John Cohen (musician)
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John Cohen (born August 2, 1932, Queens, New York) is a founding member of the New Lost City Ramblers as well as a musicologist, photographer and filmmaker of note. Some of his best known images document the Abstract Expressionist scene centered around New York's Cedar Bar; gallery happenings by early performance artists; young Bob Dylan's arrival in New York; Beat Generation writers during the filming of Robert Frank and Alfred Leslie's film Pull My Daisy; and the "old time" musicians of Appalachia. (The title of Cohen's 1962 film, High Lonesome Sound, has become synonymous with that music.) He has been one of the most important "discoverers" of traditional musicians and singers, finding and recording Dillard Chandler, Roscoe Holcomb, and many banjo players, most notably on the album High Atmosphere.
Beyond the United States, Cohen traveled extensively to Peru, driven by a fascination for the weaving and lifestyle of the native Andean population. His field recording of a Peruvian wedding song is included on the Voyager Golden Record, attached to the Voyager spacecraft.
He currently resides in the lower Hudson Valley of New York.
He has taught photography and drawing at Purchase College. He organized a gallery show of Peruvian retablos at the college as well.
The Library of Congress has recently acquired John Cohen's archive, which includes his films, photographs, music recordings and other historic ephemera.
- There Is No Eye: John Cohen Photographs, introduction by Greil Marcus. New York: powerHouse Books, 2001. ISBN 1-57687-107-X, ISBN 1-57687-119-3
- Past, Present, Peru, Göttingen, Germany: Steidl, 2010. ISBN 978-3-86930-103-7
- The High Lonesome Sound (1962)
- Fifty Miles from Times Square (1970)
- The End of an Old Song (1972). A DVD version is in print as part of Dark Holler: Old Love Songs and Ballads (2005-09-27). Washington: Smithsonian Folkways.
- Q'eros: The Shape of Survival (1979)
- Peruvian Weaving: a continuous warp (1980)
- Sara and Maybelle (1981)
- Gypsies Sing Long Ballads (1982)
- Mountain Music of Peru (1984)
- Dancing with the Incas (1990)
- Carnival in Q'eros (1992)
- Play on John: A Life in Music (2009) on Smithsonian Networks
Selected discography (as producer)
- High Atmosphere: Ballads and Banjo Tunes from Virginia and North Carolina (1975)
- There Is No Eye: Music for Photographs, Smithsonian Folkways SFW CD 40091 (2001), companion to the book
- Back Roads to Cold Mountain (2004)
- Kurutz, Steve. "allmusic ((( John Cohen > Overview )))". AllMusic. Retrieved 1 Jan 2009.
- A Vision Shared, Austin Chronicle, weeklywire.com, 18 August 1997. Retrieved on 2 May 2009.
- Ezra Glinter, "The Revivalist," The Jewish Daily Forward, December 2010. Retrieved on 6 January 2011
- Official website
- Temporary up-to-date website with his photographs and cv
- Website of L. Parker Stephenson Photographs, New York, which represents Cohen's photographic work
- Webcast of a Library of Congress presentation, "'The High Lonesome Sound Revisited': Documenting Traditional Culture in America" (2009)
- American Standard Time presents John Cohen, a 2011 interview
- "The Revivalist: How John Cohen Found Folk Music and (Accidentally) Inspired a Klezmer Renaissance"
- Matthews, Scott (2008-08-06). "John Cohen in Eastern Kentucky: Documentary Expression and the Image of Roscoe Halcomb During the Folk Revival". Southern Spaces.
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