Charming Hostess is three women in a whirl of eerie harmony, hot rhythm and radical braininess. Our music is intensely physical, rooted in the body-voices and vocal percussion, handclaps and heartbeats, sex-breath and silence. We live where Jewish and African diasporas collide, incorporating doo-wop, Pygmy counterpoint, Balkan harmony and Andalusian melody. Our music is deeply engaged with text and with questions of authenticity, montage, and the effect of music on non-verbal languages.
Our last CD (Trilectic, Tzadik) explored the political/erotic nexus of Walter Benjamin and his Marxist muse with humor and sensuality. The new CD (Sarajevo Blues, Tzadik) sets Bosnian poetry as a form of love and resistance to the brutalization of war. Charming Hostess was founded by Jewlia Eisenberg to make ambitious music for voices and rock out at the same time.Our genre might best be described as
Charming Hostess: Jewlia Eisenberg, Marika Hughes, Cynthia Taylor and often Ganda Suthivarikom and Pamelia Kurstin (all voices). Read more about the Hostesses.
Charming Hostess founder, bandleader, and composer. Jewlia Eisenberg single-handedly invented the genre "klezmer-funk/girly-punk." She founded Charming Hostess to see if she could push the boundaries of ambitious composition and performance for voice, while rocking out at the same time. Eisenberg has travelled widely to study a variety of women's vocal traditions, from Andalusia to Ethiopia to Uzbekistan. >> Complete CV
The life of Marika Hughes has always been characterized by the seamless merging of disparate worlds. Granddaughter of the legendary cellist Emmanuel Feuermann, Marika began playing the violin when she was 3 and was soon seduced by the sonorous sounds of the cello. She grew up playing classical music and listening to jazz at Burgundy, a club her parents ran in NYC. Since earning a double degree at Juilliard/Barnard College in cello performance and political science, both pursuits have maintained an important role in her life.
After college, Marika moved to the Bay Area. She has played with the Santa Rosa Symphony and Quartet San Francisco, and has recorded for Tin Hat Trio, Santana and Mr. Bungle. She formed the band Red Pocket (Tzadik) with Jewlia Eisenberg. Marika is best known for her work with singer-songstress Vienna Teng (Rounder) and with the fabulous 2 Foot Yard (Tzadik) where she creates her own niche as both chamber-musician and bass-player.
Cynthia Taylor began life in foothills of Santa Cruz mountains on Garrod Farms Stables where she raised chicken, traded eggs, and tended the crops. There she coached youth in horse vaulting where her students were National Champions in their competitive categories, and Cynthia was an international competitor herself. She began singing early- from lullabies with her mother and public school jazz choir, to classical opera at SFSU. She holds a BA with an emphasis in Creative Arts: Music Performance (opera/classical voice) and Arts Administration. As a vocalist, she has performed in R&B and jazz bands locally and in Germany. She also performed for ten years with the Oakland Opera Theater. Now her focus is on Charming Hostess & arts administration. In 2002, her YBCA program, Young Artists at Work, won a Coming Up Taller Award, from The President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Cynthia is currently Director of Eduction for ZeroOne: A Global Festival of Art on the Edge.
CHARMING HOSTESS: BIG BAND
For 8 years Charming Hostess was a rock band that blended eerie harmonies, complex rhythms, and a playfulness about gender. Charming Hostess drew on women's vocal traditions (primarily from Eastern Europe and North Africa), and integrated them with American folk forms both white and black. Charming Hostess was founded in the fertile anarchy of Barrington Co-op, and nurtured by the West Oakland arts community, along with other coeval bands such as Fibulator and Eskimo. Half of Charming Hostess was also in Idiot Flesh/Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. The final effect was of a hoedown where bodacious babes belted the blues in Bugarian while a punk-klezmer band rocked out in accompaniment.The genre of this incarnation of ChoHo was KLEZMER-PUNK/BALKAN-FUNK. Recordings of Charming Hostess Big Band include "Eat" (Vaccination, 1998) and the new "Punch" (ReR, 2005) Charming Hostess Big Band was: Jewlia Eisenberg (voice, direction), Carla Kihlstedt (voice, fiddle), Nina Rolle (voice, accordion), Wes Anderson (drums), Nils Frykdahl (guitar, flute, saxophone, percussion), and Dan Rathbun (bass). Read more about the Hostesses.