With its roots in a medieval Jewish vocal culture, this library comprises long songs arranged by musical key, tuned playable phrases and one chromatically playable solo ‘ooh/aah’ sound. Samples can be processed via a 16‑step volume sequencer and a 16‑step filter sequencer if required, plus there are onboard effects. The short phrases can be played from one section of the keyboard while a lower section functions as keyswitches to move between the first five preset phrases in the current patch. All the recordings were performed by Anke de Bruijn and most have either a haunting or folky quality that can be further enhanced using the onboard delay, phaser and reverb controls. Kontakt version 5.8.1 or above is required to host the instrument, though the samples themselves can be imported into other samplers if required as they are all in WAV format. The phrases and solo voice are supplied as multi‑sample sets whereas the longer parts are conventional recordings.
When unzipped, Sephardic Vocals occupies 1.1GB and includes folders of the WAV files arranged as Long Songs, Multisample, Patterns, Phrases and Song Parts, plus an Extras folder that includes an overview of the controls plus translations so that you don’t end up editing up nonsense phrases. As the files are all in WAV format, it is also possible to drag them directly into your sequencer — there are bpm‑matched patterns and long songs which can be restructured as required.
The instrument itself is very straightforward, with the waveform display and preset selector in the top centre. The sounds can be adjusted via attack and release controls (disabled when legato mode is in use), plus there’s filtering and LFO control over pitch. Sample start randomisation can be turned on to add a little variation to the sounds, and mono legato mode is activated by a button. Below are the two step sequencers, one for volume and one for filtering, then at the very bottom of the GUI are the effects controls.
Sephardic Vocals is very attractively priced for such a detailed and beautifully performed library.
All the vocal parts are beautifully executed, though I did hear some slight noise at the ends of the Solo multi‑samples when auditioned in isolation. Personally I would have liked more playable solo sounds, vowel sequences and so on, but this library really focuses on putting together phrases and song parts and, because you can access any of the elements as WAV files, there’s lots of scope for also working outside of the included instrument. Lastly, Sephardic Vocals is very attractively priced for such a detailed and beautifully performed library — and as far as I know there is no other library like it.