Trio Sefardi is inspired by a passion for Sephardic music, playing with La Rondinella, the Western Wind, and National Heritage Fellow Flory Jagoda. When the Sephardic Jews were forced into exile from Spain and Portugal in the late fifteenth century, many settled in other Mediterranean countries but preserved their native language, Ladino, and their oral culture. Flory Jagoda was born into the Sephardic community of Sarajevo, Bosnia, a member of the Sephardic Jewish community. Through her “nona,” her mother’s mother, Flory learned songs that had been passed down among the Sephardi for generations, as well as absorbing the Balkan region's cultural traditions. Jagoda escaped the destruction of Sarajevo's Jewish community, eventually arriving in the United States after World War II. She has been recognized as a critically important carrier of a unique musical heritage and also as a composer and arranger of new Sephardic songs. Since moving to Virginia, Jagoda has taught her music to many, and in 2002 apprenticed gifted singer Susan Gaeta of Burke, Virginia, through the Virginia Folklife Apprenticeship Program. While Gaeta still performs with Jagoda regularly, in 2010 she formed her own group, Trio Sefardi, with multi-instrumentalists Howard Bass and Tina Chancey. The group combines a respect for Sephardic tradition with a creative approach to arranging and scoring, bringing the vibrant past into the living present. Trio Sefardi has performed at the Kennedy Center, Washington Folk Festival, the National Gallery of Art, and many other Washington-area venues. Their first CD, Sefardic Celebration, was released in 2011, and a new recording, Kaminos, with guest percussionist Brian Kay, will be available in fall 2016.