Rest_In_Peace's current selection is:
Oldtone Roots Festival Appearance
by The Downhill Strugglers, with John Cohen, banjo/lead vocal
John Cohen (1932 to 2019) was an American 'folk' musician, musicologist, photographer and tutor. John Cohen was born in Queens, New York, USA, on August 2nd 1932 to a Jewish shoe store owner. While growing up on Long Island, he absorbed the sound of music from listening to Woody Guthrie records while learning to play the guitar and, later, the banjo. At Yale University, he organised 'folk music' events on campus and began photographing 'folk' musicians. He secured a master's degree in fine arts from the University in 1957, and a year later joined the 'New Lost City Ramblers' alongside Mike Seeger and Tom Paley. As a photographer, some of his best known images documented the 'Abstract Expressionist' scene centered on New York's Cedar Bar as well as gallery happenings by early performance artists and a young Bob Dylan arriving in New York. "Beat Generation" writers were also featured, in addition to the "old time" musicians of Appalachia. As an important "discoverer" of traditional musicians and singers, he notably recorded the likes of Dillard Chandler, Roscoe Holcomb, and a number of banjo players who later appeared on the album "High Atmosphere". Beyond the US, he travelled extensively to Peru, driven by a fascination for the weaving and lifestyle of the native Andean population, and his field recording of a Peruvian wedding song was included on the "Voyager Golden Record" launched into space on the famous explorative spacecraft. He was married to Penny (Seeger) from 1943 to 1993, and they had two children. From 1972 to 1997, he was a professor of visual arts at SUNY Purchase College where he taught photography and drawing. The Library of Congress acquired his archive in 2011 - it includes his films, photographs, music recordings and other historic ephemera - and his work can also be found in the permanent collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Detroit Institute of Arts, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Morgan Library and Museum, Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Museum of Modern Art New York, plus many others. While living latterly in the lower Hudson Valley of New York, he frequently performed with a 'folk' ensemble called the 'Down Hill Strugglers' (featured here). John Cohen died at his home in New York on September 16th 2019, aged 87.
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Posted: 21st October 2019
Hundreds of very talented musicians pass away each year, some without much recognition at all. On "Rest In Peace", I aim to give them a fitting 'send-off', with a decent Tribute. I hope you will join me in marking their passing.....
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