Knowing Miwa is like understanding the secrets to John Lennon’s lyrics:
“Picture yourself in a boat on a river/ With tangerine trees and marmalade skies/ Somebody calls you/ You answer quite slowly/ A girl with kaleidoscope eyes.” - Musicedge.com
Miwa’s airy vocal draws comparisons to Bjork, Nina Simone, Tom Waits, and Patsy Cline - Flagpole, Athens, GA
Who is Miwa? “Nina Simone meets Bjork,” said film director David Jones. “Robert Johnson mixed with Cat Power,” argued ukulele troubadour Michael Leviton. Then there was fashion designer Patrik Rzepski, who was convinced that Nico fitted into Miwa’s family tree somewhere. Whoever she is, she’s unique and you will not forget her once you hear her.
Miwa, now goes by Miwagemini began appearing in clubs in Brooklyn and Manhattan four years ago. She has shared the stage with the likes of Lenny Kay, Chris Barron, Jeff Lewis and Nellie McKay. She has played at prestigious New York clubs like Joe’s Pub, Rockwood Music Hall, and Mercury Lounge and has been invited to play at NXNE in Toronto (2006 & 2007) and Rockrgrl Conference in Seattle. She won the Sky Harvest award at Indie Week 2006 in Toronto and will be receiving Canadian distribution among other things. She has appeared on NPR’s All Songs Considered open mic segment and the local indie TV series Art or Something Like It.
But that’s not all. Between tours and shows, Miwa went to Athens, Ga., with drummer Brian Lackey to record her second full release with Andy Baker. She expanded her instrumentation to include banjo, mandolin and piano and the results are as dynamic as they are beautiful.
While Miwa picked up playing the banjo and the mandolin quickly, the classically trained pianist admits that she had a hard time relating to her old instrument in a new environment. “I wonder if classical music uses a different part of a brain?” she muses. But piano was vital to her new sound. In time, she relearned the instrument she had grown up with, and the results sing for themselves. “After all,” she says, “Erik Satie isn’t that different from Jelly Roll Morton.” She will be doing a special early release for this album in Canada “This Is How I Found You” through Addictive Records/Universal Music Canada this fall in conjunction with Indie Week 2007. This release will also be available digitally to the world via iTunes, Puretracks, Amazon, E-Music and many other digital music services. The album is slated for release in early 2008 in the United States and Europe.
Until then, Miwa plans to keep on playing and building on her loyal fan base, helped along by sidekick Sasha the porcelain cat, Polly her oversized guitar and whoever else wants to join her eclectic game of musical chairs.
Wherever she plays, her passion shines through. As Miwa puts it, “Other than getting caught in bubbles of champagne, playing my music is the only thing that comes anywhere close to riding on a wind.”
Give Miwagemini an hour of your time and you’re sure to feel the same way.
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