your beautifully controlled and melodious tenor voice, your excellent musicianship on the guitar, the valuable commentary you provided as introduction to each of your songs, and the genuinely warm and engaging personality you conveyed all contributed to a memorable evening for us.
We’d welcome you back anytime and hope your considerable talents as both educator and entertainer in some of our future programming. You were most generous with your time after the program, answering individual questions and warmly greeting our audience members.
Please know that we are deeply grateful to you for sharing you/our culture with us, as well as your exquisite voice. Many of us came away with an increased knowledge of Sephardic music and spent an enchanting hour of listening as well.
Continue to inspire your audiences. You are a total professional and a pleasure to work with!
With warm regards,