Woodstock Folk Fest, Part III: Sonia Malkine

April 28th, 2011

Sonia Malkine, an accomplished chanteuse, joined Woodstock’s folk singing establishment in the late 1950s. Together with Eleanor Walden, Sam Eskin, Billy Faier and several others, she co-founded the Woodstock Folk Festival in 1962.

Sonia was born in France in 1923, the daughter of Anarcho-Syndicalist activists. When the Second World War broke out she and her family fled Paris to Toulouse. In 1943 Sonia joined the Spanish Resistance, which fought alongside the French underground forces. She worked until 1945 as a messenger for the Resistance.

Through her mother, May Picqueray, Sonia met and married Georges Malkine, the French Surrealist painter. Together they immigrated to the United States. One day Sonia’s mother came to visit the family in New York City. She learned that Stella Ballantine, niece of her old friend, Emma Goldman, lived in Woodstock, NY. The Malkines visited Woodstock and decided to relocate in 1951. At first they stayed on the Maverick, but in 1952 they moved to the Woodstock hamlet of Shady. Read the rest of this entry »