What did you wear today?
Maybe I should have expected it. When I get stressed, I tend to get sick, and fieldwork is a stressful time. Don’t get me wrong, fieldwork is awesome! I’m positive it’s one of the strongest reasons why we all got interested in ethnomusicology in the first place. The chance to see how people make and use their music. And we get to talk, play, sing, and dance WITH them! Where is the downside? Despite its awesomeness, however, fieldwork is always stressful for me, both physically and emotionally. I miss my husband and my family. I worry about making cultural faux pas even as I recognize that it is inevitable that I will do so. All my fieldwork has taken place in big cities, and I’m very much a small town girl.
For our first post of the new year, we are very excited to introduce Dr. Judith Cohen. Dr. Cohen is a Canadian singer and ethnomusicologist specializing in Sephardic, Crypto-Jewish and related music, and the editor-consultant for the Alan Lomax Spain recordings. She did her MA in medieval studies and PhD in ethnomusicology, both at the French-speaking Université de Montréal. Her daughter Tamar Ilana has a biology degree, but works as a professional flamenco singer and dancer, as well as in other music traditions. Dr. Cohen was very gracious in sharing some of her thoughts and experiences of raising her daughter while conducting fieldwork and finishing her PhD. You can learn more about Dr. Cohen’s work on her website and Facebook page.