On January 28, 2023, following International Holocaust Remembrance Day, a crowd gathered in Fairfax at the Pozez JCC of Northern Virginia for an evening of Sephardic music from the Balkans, featuring Trio Sefardi, Danny Elias and the Elias Ladino Ensemble, and organized by Zack Youcha. The concert featured remastered field recordings of Shorty Elias, Danny’s grandmother, singing songs she learned in Ottoman Monastir. This program was supported by the Virginia Folklife Program and our Flory Jagoda Sephardic Music Fund, and we are pleased to release the full performance on YouTube.
Trio Sefardi inherited the musical legacy of Flory Jagoda—a remarkable musician who made it her life’s work to preserve the songs and stories of Sephardic culture—and, through her, the Jews of Sarajevo. Trio member Susan Gaeta has twice been part of our Apprenticeship Program: first, in 2003, as a student to Flory; then, in 2017, as a teacher to Charlottesville singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Gina Sobel.
The Elias Ladino Ensemble’s musical roots come from Ottoman Monastir, now Bitola in North Macedonia, and have been preserved in America for three generations of the Elias family.