You are here

Share Share Share Share Share Share Share

Folk Music

Mama Cass Elliot

A folk singer with a gift for turning formerly up-tempo tunes like “Dream a Little Dream of Me,” into unforgettable torch songs, Cass Elliot helped define the sound of her generation as a member of the Mamas and the Papas.

Corinne Chochem

Corinne Chochem helped popularize Israeli folk dance as a choreographer, dance teacher, and the driving force behind albums of folk-dancing music.

Sophie Maslow

Sophie Maslow blended classical, modern, and folk traditions in her dance and choreography and drew inspiration from politics and modern folk music to create vibrant new pieces that engaged audiences in new ways.

Alma Gluck

Alma Gluck began her career as an opera singer, but it was her love of American folk songs that made her a bestselling musical artist.

Debbie Friedman

Debbie Friedman’s music transformed prayers for Jews across the movements.

Debbie Friedman

Debbie Friedman was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist, who recorded more than 20 albums. Friedman’s music is living Judaism, teaching children and adults to love prayers that might otherwise have remained strings of foreign words, unrelated to their lives.

Sing a New Song: Jews, Music, and the Civil Rights Movement

In the 1960s, American Jews made up a large percentage of those white Americans who participated in the Civil Rights Movement. Many of them were motivated by liberal American values, Jewish values, and a belief that they understood the African American experience. At rallies, sit-ins, and marches they stood shoulder to shoulder with African Americans, and they were strengthened by the same freedom songs. This Go & Learn guide uses the letter of a Jewish civil rights activist and several freedom songs to explore how this music, based in African American church music, was able to cross racial and religious boundaries and build community.

Making Family Stories into Art

This weekend I was lucky enough to see two talented Jewish women make memorable art from their family stories. On Friday night, I went to Club Passim, the legendary folk venue in Harvard Square, to hear one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Lucy Kaplansky. Her set mixed old favorites with songs from her new CD, “Reunion.” The title track tells the story of two family reunions. The first in 1971, when she was 11, began at her grandmother’s bakery and continued at a fancy restaurant. The second “40 years on,” moved her to write “Here we are together/our fathers gone/ just daughters and sons.”

Dear Aly: I could nevah hava (nagila) 'nuff of you!

Dear Aly,

Though you’re ten years my junior, you inspire me. At five feet two inches, you are strong—in body and spirit; you are open and kind; you are level-headed and take things as they come.

Adrienne Cooper, 1946 - 2011

I first met Adrienne on erev Nitl, Christmas Eve, 1987, and saw her for the last time on khamishi shel khanike, the night of December 24 of the calendar year just ended. Jeffrey Shandler has written in an obituary that he published last week that “Adrienne taught us all to sing.” I was one of her less successful experiments. I don’t sing, I could speak Yiddish long before I met her.

Pages

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Folk Music." (Viewed on July 29, 2014) <http://jwa.org/topics/folk-music>.

Donate

Help us elevate the voices of Jewish women.

donate now

Sign Up for JWA eNews

 

Discover Education Programs

Join our growing community of educators.

view programs