Aviva Chernick – La Serena – Album cover

"...a great antidote for the current state of the world."
— Midwest Record





Nominated for the 2021
Canadian Folk Music Awards
(World Music Album of the Year)


Praise for la serena

"Chernick’s vocals are pure in expression and unencumbered…

A wonderful collection of meaningful tunes that will leave your heart longing for more.

La Serena, the central piece on the album, is a stunning heartfelt tune that seduces with its pure vocal expression. "

— Ivana Popova, Wholenote Magazine

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La Serena

La Serena is primarily a collection of tunes from the Jews of Spain and the Balkans, traditional and original melodies with rich poetry in Judeo‑Spanish (also known as Ladino), as well as some additional treasures in Hebrew .

This album expands on the limited notion of La Serena (the Siren) as a female creature whose voice is intended solely for seduction and destruction. The voice and the music are lush, bold and joyous.

About Aviva Chernick

Photo by Dahlia Katz

Aviva Chernick is a queer, Jewish artist, a white settler based in Tkaronto (Toronto). Aviva sings in Hebrew, Ladino, and English, and her soulful, soaring vocal sound arises from a training and aesthetic that desires to be unencumbered by any particular style. She was the first Canadian to be awarded a Virginia Folk Life apprenticeship to continue study with ‘American National Treasure’ and Sephardic musician Flory Jagoda whose music she celebrates in La Serena. As a founding member and lead singer of the Canadian World Music group Jaffa Road, and while leading her own ensembles, Aviva has toured across Canada, the United States, Israel and Brazil. Aviva is also trained in the Cantorial Arts and as a meditation teacher through the Institute for Jewish Spirituality. She leads the meditation and singing community in Toronto called neySHEV.

Aviva’s solo and collaborative recordings have garnered nominations and awards including Canadian Folk Music Award (CFMA) nominations for her albums La Serena (2020) and When I Arrived You Were Already There (2012), JUNO nominations for both of Jaffa Road’s albums  Where The Light Gets In (2012) and Sun Place (2010), a CFMA Award for Where The Light Gets  In and a CFMA nomination for The Huppah Project’s Under the Canopy (2009).  Aviva and her co-writers from Jaffa Road won the John Lennon International Songwriting Contest Grand Prize for their rendition of “Lo Yisa Goy”, a prayer for peace. She was co-writer for “Ana El Na” which received an industry nod from OCFF (Ontario Council of Folk Festivals), winning the prestigious “Songs From the Heart” award.

Photo by Dahlia Katz

The La Serena Quartet

La Serena is brought to life in concert by the full quartet of Aviva on vocals, accompanied by the textural, reverberant guitar of Joel Schwartz, the exotic groove of Justin Gray on bass and bass veena, and the virtuosic Persian hand percussion and drum kit of Naghmeh Farahmand. Special guests on the recording include Ernie Tollar (winds), Maryem Tollar (vocals), Derek Gray (drum kit and percussion), Lyle Molzan (drum kit) and Aaron Lightstone (oud).

This is Nona Flory.

Studying the Balkan Ladino tradition with Flory Jagoda was one of the major inspirations for this album. Flory passed away on January 29, 2021.

Read Aviva's tribute to her dear mentor:

Remembering Flory Jagoda
Flory Jagoda


Monday, September 16, 2019 — 7:30pm
Or Shalom Congregation — London, Ontario
Doors open at 7pm


Thursday, September 19, 2019 — 8pm
918 Bathurst — Toronto, Ontario
Doors open at 7:30pm


Join Aviva and her quartet: Justin Gray (bass and bass veena), Joel Schwartz (electric and resonator guitar), and Naghmeh Farahmand (Persian percussion), with guests Ernie Tollar (winds), Maryem Tollar (vocals).


Thursday, May 20, 2021

Tiferet: Jewish Music Through the Ages

Aviva Chernick and conductor Evan Mitchell join London Symphonia for this unique concert experience that touches on themes of beauty, spirituality and balance through the rich tapestry of music from Jewish origins. The soulful music of Ernest Bloch and Gustav Mahler is woven together with songs by Chernick, inspired by her diverse musical legacies and the teachings of her mentor, Sephardic musician Flory Jagoda.

Livestream + Limited in-person tickets available.


"There is drama and mystery in the awakening and unwinding of each melody."
— Paul Corby, Roots Music Canada

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generously supported by:

Canada Council for the Arts Ontario Arts Council
Justin Gray, Aviva Chernick, & Joel Schwartz playing music and feeling festive