A version of this post appeared in Yiddish here.
For musicians traveling through Eastern Europe in search of the authentic Gypsy experience, all roads lead to Bob Cohen in Budapest. A fiddler, scholar and gracious host, Cohen could tell you in which Transylvanian town you can still find an old-time band, or just a lone fiddler. Heck, he could tell you where a fiddler used to live 50 years ago.
This week Cohen arrived in New York to participate in the annual New York World Festival, whose the theme this year was “Music Around the Black Sea,” featuring artists from Romania, Bulgaria and Ukraine, as well as immigrant musicians from those ethnic communities.
On Monday, Cohen spoke at the Center for Jewish History about “The Hidden Musical Treasures of Romania,‟ and on September 25 he will introduce a band that he cannot stop raving about at the Ukrainian East Village Restaurant — “Tecsoi Banda,‟ which is making its U.S. debut. The group is a family band from Tyaciv, Ukraine, in the Carpathians, and plays a diverse range of East European folk music, including Jewish music.