Flory Jagoda

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Flory Jagoda
Flora Kabilio

(1926-12-21) 21 December 1926 (age 92)
ResidenceVirginia, America
OccupationMusician, singer-songwriter
Musical career
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals, Accordion
Associated acts

Flory Jagoda (born Flora Kabilio on 21 December 1926) is a Bosnian Jewish born American guitarist, composer and singer-songwriter. She is known for her interpretation of Ladino songs and the Bosnian folk ballads, sevdalinka.[1]


Born as Flora Kabilio to a Bosnian Jewish family in 1926, she grew up in the Bosnian towns of Vlasenica and her birth city of Sarajevo. She was raised in the Sephardic tradition in the musical Altaras family.

When the Nazis invaded Bosnia in April 1941, 17-year-old Kabilio and her family escaped Bosnia separately before all meeting up again in Italy.[2] While in Italy, she met and fell in love with an American soldier named Harry Jagoda. She arrived in northern Virginia, in the USA as a war bride in 1946. Prior to this, she had been interned on the island of Korčula off the Dalmatian Coast during the war.

The Sephardic community of Sarajevo and its surrounding communities were nearly obliterated during World War II.[3]

Jagoda's recording Kantikas Di Mi Nona (Songs of My Grandmother) consists of songs her grandmother, a Sephardic folksinger, taught her as a young girl. Following the release of her second recording, Memories of Sarajevo, she recorded La Nona Kanta (The Grandmother Sings), songs she herself wrote for her grandchildren.

Now in her 90's, Flory has stated that Arvoliko: The Little Tree, released in 2006, will be her final solo recording. The tree, located in Bosnia, is said to be the only marker of the mass grave of 42 massacred members of the Altaras family. She refers to her four recordings as representing the four musical stages of her life. In 2006 she also released a series of duets with Ramón Tasat, Kantikas de amor i vida: Sephardic Duets.[4]

Ladino is in danger of extinction but it is experiencing a minor revival among Sephardic communities, especially in music. Jagoda is a leader in this revival.[5][6]

In 2002 she received a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts for her efforts in passing on the tradition of Ladino music.[7] In 2002, Ankica Petrovic produced a documentary film about Flory and her story. Despite being in her 90's, Flory Jagoda continues to teach, write, and perform concerts.



  • Kantikas Di Mi Nona
  • Memories of Sarajevo
  • La Nona Kanta (1992)
  • Arvoliko (2006)
  • Kantikas de amor i vida: Sephardic Duets (2006) Duets with Ramón Tasat


  • The Key From Spain: The Songs and Stories of Flory Jagoda (2002) A documentary film by Ankica Petrovic
  • Flory's Flame" (2014) A documentary film by Curt Fissel and Ellen Friedland.


The Flory Jagoda Songbook: Memories of Sarajevo. New York: Tara Publications (1993).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Showcase celebrates Virginian artisans". Cavalier Daily. 25 September 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  2. ^ "Painstakingly restored accordion saved young girl's life in World War II and launched her calling in music preservation". Daily Progress. 5 October 2014. Retrieved 18 October 2014.
  3. ^ Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia, "Yugoslavia"
  4. ^ "Two new albums by Flory Jagoda" by Judith Cohen, Klezmershack, 10 February 2006]
  5. ^ VOA News (27 March 2007). "Musician Embraces Ancient Musical Roots". VOA News. Voice of America. Archived from the original on 17 November 2008. Retrieved 1 January 2009.
  6. ^ Philadelphia CityPaper, 30 March 2000. Archived 7 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "NEA National Heritage Fellowships: Flory Jagoda". www.arts.gov. National Endowment for the Arts. Retrieved 26 October 2017.

External links[edit]