Festival Sefarad Bios

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Festival organizations welcome guest artists and lecturers.

Aj Goldman

Bio coming soon!

Charlie Carillo


Charles M. Carrillo holds a PH.D in anthropology from the University of New Mexico.  Charlie has blended craft, conversation, and innovation throughout his career as a santero, a carver and a painter of images.  Today he is recognized not only as primary authority on this subject but also as the most accomplished  artist practicing in this regional tradition.

Charlie has received many awards, including the Museum of International Fold Art's Hispanic Heritage Award, as well as numerous First Place, Best of Show, and Grand Prize entries I the Annual Traditional
Spanish Market in Santa Fe.

Beth Cohen


Beth Cohen has been honored to serve as Nahalat Shalom’s Cantor and music director since 1995. During this time she has had the opportunity to explore, study, teach, sing and play a variety of Jewish liturgical music and folk music. Some of her favorite music is from the Sephardi traditions- in the Ladino language as well as in Hebrew, Arabic and Turkish.  Beth has been playing guitar and singing since age seven and she holds a Bachelor of Music degree in voice performance from the University of New Mexico.  She is also an accomplished violinist, string musician and music instructor. Since the early 1990’s she has taken many lessons and classes on her violin in maqam – the Arabic modal system, studying with oudist Haig Manoukian z’l, violinist Beth Bahia Cohen, and clarinetist Sonia Tamar Seeman. From 1984-2004, Beth sang with Svirka, Women’s Balkan chorus in which she performed, learned and taught many Sephardic folk songs in Ladino. The chorus also hosted a singing workshop with Judy Frankel z’l.  Beth was strongly influenced by her friendship and musical experiences with Lorenzo (Lawrence) Dominguez z’l, who founded the Sephardic programs at Nahalat Shalom. Lorenzo performed with Beth playing guitar and singing in Alavados Holy Days ensemble and The Rebbe’s Orkestra-klezmer and Judaic band. Beth has studied the Spanish language since she was fourteen, but to her dismay, she does not speak it very well, even though it’s her favorite language to sing in!

Jordi Gendra


Recent implant in Albuquerque from New jersey, Jordi Gendra is born and raised in a converso family in Spain, received his rabbinical ordination from the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College and he holds a Ph. D. on Medieval Jewish History. He has been a congregational rabbi and college professor, He has published on the history of the Jews in Spain and the beginning of the kabbalistic movement.

Monica T. Rodriguez


Monica T. Rodriguez was born and raised in the beautiful Espanola Valley. She is the mother of a son, Michael. She is a sister, an aunt and daughter. She has had roles in La Compania, “The Santero’s Dream Woman”, Matraka Inc, “La Llorna”, the Vortex Theater, “The Farolitos of Christmas”. She was last seen on the NHCC stage with Hembras de Pluma in an original work she wrote, directed and acted entitled “Vera’s Voice” A homage to her mother who has always loved and supported her dreams.  

Polly Tapia Ferber


Percussionist Polly Tapia Ferber is a music educator, performer, and recording artist who specializes in hand percussion from the Middle East, Turkey, North Africa, the Balkans, and Spanish Andalucia. She is noted for her melodic style of playing on darabukah, or doumbek, (Middle Eastern goblet drum), frame drum, riqq (Middle Eastern tambourine) and cajon (Spanish wooden box-drum).

She has traveled to Tunisia, Egypt, Greece, Spain, Morocco, and Israel seeking out the finest teachers and performing with some of the world’s most renowned musicians. Polly maintains an active performing and teaching schedule in the U.S., including the EEFC Workshops since 1978. She plays music with New York-based Middle Eastern Jazz group Taksim, Raif Hyseni’s Albanian-American Ensemble, Dolunay NYC, Fetatones, Middle Eastern rock band Rubi Ate the Fig, Latin world music Trova, and the Iberian Spanish ensemble ¡Viva La Pepa!.

Polly lives in Santa Fe, NM, where she is on the faculty at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design Contemporary Music Program where she teaches percussion, classes in world music, and directs the Balkan/Mideast Ensemble. Her playing is featured in recordings such as Near East Far West, Tulku 2, Inlakesh, ShamanSong, Dezeo, Buddah Bar, Anoush, Mezze, Kulak Misafiri, ¡Viva La Pepa!, and the soon-to-be-released Dolunay.

Her CDs can be purchased at CD Baby and Eastern Europen Folklife Center.

Ronaldo Baca

Bio coming soon!

Salomé Martínez


Salomé Martínez received an M.A. in Theatre Arts from UNM, and a B.A. Theatre (Acting) with a Minor in Music. She is Artistic Director of Teatro Nuevo Mexico (est. 2003). She is an award-winning director and educator with 17 local, national and international awards and she was included in the publication of the Hispanic Women’s Council book entitled “Mujeres Valerosos.” Her last film project was “Frontera,” filmed in NM with actors Evan Langoria and Ed Harris. She taught high school and university classes in theatre for 18 years.


 Sandra Marroquin-Evans

Bio coming soon!