Future Is Female - season of collaboration

Lately we have been blessed with so many opportunity to work with so many wonderful artists. And a lot of them women. We’ve met and got to work with some seriously ROCKING ladies.

 Getting ready for the Rags with Natalie

Getting ready for the Rags with Natalie

 With Yula at the backstage

With Yula at the backstage

Last July, we went to Boston to play a couple of shows. The first night there, when we got to the green room, this goddess-like creature comes up to me and says “Not sure you remember me but we played years ago in DC…” And I literally screamed “Yula???” Yula and I played together some years back in DC and we both liked each other but somehow we never connected. And now we were re-united in Boston. The irony is that we both live and have lived in Brooklyn all these years. We promised each other to stay in touch and we did, this time. And we got to work together almost right away for the Rags, the last one at the Hive. The Rags is a multi media work that includes dance, fashion and music. Under the keen eyes of Yula, this seeming chaos comes together as an amazing work of art. I witnessed it. And if I didn’t I wouldn’t have believed it possible! The level of artistry and sophistication was beyond I imagined. And I suspect it is all because of Yula’s uncanny talent to bring out the best in artists. Yula is a producer, director, writer, artistic director, performer…and everything else you can think of! She’s a force to reckon with.

I got to create a new work just for this occasion and my amazing dancer friend Natalie came and collaborated with us. Yula sung with us and a guitarist joined us. Other than the occasional simple chords, the work was done all a cappella. We didn’t want the Rags to end. It was just simply magical. So much talent all squeezed into two nights of performance. Pure energy and fun.

 Performing Floral Poetry at the Rags

Performing Floral Poetry at the Rags

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Our short weekend in Boston didn’t stop at reunion with Yula. Our second performance was at the legendary the Cloud Club. I’ve met Mali who organized the show, again years ago and we stayed in touch. The Cloud Club is a haven for creative people. A sculptor bought two brown stones next to each other in the 70’s and slowly decorated the place with found objects. It’s beautiful and messy, depending on who you are. Of course Rebekah and I just fell in love with it. Did you know that we have a drummer in Boston? Last year, when we were invited to play at a food/wine festival hosted by a local public radio station in Boston, we’ve met and worked with Dylan. He fit the band like he’s been playing with us for a long time and this time was no exception. It was so much fun to play with him for the two shows. And now we also have a bassist. This talented bassist that played with Crystal Bright (who, by the way, also AMAZING!) offered us to be our bassist next time we are in Boston. Time to move to Boston, maybe??? I can’t wait to bet back there!

 Crystal Bright, Mali, Miwa & Rebekah at the Cloud Club

Crystal Bright, Mali, Miwa & Rebekah at the Cloud Club

 With Dylan and our brand new bassist Tony at the Cloud Club

With Dylan and our brand new bassist Tony at the Cloud Club

 
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When we got back from Boston, we went straight into our big show of the summer, Rockwood Stage 2 with Brenda Carsey. Brenda and I met because she plays with Matt, our dummer in LA. Funny we have a drummer in LA and Boston but NOT in NYC. Matt moved LA several years ago and although we miss him dearly, I’m so happy that he connected us. She’s talented and very organized. I love working with her because she will make sure every details is well taken care of, especially promotion. I admire her for many reason but for her organizational skill especially. We’ve been talking about collaborating for a while and I was so excited we got to do it finally! We performed David Bowie’s Starman. We did fairly well considering how little time we had practice. We love playing with Brenda and hope to see her again soon!

 
 With the King of Midnight Radio Show, Charlotte Lily

With the King of Midnight Radio Show, Charlotte Lily

 Fairy Rebels are ready for REVOLUTION!

Fairy Rebels are ready for REVOLUTION!

Sometime life offer you an unexpected adventure and you should jump on it. We did. Jennie’s friend refer to us to a cabaret that was happening in Vinegar Hill and although we didn’t know anything about it except that there are going to be puppets but that was enough for us. Turns out that we get to be fairy rebels (who doesn’t want to be a fairy rebel???) and the people whom we worked with were so talented and generous. The place, hidden by a long drive way in a cozy neighborhood of Brooklyn, in itself was like something out of a fairy tale. It had a large French door, and loft space with plants hanging all over. The walls are all different colors and covered with cabinets with labels like “tiny hats” and “dragon masks.” Unfortunately Jennie couldn’t join us but Rebekah and I had a great time. I even acted a little bit… I’d like to challenge myself now and then. The theatre space keep a close guard on its secret, but I hope we get lucky enough to be invited to the performance again soon.

 
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 With Jocelyn and Aviva Jaye after the show

With Jocelyn and Aviva Jaye after the show

The last but not the least, came our collaboration with ever effervescent Jocelyn Mackenzie. We were so honored when Jocelyn asked us to play at one of her residencies. I’ve known her for a long time and I’ve always loved and admired her as an artist. She’s got an incredible voice and her songs are beautiful crafted. Of course by then, I was well into the habit of “let’s collaborate!” so I asked Jocelyn if she would let us sing a song or two and she said “yes!” We had a lovely rehearsal the day of the show (because that’s how most of the artists roll) and performed a few hours later. The show was so warm and filled with love. I felt so lucky to be performing that night. It reminded me of why I do this. Because it’s easy to forget. So with that in mind, I’d like to thank all the wonderful ladies (and a gentleman) that we got to perform with this summer. I feel so fortunate to have all of these wonderful people in my creative world. And I hope to continue this with our first ever residency this coming November! Oh yes, did I mention that we have residency coming up? Well more on that next week!

SUMMER SHOWS!

This summer is shaping up to be super fun for us!  Shows, shows, shows and more shows!

Tomorrow, Friday June 15, we will be supporting Civic Night at the Soda Fountain, a local organization at their Fun Fundraiser.  Change starts with your local legislators - and CNSF is all about finding and supporting inspiring candidates that can make difference.  Please come support - there's going to be music, comedy and more!

Friday, June 15  

Fun Fundraiser For Civic Night at the Soda Fountain

Jalopy Theater (315 Columbia Street)

8pm

It's a free event to attend

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GOVERNOR'S ISLAND!  It's summer time and come hangout with us in the sun.  We are participating this year's Porch Stomp at the Governor's Island.

Sunday, June 24

Governor's Island / Nolan Square

12-5pm (We are on at Silo Stage at 4pm)

More Information

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LIC Bar Garden Show!  We are returning to LIC Bar for their beautiful Garden show.  We are so excited for this!

Sunday, July 1

LIC Bar

5pm

Free!

 

Rockwood Music Hall here we come!  We got two exciting shows at Rockwood Music Hall with two different visitors from Los Angeles.  First on Monday July 23 at Stage 2, we will be sharing a bill with Brenda Carsey.  Our LA sister is back in town and we are stoked to play show with this one talented lady!  

AARON IS BAACK!!! In August, our beloved singing accordion player Aaron Burns will be back in town and we are going to party with him on Stage 3!  I can't tell you how excited we are to see Aaron and have him on the stage with us again.  We miss him oh soooooo much!  

Monday, July 23

Rockwood Stage 2

Double bill with Brenda Carsey

Tickets

 

Saturday August 18

Rockwood Stage 3

AARON IS BAACK!!!

Tickets

 

BOSTON! In July, we are hitting the road to Boston and playing a couple of show.  Please let your friends in Boston know :)

Friday, July 20

Sofar Boston

 

Saturday, July 21

House Show

TBA

 

We will be making our debut in New Haven CT this summer!  If you are in this area please come join us!  If you have friends in the area, please send them along :)

Fernando Pinto Presents: Miwa Gemini

At East Rock Concert Series

Sunday August 19, at mActivity

285 Nicoll St. New Haven CT

 

Our Jocelyn McKenzie has residency at C'Mon Everybody and she has invited us to join her on the bill.  She curated her residency with all female acts and bound to be fantastic!  If you haven't seen Jocelyn perform you are in for a treat.  She's one of a kind.

Sunday, September 16

Jocelyn McKenzie C'Mon Everybody Residency

with Jocelyn McKenzie and Aviva Jaye 

Tickets

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Tiny Desk Contest, 2018

We MADE IT!!! Just in the nick of time - we finished and submitted our video to NPR's Tiny Desk Contest.  We had a such a great time making the video and I couldn't be more thrilled to be playing/singing with these amazing ladies.  Hope you enjoy!

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A Happy New Year!

A Happy New Year!  

I'm always really excited when new year starts.  Something really exciting about starting new!  And we are off to a great start.  First off we finished our 2017 with a very successful show at Rockwood stage 3.  It was first time we tried out our new line up with a cellist and a vocalist.  Welcome Kirin & Jennie.  Jennie is one of our accordion sisters and has worked with us when we covered the Andrew Sisters.  So you know she's already a rock star.  And Kirin, I swear, she was sent to us by a magical music fairy.  She fitted in right away and is adding so much to our music.  The show went off great and feedback we received was very encouraging.  Overall I felt great energy surging as I performed on the stage with these amazing ladies!

Then we kicked off 2018 with our first ever show with Sofar Sounds.  In case you are wondering what the Sofar Sounds is - it is an organization that puts together various secret shows throughout the world.  Their mission is to get more people to listen to live music the way it is meant to be listened to, and our show at their HQ in NYC was a completely acoustic (meaning no amplification/mic involved) and we had a blast!  If you are looking for a fun way to discover new and local music, I recommend you check them out.

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And there is already so much planned ahead this year, it really feels like this is going to be the best year yet for us!  Please stay tuned!

Wishing you a magical new year.

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The day we recorded straight on to vinyls - Leesta Vall Recordings

Ever wanted our songs on vinyl?  Now it's your chance and not only that you get to buy a truly one of a kind vinyl.  Read all about it.  And go ahead and make my day by buying one of them, please.  You won't regret it ;) Link right below.

https://leestavall.com/products/lvos114


Leesta Vall comes from “least of all” according to company owner Aaron, when I asked him what it meant.  It certainly was one of the smallest studios in terms of the actual size that I have ever recorded in, but it also was one of the most unique places I have ever recorded.

Rebekah and I arrived carrying our instruments, one sunny summer morning, at the building which is surrounded by huge street art.  It’s in Bushwick and creativity is certainly abundant here.  We chatted with Aaron for a while before we began, I asked him how he got started.  (Because I’m a nosy old-lady, ha!) Aaron who has kindly eyes, patiently told us that he is a musician himself that used to tour extensively and has a few albums under his belt.  But he got into doing bookings then he discovered direct to vinyl recording.  “Nobody was doing it,” he said, but it took him a long time to get the first listenable record,  2000 records to be exact!  Maybe nobody is doing it, because it takes craftsmanship and that takes practice and patience, lacking in the technology driven modern world.  I’m a sucker for craftsmanship - I’m in awe of the sheer dedication and years that it takes to cultivate it.  I believe anything worth doing is worth doing well and beyond.

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With our shared love for craftsmanship, we got down to the business.  Rebekah was placed in a small sound booth and I stood just outside the sound booth door so we could see each other through the glass window.  It helps us feel more comfortable to see each other.  It took us a few tries for Aaron to find our volume level and adjust the depth of the groove in the vinyl - really fascinating to see.  I was really nervous at first - when everything you do is being recorded straight to vinyl the pressure is on!  Or so I thought…but Aaron told us that the charm of doing this kind of recording as apposed to normal recording, where quite often you cut and paste a few takes to make one good take, is in the mistakes!  He assured us that the human aspects of the performance is what makes the recording special.  He recounted the time one of the bands he recorded even began one song but didn’t like how it was sounding so they stopped in the middle and started an entirely different song and finished it.  They kept the title of the original song so whoever bought the record sure is in for a surprise!  It reminded me of the days recording my songs straight on to cassette tapes in my own bed room, I relaxed and we had a great time recording our truly unique cuts.  Who knows there maybe some surprises sprinkled here and there?!

 Selfie with the studio owner Aaron.  

Selfie with the studio owner Aaron.  

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Week 52 - All You Need is Love (The Beatles, 1967)

Week 52 - the Beatles

We made it! For our last song, well…the song says it all. Thank you for all your support - every comment, every “like” inspired us to keep going. We couldn’t have done this without all your support. Thank you. 

I’d especially like thank James for his loving and patient support, I know it was a lot to take on! The same goes for Evan - thank you! And most of all, Rebekah. You constantly challenge and inspire me to do better. Thank you lady, I love you so much!

As for the future, I don’t know…but I’m going to do my best to cover all the songs that all of you have suggested. Eventually ;)

And please come see us celebrate at Rockwood Music Hall stage 3 on Thursday, April 27th!

Yay! We. Did. It.

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Week 51 - Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) (Beyoncé, 2008)

Week 51 - Beyoncé  & The Dixie Cup

Last week, when I got stuck choosing songs, I asked for help on the FB and got some amazing suggestions.  This week’s idea came from some of those suggestions.  I confess - I know almost next to nothing about Beyoncé and her musical career.  It seems so crazy considering she is one of the best selling artists of all time!   It shows to see how much one can live in one’s own musical bubble…  Of course her music is so far away from anything I do, so I decided to bring in a little of my element, hence the 60’s girl pop group The Dixie Cups.   It was a lot of fun!  Hope you enjoy.  

I’d like to thank Megan and Cody for suggesting Beyoncé, and Sophie for suggestions the Dixie Cups!  You ladies are wonderful!  Thank you!

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Week 50 - You're So Vain (Carly Simon, 1972)

Week 50 - Carly Simon

This song followed me all week while I was in England.  It’s such a brilliant song.  I love good breakup songs.  The song’s history is intriguing as Carly Simon always alluded to the subjects of the song but did not entirely reveal them.  The only personality confirmed is Warren Beaty.  Warren Beaty proved he’s worthy of the song by claiming the entire thing for himself and even thanked Carly Simon, ha!  But Carly says it’s about 3 men and the other two remain something of a mystery.  Angie Bowie claims that she’s “the wife of a close friend” and that Mick Jagger was supposedly “obsessed with her.”  Interestingly, Jagger contributed very distinctive backing vocals to the recording.  Meanwhile, we had such a great time singing it - nothing to do with my own experiences, of course :PEnjoy!

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Week 49 - Landslide (Fleetwood Mac, 1975)

Week 49 - Fleetwood Mac

I think the most interesting thing about Stevie Nicks to me is that her voice and her appearance do not match.  I’ve always enjoy watching her sing for that reason, she looks so delicate, a little like an angel on top of a Christmas tree then you hear that deep voice.  I love her voice.  Interestingly this song didn’t get released as a single when the album Fleetwood Mac was released.   It wasn’t till 23 years later when Fleetwood Mac released the live album the Dance.   It’s a beautiful song and I’ve always loved it.  Glad to have a go at it.  Hope you enjoy!

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Week 48 - Mrs. Robinson (Simon and Garfunkel, 1968)

Week 48 - Simon and Garfunkel

The internet went down mysteriously yesterday and again mysteriously came back late last night…  Who knows why.  Internet wasn’t the only thing that was strange this week for us.  First we had to scrap the song we were planning on covering (long story, ugh) so then we had to come up with a song and learn it in an hour!  We settled on this song but to our surprise, it’s deceptively complicated!  We should’ve known, we tried to cover a Paul Simon’s song before and miserably failed.  One of the interesting thing about doing this project is that I get to peek into the personality of each composers.  I find Paul Simon’s songs to be exacting and fussy in details.  The combination that makes Paul Simons songs so genius but it doesn’t bode well with my personality…  But here we go, we must embrace challenges of all sorts.  Once we learned it though, it was so much fun to sing!  Hope you enjoy!

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Week 46 - I Love Rock 'n' Roll (Joan Jett, 1982)

Week 46 - Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

A long time ago, when I went to see Brendan Benson and the Wellfed Boys, they jokingly started play this song on stage just because my friend said that was one of her favorite songs.  I was pretty impressed that they could play the song just like that!  Turns out, the song is pretty easy to play…  not saying Brendan and his co. aren’t talented, of course they are, but anyway it was lots of fun to learn and play this song.  It was originally written by the British band the Arrows but it was Joan Jett that made this song so iconic.  It doesn’t get more Rock ’n’ Roll than Joan Jett!

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Week 45 - Can't Take My Eyes Off You (Frankie Valli, 1967)

Week 45 - Frankie Valli and Four Sesons

Evidently I’m not very good at sticking to a plan.  Bekah and I had a list of songs of the last 10 weeks and I’ve already derailed from the list…  Bekah wasn’t that surprised though - she’s used to me changing things all the time!

This song came on the radio and has been stuck in my head ever since.  Although James reminded me that our friend Greg suggested this song for me to cover a long long time ago.  Well it took me awhile but here it is.  We purposely didn’t use trumpet for the really distinct trumpet solo because we really liked it how it sounded as we sung the solo when we were rehearsing.  Do you agree?  Hope you enjoy! 

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Week 44 - High and Dry (Radiohead, 1995)

Week 44 - Radiohead

First time I saw Radiohead perform live, they were opening for PJ Harvey.  I didn’t know anything about them then but I remember thinking that they were amazing.  Thom Yorke had bright red hair.  After that I heard about them again when Creep became a big hit, but it was the release of the Bends that really got me (and more likely the rest of the world) hooked on Radiohead.  I admire their artistry and creativity and the Bends and OK Computer are the albums that I go back and listen to quite often.  Apparently Thom Yorke called this song “it’s not bad…it’s very bad.”  But I like it and enjoyed singing it.  Hope you enjoy.  Only 8 more to go…

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Week 43 - Bacherolette (Bjork, 1997)

Week 43 - Bjork

I still remember very vividly the first time I saw Bjork.  There was this very short lived music program on NHK (PBS of Japan) that I loved and they used to play lots of music that were relatively unknown in Japan.  One night they talked about this Icelandic band called “Sugarcubes” and showed their video.  The song was called “Birthday” and a girl in a red dress was singing.  Her voice was nothing like I’d ever heard, it blew my mind.  I went and bought their album the very next day.  Ever since then, Bjork’s music has become part of my life.  I love that her music (and herself) is always unique, strange and beautiful.  And I love her visual and conceptual approach to her music.  She’s a very visual musician and that’s what I wanted to bring to the filming of this song.  Rebekah and I had a great time painting flowers, ha!  

Also I’d like to thank Marianne from MSO for planting this seed in my head, what seems like such a long time ago now.  When Main Squeeze Orchestra was discussing new additions to their repertoire, Marianne suggested this song and that I should sing it.  That never happened but we incorporated accordion for you Marianne.  

Hope everyone enjoys it!

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Week 42 - Just Because I'm a Woman (Dolly Parton, 1968)

Week 42 - Dolly Parton

Can’t believe there’s only 10 more weeks to go!  Bekah and I were brainstorming for the last 10 songs and the artists that we definitely wanted to cover and Dolly Parton was one of them.  What’s not to love about Dolly?!  She’s inspirational in so many ways - her creativity, her humanity and her style.  This song that she wrote back in the 60’s was a response to her husband’s questioning (and subsequent reaction) to if she'd ever been with a man before him.  Of course it was a rather a daring statement to make back in the day.  These days with the imminent threat to women’s rights (jail time for abortion, seriously????) I think it’s very important to pay respect and give gratitude to women who paved the way for all of us.  Every courageous voice counts.  Thank you, Dolly! 

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Week 40 - Faith (George Michael, 1987)

Week 40 - George Michael

I couldn’t believe when I learned about George Michael’s passing on Christmas Day.  The horrible year that claimed so many talented souls, I honestly thought only one week left we were home safe.  I was wrong.  It apparently needed to take a few more away from us before it closed its door forever.  I haven’t really listened to George Michael for a long long time, listening to his songs, I felt really nostalgic.  He was such a craftsman when it comes to songwriting.  We were really happy to be able to do this tribute for him.  Hope you enjoy!

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Week 39 - "Heroes" (David Bowie, 1977)

He would have been 70 tomorrow.  It’s hard to believe that he’s been gone for almost a year.  In the madness that followed through out that year and the strange political climate that continues to this year, I realized I really needed to sing this song.  This song, originally recorded in the 70’s in Berlin depicts lovers separated by the Berlin Wall.  His performance of the song in West Berlina decade later is considered a catalyst to the eventual fall of the Berlin Wall.   

Happy almost birthday, Starman.  We miss you dearly.

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Week 38 - Jockey Full of Bourbon (Tom Waits, 1985)

Week 38 - Tom Waits

Grand Finale of Tom Waits December!  The song that started it all for us.  We have been singing this song for so long that sometimes we even forget that it is a cover, ha!  We’ve been wanting to collaborate with our California half of the band and finally our dream came true.  Bi-coastal video!  Rebekah and I miss these gentlemen so much. Even though we didn’t play together in real life, I think this video portrays the feeling of what it is like when we do play together.  

I think it is important to close a year right and I’m glad we are able to do so with a style!  Hope you enjoy.  

Wishing you a very happy new year!

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Week 37 - Tango Till They're Sore (Tom Waits, 1985)

Week 37 - Tom Waits

It was a very difficult task to pick songs from Tom Waits’s vast collection of songs.  And it was wonderful to see that so many people have such an affection for him and his songs.  In the end I decided to cover one of my all time favorite songs.  This was the song that made me fall in love with Tom Waits and I’ve tried to sing in the past but coudn’t quite get it.  So it was time to try again!  It’s the intro of the song that gets me every time so we had to work on that - it’s just so perfect in a drinking whiskey in the afternoon kind of way.  It also has the line “just get me to New Orleans” which is pretty much how I feel every time I think about that beautiful city.  As I was recording the song I realized that this song is probably about Mardi Gras, which meant we sang about entirely wrong holiday but that’s how we roll over here in Miwa Gemini land.  Enjoy.

Happy Holidays!

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