Virginia Folklife Program

Virginia Foundation for the Humanities

Flory Jagoda

Posted: 2009-09-28 | Categories: Folklife FieldNotes |
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“Don’t open your mouth. Just sit and play. Keep on playing.”

Flory Jagoda (photo right) sings songs she learned from her nona (grandmother) as a child in pre-WWII Sarajevo – songs which have been passed down in her family since they fled the Spanish Inquisition in 1492.  All of her ballads are sung in Ladino, a Judeo-Spanish language dating back centuries.  Today, Flory is known as “the keeper of the flame” of the once rich Saphardic Jewish song tradition. In 2002, Flory received a National Heritage Fellowship, a remarkable honor bestowed upon only four other Virginians in the past.

I visited with Flory at her home in Northern Virginia and she told me the remarkable role her accordion played as she escaped the holocaust as a young girl.

1 Comment »

  1. Extremely moving. What a lucky woman to have had a musical gift that saved her life and added to the beauty of life for all others.

    Comment by Civia Mclean — December 19, 2009 @ 1:59 pm

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