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Ethel Raim

Yiddish Song

Widely recognized for her expertise in both Yiddish and Balkan vocal traditions, Ethel Raim is a master singer of unaccompanied Yiddish ballads and lyrical love songs. Raim first gained recognition with American audiences during the folk revival of the 1960s as the co-founder and director of the influential all-women’s a cappella group, The Pennywhistlers. She has had a distinguished career as a performer, workshop leader, master singing teacher, and recording artist for the Elektra and Nonesuch labels. Raim has taught unaccompanied Yiddish singing at Yiddish Summer Weimar, KlezKamp, KlezKanada, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and at Yiddish New York. She conducts singing workshops and master classes at universities and community centers here and abroad. A renowned folk arts specialist and cultural activist, Raim served as co-director of the Balkan Arts Center (subsequently the Ethnic Folk Arts Center and today the Center for Traditional Music and Dance) for over 25 years, and as artistic director until her retirement in 2018 . For her profound career impact on preserving immigrant performing arts traditions in the US, in 2018 Raim was named the Bess Lomax Hawes National Heritage Fellow by the National Endowment for the Arts (a lifetime honor), and was previously the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Benjamin Botkin Award from the American Folklore Society.

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