Lots of famous musicians get their starts doing something else – bartending, working in a record store, teaching kids to play guitar, whatever. But Jesse Cohen, percussionist for the band Tanlines, has a more unusual day job. He works at Yivo, the Institute for Jewish Research, which was originally founded in Vilna, Lithuania, and is now housed in New York City.
Cohen told Spin that the job made perfect sense for him. “In college I studied Eastern European History and Jewish history. hen I finished college, I got a job working at this library as a researcher, and from there I became a photo archivist. Basically, if you’re looking for [photographs] from Poland in the 1920s or Jewish immigrants in New York or the Yiddish Theater — anything that touches on that world — we are the main place and I am the expert.”
Right now, Cohen is working on a project for the Russian Jewish History Museum in Moscow.