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Hermanos Los Coen (Cohen) Interview, Tape 1



Date Created


Augusto Coen (1895-1970) was born in Puerto Rico. Having received music lessons at a young age, Mr Coen was adept at guitar, trumpet and other band instruments. Economic hardship in Puerto Rico forced Mr. Coen to move to New York City where he worked as a postman during the day and a musician at night. Mr. Coen’s first jobs in music were working with African American popular orchestras since Latin music barely existed in New York during the 1920s. In the 1930s, Mr. Coen joined the orchestra of Afro-Cuban Flutist Alberto Socarrás. In 1934, he formed “Augusto Coen y Sus Boricuas,” the first true Latin style big band and became the first important Puerto Rican band leader in the New York City music scene.

This audiotape records Ruth Glasser interviewing Ray Coen, the stepson of Augusto Coen and his widow, Petra Coen, in which they discuss Augusto's life, his classical musical education in Puerto Rico and his music career in New York City.

Later in the interview Petra Coen talks about how she met Augusto Coen in New York City and the changes in “El Barrio.”

Language: English/Spanish




00:46:03 [Side A]
00:46:09 [Side B]




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Digital Format

Preservation file: 24-bit/96 kHZ uncompressed WAV file
Access file: MP3

Physical Format


Majority of the interview is with Ray Coen, Petra Coen joins the interview toward the end of side B. Most of the interview is in Spanish.