Judith Cohen – On the roads of the world

A radio program of the European Institute of Jewish Music hosted by Hervé Roten


Singer, player of medieval music instruments and traditional folk instruments, ethnomusicologist and teacher at the university, Judith Cohen was born on December 9, 1949 in Montreal (Canada).

At the end of the 1970’s, influenced by the hippie movement, she travelled the world and impregnated various musical repertoires : dances and music from the Balkans, regional music from Spain and Portugal, French songs from Canada (Quebec, Acadie, Franco-Ontario…), Yiddish songs (spoken by her grand-parents) and Judeo-Spanish songs…

In 1981, she joined the band Gerineldo, a Sephardi ensemble, specialized in the Judeo-Spanish song repertoire from Morocco, led and created by Oro Anahory-Librowicz, with Kelly Sultan Amar and the legendary Solly Lévy. Afterwards, they were joined by the violonist, ud player and percussionist Charly Edry, and they toured all over the world.

In 1989, Judith Cohen supported her Master thesis on The role of women-musicians in Medieval Spain in the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities (University of Montreal). In 1991, rewarded with a research grant from the Toronto University, she started post-doctoral studies on the Judeo-Spanish songs and led Balkan Vocal Ensemble while teaching at the York University of Toronto. A part of her work was dedicated to the role of music by the Crypto-Jews of Portugal.

Since the years 2000, Judith Cohen pursues her ethnomusicologic research and continues to perform concert and to give lectures on the various traditions: Judeo-Spanish, Yiddish, Spanish, Canadian, French, Balkanic and medieval, while playing the vielle, ud, darbouka, mountain dulcimer, and other old string and wind instruments.

Judith Cohen, will be on the phone from Toronto to talk about her thrilling life and research. The program will be, as always, illustrated with many sound examples, and commented by Judith Cohen.

Visit Judith Cohen’s website
Browse the archives about Judith Cohen

herve_photo_retouche_fond_uni_bleu_500px.jpgOfficer of the Ordre of Arts and letters, PhD in musicology at Paris University Sorbonne, prize-winning graduate from the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique et de Danse de Paris, Hervé Roten is the director of the European Institute of Jewish Music since its creation in 2006.
Ethnomusicologist, he quickly developed an interest in the safeguard and digitization of archives, subjects he taught for several years in Reims and Marne-La-Vallée universities.
Author of many articles, books and recordings related to Jewish music, producer of radio programs, Hervé Roten is recognized today as one of the best specialists of Jewish music in the world.

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