Ruth Rubin

Ruth (b Rivkah) Rubin (b Rosenblatt). Folksinger, ethnomusicologist, collector, b Montreal 1 Sep 1906. Born to Jewish parents who had immigrated to Canada from Russia, she sang during her youth in Montreal but only began to study seriously after she moved to New York in the 1920s.

Rubin, Ruth

Ruth (b Rivkah) Rubin (b Rosenblatt). Folksinger, ethnomusicologist, collector, b Montreal 1 Sep 1906. Born to Jewish parents who had immigrated to Canada from Russia, she sang during her youth in Montreal but only began to study seriously after she moved to New York in the 1920s. Her interest in Jewish folk music led her in 1944 to specialize in the field. She began to give lecture recitals in New York; their success brought her engagements elsewhere in the USA and in Canada. At the same time she continued her research and collected songs. Her authority in the field established, she began to publish articles. Her first book, A Treasury of Jewish Folk Song (New York 1950), was received with enthusiasm and was followed by Voices of a People (New York 1963) and Jewish Folk Songs (Oak 1965). Her study 'Yiddish folk songs current in French Canada' appeared in the Journal of the IFMC (vol 12, January 1960).

Beginning in 1945, Rubin made many 78s for Oriole. Her first LP, Jewish Children's Songs and Games (1954, with banjo accompaniment by Pete Seeger), was also released by Oriole. For Folkways she made the LPs Jewish Folk Songs (FW-8740) and Jewish Life (FG-3801).She also recorded Yiddish Love Songs (Riverside RLP-12-647) and Ruth Rubin Sings Yiddish Folksongs (Prestige International INT-13019). Rubin appeared several times in Canada, notably at the Pavilion of Judaism of Expo 67. Following one of her concerts at Carnegie Recital Hall, Robert Shelton called her 'one of the last major authorities on Yiddish Folk Song,' and noted, 'It was a fine performance by a scholar who knows how to breathe the passion of human experience into song' (New York Times, 22 Apr 1968). In 1967 Rubin opened an archives bearing her name in Haifa, Israel. She has also deposited research files and 2200 songs at the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Ottawa.


Further Reading

  • Encyclopedia of Folk, Country and Western Music (New York 1969)