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The three member folk ensemble Natalia Zukerman (New York) is an impressive female trio that has toured together and separately over the last few years.
Vocalist Natalia Zukerman grew up in New York City, studied art at Oberlin, worked in mural arts in San Francisco, began her songwriting career in Boston, and now resides, writes, plays and paints in Brooklyn, NY. The daughter of classical musicians Eugenia and Pinchas Zukerman, Natalia found her sound in other strings – those on slide guitar, lap steel, dobro, and found kinship in the earthiness and honesty of folk, bluegrass, jazz and blues music. Since 2001, Zukerman has released five studio albums and one live album – 2013′s Gypsies & Clowns, (recorded live at SPACE in Evanston, IL). She has toured full-time since 2005, playing over 150 shows a year.
Since 2001, Zukerman has released five studio albums and one live album – 2013’s Gypsies & Clowns, which was recorded live at SPACE in Evanston, IL. For the shows, Zukerman invited a big group of her musical friends to present over twenty songs from her catalogue, including the well-known tracks “Gas Station Roses,” “Brand New Frame” and “Howard Hughes.”
Gypsies & Clowns typifies Zukerman’s artistic process in that she’s a frequent collaborator. She’s worked with fellow musicians such as Janis Ian, Willy Porter, Susan Werner, Erin McKeown, AG, Garrison Starr and many others. She also joined with well-known folk singer/songwriters Anne Heaton, Antje Duvekot and Meg Hutchinson for an album in 2008, titled Winterbloom, which they also named the band. Since then, they have toured each year throughout November and December, offering both original and traditional songs inspired by winter. Zukerman has also performed at such festivals as Lilith Fair, Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Philadelphia Folk Fest, Michigan Womyns Fest, Sisters Folk Festival, Rocky Mountain Folk Fest and more. Her new album Come Thief, Come Fire is out 9/16 on Talisman Records.
“Natalia’s voice could send an orchid into bloom while her guitar playing can open a beer bottle with its teeth.” –New Yorker
“a strutting brass band one minute, a sighing lover the next.” –The Boston Globe
“a wise mix of rootsy styles from torch blues to country swing. If you’re a fan of Madeleine Peyroux, Bonnie Raitt or even Amy Winehouse, you’ll find stuff to connect with here.” –Philadelphia Daily News
Multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Chaska Potter is a member of the band Raining Jane. She plays guitar, ukulele, mandolin and lap steel guitar, although she considers voice to be her primary instrument. Her most recent work includes co-writing and recording with Jason Mraz for his 2014 album, “Yes!” The album was followed up with a world tour, in which Raining Jane opened and played as Mraz’s band. Chaska is also a founding and current member of the Executive Team for non-profit Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles.
Born and raised in Santa Cruz, California, Chaska grew up in a big family that loved to sing and harmonize. Music was the fabric that wove them together. As she grew up, literally reaching a height of 6’1 at age 13, sports became her area of excellence for the next ten years. She was named “Athlete of The Year” in Santa Cruz County her senior year in high school and also inducted into the Hall of Fame at Aptos High School. She was a part of the gold medal volleyball team at the Junior Olympics in 1995, earning a place on the All-American team before heading to UCLA on a full scholarship. When she tore her right rotator cuff, she learned to play left-handed and was chosen as team captain her senior year.
It was at UCLA that Chaska found her band. She met the women of Raining Jane and began singing and playing guitar with them in 1998. Raining Jane built their career out of the UCLA music scene, releasing their first eponymous album in 2001. By the mid-2000’s they had recorded two more albums and launched into full-time national touring. Their fourth album “The Good Match” came out in 2010. International touring commenced with Jason Mraz’s Yes! World Tour in 2014 – 2015, playing for audiences in 22 countries.
Besides writing and performing original music, Chaska also enjoys backing up other artists that inspire her. Most notable is her work with Jason Mraz, Sara Bareilles, Willy Porter, Natalia Zukerman and Lucy Schwartz.
In the studio, on the road and on stage is where Chaska finds herself most at home. Her love of expression and creativity through collaboration has also lent itself to teaching and sharing what has brought her joy. Volunteering as a vocal instructor and band coach for the past seven years with Rock n’ Roll Camp for Girls L.A. is something that she is incredibly passionate about. This organization is a social justice non-profit dedicated to empowering girls through music education.
Percussionist Mona Tavakoli incorporates the cajon, ankle bells, and vocals, into her performances. She helped form the band, Raining Jane, in 1999, with whom she toured with the likes of Sara Bareilles, Rachael Yamagata, and Willy Porter. In 2010, Mona co-founded the Rock & Roll Camp for Girls Los Angeles, a non-profit organization that encourages girls ages 8-17 to find their voices through music, in an intensive one-week day camp. As a solo percussionist, Mona performed with Jason Mraz, among others. She recently designed her own cajon, dubbed “The MT Box” in conjunction with Kotz Cajon.
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