Story

A Ladino and English Song of Hanukkah Hope and Miracles

“I hope to have a Hanukkah song we can sing in many different languages and share worldwide.”

This year, Carla Berg is making this dark season a bit brighter by gifting us with a new English language take on her Ladino Hanukkah song.

There could be no better time for a miracle, making the title of Carla’s songs especially fitting. The original song Nes, meaning miracle in Ladino, came to Berg as we reported when it was first released, and during another difficult time. 

Nes first came to be when Carla was invited to perform at a community holiday celebration with a primarily non-Jewish audience during COVID. She considered performing a classic Christmas song to fit with the program, but chose instead to take the opportunity to celebrate her heritage. Also, given the timing, she said “We were living in a time where we were all hoping for miracles.” In response, Carla composed an original song for Hanukkah that would represent her global identities. 

From the time she started composing, Carla knew that the song would be a mixture of Ladino and English. While she was finalizing the composition, reviewed by Rachel Amado Bortnick, founder of Ladinokomunita, she also had aspirations for the song’s ability to appeal across the globe. “I hope to have a Hanukkah song we can sing in many different languages and share worldwide.” After its original release in 2021, and in every performance since, she sings the chorus in five languages: English, Ladino, Portuguese, Yiddish, and Hebrew.

This year, Carla was able to launch her worldwide hopes for the song. Carla renamed the song Nez, meaning miracle in Hebrew, and expanded the song into an English composition and video. Filmed during the pandemic, Carla’s 2021 Ladino version aimed to visually represent the song’s miraculous ability to give people hope. In the 2023 version, Carla now wanted to show the traditions of Hanukkah. She intentionally set the video during winter and chose to portray aspects of Hanukkah that were especially important to her-such as family and preserving her Sephardic and Brazilian heritage through music. 

In 2023, Carla hopes for a Hanukkah miracle of peace. In the future, Carla has a Hanukkah vision of continuing to expand Nez into as many languages as possible. In doing so, Carla Berg’s Nez can be a song of global hope for the holiday and a celebration of our diverse backgrounds through song.

2023 Nez in English

 

2021 Nes in Ladino

 

Lyrics

We find ourselves in this time of despair

To whom can we turn

With whom we share

What makes this darkness

Where is the light

When I open my eyes

I only see night

 

Let’s light a candle

And watch the light grow

Let’s keep on singing

Deep in our souls

Miracles happen

Lead us to peace

Just take my hand

Together we will heal 

 

The mystery revealed

In the sweetness of a chord

Through our suffering

We see the value of our Lord

 

Consider the miracle happened there

The earth and fire the water and air

Let’s keep on singing deep in our souls

Miracles happen lead us to Joy

NES GADO HAYA SHAM (A big miracle happened there)

NES GADOL HAYA POH (A big miracle happened here)

 

LYRICS BY

Carla Berg and Richard Miller

Jewzilian Publishing

 

Learn more about Carla and the background of the Ladino version of Nez, here.

Follow Carla and her music here. Her music can be found on most streaming platforms. 

Carla Berg’s Biography

Carla Berg is a  Brazilian and Sephardic singer and songwriter with a diverse musical style, blending elements of jazz, bossa nova, forro, samba and international music. Her unique voice and innovative arrangements connect with a wide range of audiences. 

Infusing emotion into every note, coupled with a distinctive musical approach, mesmerizing voice and captivating stage presence, she rhythmically incorporates her Brazilian roots, and Jewish culture. With this diverse, eclectic background, and her ability to sing in various languages, (Portuguese, Spanish, Hebrew, Yiddish, English, Judeo- Spanish) Berg’s music has an unwavering commitment to preserving and innovating Brazilian music, setting her apart as a unique one-of-a-kind artist.

 

Carla is a native Brazilian who celebrates the music and culture of Brazil through song. Her work also seeks to reflect the multi-faceted nature of Carla herself and the cultures from which she hails. Raised Jewish, Carla’s earliest musical memories come from singing at Passover services with her grandfather, a cantor (singer). The duality of her cultural background has coalesced alongside influences such as jazz, bossa nova/samba, middle east traditional, and classical opera to define a sound that makes Carla’s voice unique. 

 

She is committed to keeping traditions, culture, and language alive. Carla believes music to be the universal language through which we all can connect to our roots, other cultures, and that.  “Through music, I am able to honor my identity, and share that joy with others”. 

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