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Biography

Melissa Bandura and Joanna Chapman-Smith are the Sirens of Lily Come Down, seducing the audience with their songs' poetry sung with captivating melodies. Blending Joanna's velvet-smooth voice with Melissa's sultry cadence, these gals bring a depth to their creative lyrics with help from Chris and Justine's singing knowhow. With Joanna as the 'warm, dark stone' and Melissa as the 'breezy, fluid wind', both girls meet in the middle to sensitively fuse vocal forces in tight harmony. Both have worked with artists in music, dance, theatre, film, spoken word and visual arts, making these two the definition of collaborators.

Writing and performing since 1995, Joanna has explored a wide variety of instruments and musical styles, with her poignant lyrics having their basis in an English Literature background… but her heart & history continually turn to Folk. In Lily Come Down, Joanna uses voice, guitar, mandolin and clarinet to blend her diverse influences into the Feisty brand of Folk that this group has become popular for. Melissa has a long history bringing delicate melody to music using her sweet violin solos. A classical-Celtic-gypsy-jazz fiddling background has created her unique sound which is intimate, sensitive, whirling and accented all in one musical phrase. Melissa moves around Jo's and Chris' ever-transforming solos to spread a river of melody above the music's intricate chords, thoughtful vocal phrases, and rockin' rhythm section.

Justine is the groove of Lily Come Down, walking the songs forward with her intricate bass lines. Her extensive background in jazz, funk, and jam bands brings a new quality to the eclectic brand of folk the Lilies have come to make. Recently, her dabbling in vocal harmonies has added a subtle, sweet quality to the Lily sound, accentuating the Lily focus on vocal interplay. But it's her rhythm play along with Kenton's that sets the fire under the songs. Ba Boom!

Chris Suen is the 'whiskey-bottle-half-full' of Lily Come Down. His practice of Old Time music traditions, renaissance choral singing and all stringed instruments from guitar to guzheng (Chinese classical zither) makes this one-of-a-kind banjoist a Feisty addition to the Lilies. Surprisingly, he only recently acquired his first banjo, quickly learning the claw-hammer style he now performs with ease. He brings his love of Appalachian music and 'claw-grass' to Lily Come Down, pitching in on Jo n' Mel's golden-sweet harmonies and picking his banjo with a re-imagined style that's all his own.

Kenton Wiens is the heartbeat of Lily Come Down. Using drums and cymbals, he adds a mean accompaniment to those sweet melodies and dulcet harmonies. His folk-meets-rock-meets-jazz background brings a defined edge yet sensitivity to his rhythmic impulses. He'll drive that train right down the track. Clickety clack! Crickety smack!

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