Rebbe’s Orkestra in Albuquerque, NM

The Rebbe’s Orkestra presents an evening of Klezmer, Mediterranean, East European
and Middle Eastern music for a concert and dance party at Winning Coffee in
Saturday, June 16th from 7:30pm to 9:30pm.
Winning Coffee,
111 Harvard Dr. SE (south of Central Ave. near UNM),
Albuquerque, NM, 505-266-0000.
Admission is $5.00 at the door: 12 and under are free.

To learn all about the concert and the musicians, keep reading here…

Join the southwest’s favorite klezmer band –
THE REBBE’S ORKESTRA – for a concert of Sephardic, Mediterranean, Eastern European
and Middle Eastern music, on Saturday, June 16th from 7:30pm to 9:30pm. The evening
will begin with the concert which will also include folk songs in Ladino
(Judeo-Spanish), Arabic, Greek and Romany. Then push back the chairs for a Klezmer
dance party! Simple line and circle dances (no partner needed) will be quick-taught
and led by Michele Diel, who is a member of Rikud Yiddish dance troupe. The concert
and dance party will take place at Winning Coffee, 111 Harvard Dr. SE (south of
Central Ave. near UNM), Albuquerque, NM, 505-266-0000. Admission is $5.00 at the
door: 12 and under are free.

The Rebbe’s Orkestra is an Albuquerque-based ensemble that has been performing
throughout the Southwest since 1996. The ensemble plays an eclectic variety of
Jewish music: Klezmer (Jewish instrumental dance music of Eastern Europe),
Middle-Eastern and Israeli pieces, Yiddish theater and folk songs, Sephardic
(Judeo-Spanish), Spanish New Mexican, Mediterranean, Balkan, Roma (Gypsy), even
Jewish Jazz & Chamber-style Jewish music. Over the years, the group has explored the
ways in which Jewish people over the centuries have interacted with surrounding
musical traditions to produce music which is unique and uplifting. From Spain to
Iraq, Poland to the Mediterranean: The Rebbe’s Orkestra plays tunes and songs as
widely divergent as the geography and yet with surprisingly similar themes. The
band’s set for June 16th will include lots of Klezmer dance music (the group’s
specialty), several songs in Ladino–the ancient language of the Spanish Jews, an
Andalusian mushwasha — an ancient Arabic poem set to music, an Iraqi-Jewish
instrumental piece, an Arabic classical instrumental piece, as well as songs in
Yiddish, Romany and Greek. Traditional improvisational techniques called doina,
taxim, and vorshpiel will be used freely in many of the band’s arrangements.

The Rebbe’s Orkestra’s (pronounced to rhyme with “the Debbie’s Orchestra”) musicians
are: Beth Cohen-violin, mandolin/tenor banjo/vocals; Debo Orlofsky-accordion/vocals;
Randy Edmunds-guitar/ Macedonian tambura/vocals; Barbara Friedman-bass/Macedonian
tambura/vocals with special guest percussionist Mary Masuk-doumbek and riq.

Beth Cohen is a well known vocalist, string musician and music teacher in the
Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas. She has been running her own music studio in
Albuquerque since 1983, teaching voice, guitar, violin/fiddle and piano to students
of all ages. In 1991, Beth received her Bachelor’s of Music degree in voice
performance from the University of New Mexico. Since 1995, she has been the musical
director and Cantorial soloist at ABQ’s Congregation Nahalat Shalom where she also
teaches and directs the 20-piece Community Klezmer Band, teaches Bar/Bat Mitzvah
prep classes, and organizes the annual renowned Klezmer music and dance festival
“Klezmerquerque”. Ms. Cohen is the violin/fiddle, piano & voice teacher at Santa Fe
School for the Arts and she is an experienced band and orchestra teacher. Beth
began singing and accompanying her voice with the guitar when she was 7, studied
jazz piano from ages 9-17, and was the recipient of many music awards and
apprenticeships throughout her childhood. Growing up in a home where both parents
spoke Yiddish, Beth learned to sing in Yiddish–although she has (regrettably!)
never learned to speak this expressive language. Since 1996, Beth has performed with
bassist Barbara Friedman in Goddess of Arno-Balkan band & from 1984-1999 she was a
member of the popular Svirka-women’s Balkan chorus. Beth also performs with the
vocal trio Earth Angels, the folk trio Village Idioms and she has played in all
kinds of ensembles from Celtic to classical & reggae to blues.

Debo Orlofsky is The Rebbe’s Orkestra’s newest member: ‘Debo’ (a.k.a. Debra
Orlofsky) has been singing in and around ABQ since the late 1980’s. Following a few
stints in hippie-punk and goth-rock bands, Debo performed as the lead singer of
Splinter Fish, a seminal alternative band on the ABQ music scene. Well-known for
her powerhouse vocals and presentation, inventive lyrics and percussion, and
heart-grabbing harmonizing, Debo was invited to sing with Animal Opera, a local
group of “all-stars” that rocked the NM desert with African dance music. She was
also part of the world beat rock band, Manna from Nowhere. Debo sings and plays
accordion and piano in the rockin’ country blues band, Alpha Blue, showcasing her
original songs. In her own Big Rock Studio, she engineered and mixed Alpha Blue’s
debut CD, “Agave Summer” – a spaghetti-western/middle-eastern folk-rock opera –
which was released in the summer of 2004. Debo studied classical piano as a child,
picking up the accordion by accident. Knowing how little respect the accordion has
had in American pop music since the guitar assumed preeminence, she tried to put it
down but found it was much too tightly strapped on. After a few close encounters of
the Klezmer kind, she found her way to The Rebbe’s Orkestra and decided it was

Randy Edmunds is one of the original members of The Rebbe’s Orkestra. He is an
experienced rhythm guitarist and provides a unique texture and fullness to the
band’s harmonic layer. Randy’s use of the guitar as a melody instrument lends an
unusual flavor to klezmer music, which is often associated with reed and brass
instruments. He also plays the Macedonian tambura on several of the group’s
Sephardic pieces, and his lyric baritone voice adds another thread to the tapestry
of sound woven by the band. He studied violin as a child in his home state of
Louisiana and later picked up the guitar when he attended college in Texas. Randy’s
musical roots lie in the American genres of old-timey, gospel, bluegrass and
country-western. After discovering and learning some Yiddish folk songs from a song
book, he eventually expanded his repertoire to include Israeli, Greek, Rom (Gypsy),
and Balkan folk songs. Randy performs in a duo with Beth Cohen, as a guest artist
with Svirka and Goddess of Arno, and was a member of Sandanski men’s Balkan Chorus.
He is the guitarist in the folk trio Village Idioms and he’s a special guest artist
in The Nahalat Shalom Community Klezmer band. Randy also works part-time as a
personal care attendant for disabled people.

Barbara Friedman provides the solid foundation for the band’s rhythmic drive. For
over 25 years she has been singing and playing music professionally as a member of
Svirka women’s Balkan Chorus, Goddess of Arno, Erenler, Wired for Sound and other
Middle Eastern and Balkan groups in New Mexico. An avid collector, student and
performer of Eastern European music, Barbara regularly attends workshops and studies
with the top musicians and ethnomusicologists from Europe and the USA. In addition
to adding rhythmic solidity to the band, her bass playing adds a melodic layer to
their sound: often lending a trombone-like quality to the melody line. Barbara is
also skilled on the Macedonian tambura, which she plays on some of the band’s
Sephardic pieces and her powerful voice adds another layer to the band’s dynamic
sound. At Congregation Nahalat Shalom, Barbara performs in Alavados-Holy Days band
and she is a special guest member of the Community klezmer band. She also works part
time as a public health nurse in Albuquerque, NM.

For more information about the band contact:
Beth A. Cohen at (505)243-6276,


For information about Winning Coffee (venue) call: (505)266-0000