Ethnographer and performer Ethel Raim is the artistic director of New York's celebrated Center for Traditional Music and Dance (CTMD). For almost five decades, her research on ethnic music and work with community-based traditional artists has had a profound impact on the American musical landscape. Beginning at a time when, to most Americans, "folk music" was practically synonymous with rural and Anglo-Saxon vocal and instrumental traditions, Raim drew her inspiration from the unaccompanied singing of East European Yiddish songs she grew up with in New York. In the early 1960s she founded, directed, and sang with the Pennywhistlers--the pioneering, a cappella women’s vocal ensemble, whose recordings of traditional Yiddish, Russian and Balkan music were instrumental in seeding dozens of women’s vocal ensembles across America. She has enjoyed a long-standing career as a performer, workshop leader/singing teacher and recording artist (Elektra/Nonesuch), and is widely recognized for her expertise in both Yiddish and Balkan vocal traditions.