Around 80 CE (Christian Era), when the Jews were decisively beaten by the Romans and the Temple was destroyed, Jews abandoned or were shipped out of the area around Jerusalem. Thus began over 1900 years of what the Jews called the Diaspora – dispersed from their homeland. They scattered in all directions, but one favored landing place was the Iberian peninsula – later to become Spain. When Moors from North Africa conquered the area around 1000 CE, they appreciated the learning and talents of the resident Jews, elevating them to positions of importance. For hundreds of years, Jews lived a kind of “golden age” in Spain; their language and customs adapting to their new home. The language of these Jews became known as Judaeo-Spanish or Ladino – a base of Middle Spanish mixed with Hebrew, Turkish, Greek, Arabic, and French.
In 1492, Christian monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella (the same pair who financed Christopher Columbus), drove the last of the Moors out of Spain. They offered the remaining Jews (known as Sephardim) a grim choice – convert to Christianity, leave, or die. Most Jews chose to leave, and since the Moslem world was more hospitable, they moved within it – to North Africa, Turkey, Greece, Palestine, etc.
Avre Tu the folk song may have originated in Turkey or Rhodes, but the language is Ladino. Thew lyrics are reprinted below, and I’ve attached an mp3 of the song as recorded by the Israeli duo Parvarim.
Avre Tu the dance was created in 1983 by Israeli choreographer Roni Siman Tov.