Voice of the Turtle, a quartet of musicians consisting of Judith Wachs, Lisle Kulbach, Derek Burrows, and Jay Rosenberg. have been pioneers in the performance of the rich vocal repertoire of the Sephardic Jews using traditional instruments such as the 'ud, guitar, saz, violin, psaltery, and many others.
Founded in 1978, Voice of the Turtle has recorded 12 albums of Sephardic music, toured around the world, and delighted audiences across the United States in live performance, television, and radio.
Derek Burrows was born in the Bahamas and came to the United States to study at Berklee College of Music. Widely known as a story teller and educator, he brings to Voice of the Turtle a dramatic flair, instrumental skills, and balladry.
He has also created a feature length film called "Before the Trees Was Strange", a personal documentary about love, race and discovery.
Jay Rosenberg is a founding member of VOT. His talent on classical guitar, and passionate oud work have been widely noted throughout his career. As singer and multi-instrumentalist, he gives an unmistakable voice to Sephardic music on all 12 albums with Voice of the Turtle. He is also a dedicated teacher of music to children and adults.
Multi-Instrumentalist Lisle Kulbach brings her many talents to VOT, which she co-founded. She is known for her plaintively beautiful violin playing, versatile kemenje playing, and expressive singing. A winner of the renowned Bodky award, she takes personal and professional interest in preserving and relating the many experiences of the American immigrant community through her music and her teaching.
Founding member and Artistic Director of Voice of the Turtle, Judith Wachs grew up surrounded by Jewish music, but only discovered the Spanish Jewish repertoire later in life. It became her passion and mission to research, perform and promote this (at the time) little heard body of songs, and she successfully pursued this aim with Voice of the Turtle for 30 years.