Inspired by her distinct heritage, Susana Behar’s performance draws strength from her own life’s story, presenting a unique blend of diverse musical traditions.
Born in Havana to a Cuban/Turkish Sephardic family, she grew up listening to the traditional music of her homeland as well as the hunting ‘kantikas’ in Judeo-Spanish or Ladino, which her Sephardic grandparents had brought with them. In 1965 she emigrated to Venezuela where she explored and performed the music of her adopted country, as well as that of Latin America and the Jewish folklore.
In 1983, after receiving her degree in Biology from the Universidad Central de Venezuela, she emigrated once again, this time to Miami, where she has lived ever since.
For almost 20 years, and through her countless performances, Susana has focused her artistic musical career on the research, promotion and advancement of the Sephardic musical repertoire, participating in projects, recitals and festivals, in the United States, South America, Mexico, Canada, Israel and Japan, including, amongst others, Piccolo Spoleto (Charleston, SC), Festival Sefarad (Montreal, Canada), Sacred Sounds (Atlanta, GA), Florida Folklife Festival (White Springs, Fl), Winter Jewish Music Concert (Miami, Fl), musimelange (Miami, Fl), FAU Kultur Festival (Boca Raton, Fl), Guava Rugelach Festival (Miami, Fl), Limmud Miami (Miami, Fl) and ‘Layali al Andaluz’ with the National Arab Orchestra at the Olympia Theater in Miami, always collaborating with musicians from very diverse musical traditions.
Her music has been featured in the documentary ‘Adio Kerida’, of anthropologist Ruth Behar (no relation), as well as in the CD ‘The music from the Sunshine State’, a series of radio programs featuring folk music, recorded by National Public Radio and the Florida Department of State Division of Historical Resources.
In 2012, Susana premiered ‘Of Essence and Time, Flamenco Sephardi’, an interdisciplinary work created in collaboration with Flamenco guitarist/composer Jose Luis de la Paz and dancer/choreographer Niurca Marquez, which explores the common roots of traditional Spanish music, Sephardic songs and Flamenco.
In 2015 Susana was awarded the Individual Artist Fellowship in the Folk and Traditional Arts from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.
After many years dedicated almost exclusively to the Sephardic repertoire, Susana returned to her passion for the Latin American folklore. In 2017 she developed and premiered her project ‘Ladino Meets Latino’, incorporating songs from both musical traditions, through world music sounds and exciting arrangements and instrumentation.
Susana has produced two albums, ‘La Galana y El Mar’ (2010) and ‘TAPIZ’ (2018).
From September to December 2020, Susana was the Artist-in-Residence at the HistoryMiami Museum, during which time she presented a series of artistic, cultural and educational programs for the community.
In 2021 she sang and recorded the soundtrack of ‘ANUSIM’, a collaborative choreographic work by Dance NOW Miami (USA) and Dança em Diálogos (Portugal), with music by Federico Bonacossa.
Susana also devotes part of her time to volunteer work for several local, national and international organizations, one of which is Musicians On Call (MOC). Closest to her heart, MOC is a national organization that has allowed her to bring the healing power of music to patients in hospitals around the country.
Susana Behar lives in Miami with her family and performs regularly throughout South Florida