The Lavens are a family band from San Antonio, Texas with regular gigs and a growing fan base. Andreas and Jana have played in bands for the last 20 years. Son Niko has progressed from a 16 year old blues drummer with an awesome group of teen musicians to a singer/songwriter lead guitarist that can stand alone or with a full band. Daughter Rachel has been wowing audiences with her original compositions since picking up the guitar at age ten. Their songs span the Americana genre from folk to blues/rock. Individually they have been featured in Seventeen Magazine Top Ten Teen Bands in the Nation and BBC's The Next Big Thing International Competition. Together they have made it to the top of the World Folk Battle of the Bands. www.worldfolk.com/bobscores.html and voted #1 Americana Band 07 in the San Antonio Current's "BEST OF 07" and Best Band at the Uncle Bill Roach Band Texas Music Festival. The Lavens were voted the Texas Music Coalition Artist of the Year 2009. The Lavens were also voted a 2009 Rammy Award for best Amaericana/Country band by readers of the San Antonio Current.
Check out their website at www.thelavens.com or
sign up to be their "friends" at www.myspace.com/thelavens Check us out at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEPoV2J1q6U
Rachel Laven (17) lead vocals, singer/songwriter, guitarist;
Niko Laven (brother) lead vocals, singer/songwriter, lead guitar;
Jana Laven (mom) lead vocals, harmony vocals;
Andreas Laven (dad) singer/songwriter, bass, guitar, & vocals;
"Uncle" Sal Guajardo "Laven" on drums.
THE LAVENS LIVE AT THE COVE is sold out!! Released in June 2007, we toured it from San Antonio to Chicago to Toronto and NY after winning the World Folk Battle of the Bands, a nationwide contest. In January 2006 we released two CD's simultaneously: Sibling Rivalry and Sibling Rivalry Rematch. These 2000 CD's have since sold out.
Look for a new Lavens CD coming soon.
Three Chords and the Truth
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By Ronnie Narmour The Lavens This was an unexpected pleasure. I hadn't even been aware that The L...By Ronnie Narmour
This was an unexpected pleasure. I hadn't even been aware that The Lavens (San Antonio, TX) were playing in town until my old friends Rich and Shell Tellez showed up from SA last Saturday and told me. Rich is the trumpet player for a couple of great SA bands (Wilbert Beasley's Heart and Soul and Earfood). I was eleated at both seeing my old friends and learning the The Lavens were playing the Tarpon Ice House that night. The Lavens are a family band in the truest sense of the word...the dad (Andreas Laven) on bass, the mom (Jana Laven) on vocals, the handsome young son (Niko Laven) on lead guitar and vocals and the pretty young daughter (Rachel Laven) on acoustic guitar and vocals...and of course Uncle Sal on drums. (Uncle Sal was once the drummer with two of San Antonio's most famous garage bands, The Swindles and The Number Three Dinners). The Lavens have held court at The Cove in San Antonio every Friday night for years and are one of SA's favorites. They play material that finds that sweet spot across all time lines and generations. It's good time music that transcends everyone's ages and their shows at The Cove are a Friday tradition and used to be one of my regular stops. When I'd get to The Cove for their Friday show, I always felt like I was at a big family reunion and never left there without a big smile on my face.
The show at the Ice House had plenty of the same feel to it despite the fact that the Port A crowd didn't really know much about these guys. When my buddy Shell got up to dance by herself I could see a few raised eyebrows until Jana Laven jumped off the stage to dance with her. Jana later scolded us for allowing Shell to dance alone. After that, things loosened up and the Port A folks accepted the altruistic nature of this band. Kudos to Paul Fain for bringing The Lavens to Port A and for hopefully enlarging their family unit by one more town. Do yourself a favor and see this band anytime you can. Take the kids along with you. I know Uncle Sal has been asking about you.
The Lavens--Best Americana Band, The Current April 2007
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Best Americana 1. The Lavens Thelavens.com 2. Middle Ground Myspace.com/findthemidd...Best Americana
1. The Lavens
2. Middle Ground
3. James Pardo
The Lavens are a country-flavored family act that has become a Friday favorite at The Cove. Think of them as The Judds-times-two, or The Cowsills with a twang.
The Lavens win 8th Annual World Folk Battle of the Bands 2006-2007
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The Lavens win the 8th Annual World Folk Battle of the Bands for 2006-2007. Competition was held at...The Lavens win the 8th Annual World Folk Battle of the Bands for 2006-2007. Competition was held at The Cove between eight bands from San Antonio, Austin, New Braunfels and Lubbock. Scores were tallied and sent on the national headquarters. Out of 79 bands competing nationwide The Lavens placed first with 208 out of 210 points.
Two Talented Siblings are the major focus in Laven Family Band
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The Lavens are a true family band which serve as an inspiration to just about everyone who comes ... The Lavens are a true family band which serve as an inspiration to just about everyone who comes in contact with them.
They inspire older people to encourage their kids who have real musical talent, and they inspire the kids to follow their dreams.
Barnstorming around town the past couple of months, the Lavens were promoting their twin disc projects titled: Sibling Rivalry and Sibling Rivalry Rematch, records featuring original tunes by 13 year old Rachel Laven and her 20 year old brother Niko.
The kids are joined on stage by their vocalist mom Jana and bass guitarist father Andreas, two pro musicians who have worked with various local groups over the past 15 years. And the "rest" of a typical gig by The Lavens might include any one of a long string of musicians who are always welcome to join what really amounts to a long-running family jam session.
Home for The Lavens has always been Sam and Lisa Asvestas' The Cove on Friday nights, but they have also promoted their records recently with parties at Casbeers, Luxello Hall, and at El Mercado downtown.
The focus of this outfit of course are the talented siblings who both write and sing some startlingly sophisticated blues, folk and Americana style material.
Rachel, who has been performing professionally since age 10, plays rhythm guitar, sings, and writes tunes which fall near the folk classification. Brother Niko plays lead guitar, sings, and writes material which leans more toward the blues.
Between the two of them, there are 28 original songs which can be considered Americana by most modern standards.
The guiding hands behind these young people are provided by parents who have paid their dues.
Andreas Laven, the bassist father, also plays bass with the group True Stories. He and wife Jana have been playing professionally the past 15 years.
Jana sang both lead and harmonies with the Michael Daniels Trio and later joined with her husband to form a group known as
The Jack Boot Thugs. Then they worked for eight years in a band called Easy Street.
Drummer for The Lavens is Sal Guajardo.
It seems that the entire local music community stands ready and eager to push, promote, and play with the popular Lavens.
Included on the Sibling Rivalry set are such talents as guitarist Will Owen-Gage, Claude Morgan, Kim MacKenzie, Ray Symczk, Mitch Webb, Joe Shortt, and Glenn Allan.
At the Cove release party, we heard guitarist Will Owen-Gage for the first time. He is an awesome little picker who can wring crying blue notes out of an electric guitar with the best in the business.
Andreas Laven said playing with his children in a family band is the ultimate thrill of his music career. "Jana and I love what we are doing with the kids," Laven said. "There is really a sibling rivalry in that they actually try to compete with each other. And like all kids they do have their 'moments'. But overall, we are a tightly knit group, and I think working in the band really helps keep the family close."
Andreas Laven said he will go as far with his singing and songwriting kids as he possibly can. "And if they pass me by and decide to go on up the road, I will sit on the sidelines and be the best cheering section they could ever want," he said.
Whe Rachel begged to stop piano lessons and get a guitar at age 10, Andreas promised to get her one if she learned six chords. Brother Niko, who was playing with a teen band known as The Krybabies at that time, taught her nine chords, and the next day she received a Johnson acoustic guitar. Within weeks she had written three songs, and when Niko started penning originals of his own, the Laven race had begun.
When with the Krybabies, Niko played drums. This was the teen group that joined forces with Ashlee Rose to win Seventeen Magazine's National Top Ten Teen bands competition.
Promotional material for the Lavens says they can play an all acoustic venue or crank it up with drums and electric guitars.
We have played every type of venue from large stages to campfires and hay bales, the literature says, adding: "We are happy to play house parties, restaurants, clubs, and political rallies." Find them at thelavens.com
Sam Kindrick March 2006
Jim Beal's Night Lights
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January 6, 2006 Sibling Revelry The Laven Family, fronted by 13 year old Rachel (guitar, vocals) a...January 6, 2006
The Laven Family, fronted by 13 year old Rachel (guitar, vocals) and 20 year old Niko (guitar, vocals) with assists from their mom, Jana (vocals), their dad, Andreas (bass), and Sal Guajardo (drums), Saturday will start a CD release whirl for their two disc release, Sibling Rivalry and Sibling Rivalry Rematch. There'll be a 3 p.m. show downtown at El Mercado and an 8 p.m. to midnight party at The Cove, where the CD was recorded.
The Lavens concentrate on originals, Americana/folk/blues, written by Rachel and Niko. Though they're young, the siblings have grown up making music with the family and with other aggregations. And the extended Laven family, at home at The Cove every Friday at 5 p.m., is a large group that transcends bloodlines.
On the discs, the Lavens are joined by guitarists Will Owen-Gage, Claude "Butch" Morgan and Glenn Allan. Kim MacKenzie plays fiddle. Kim's husband, Chris MacKenzie, did the recording. Ray Symczyk of True Stories, the band for which Andreas Laven also plays bass, joins in on accordion and mandolin; "Surfer" Joe Shortt from Los #3 Dinners steps in on harmonica; and "Uncle" Mitch Webb of Swindles fame contributes harmony vocals. There's a chance some of the guest musicians will make the release party scenes.
There might be rivalry in the titles of the CD package, but there's harmony in the music.
Singing for a Cause
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Teen's tunes offer strong social commentary by Nicole Lessin June 8, 2005 It's a Friday...Teen's tunes offer strong social commentary
by Nicole Lessin June 8, 2005
It's a Friday evening at The Cove on West Cypress Street near San Antonio College.
Rachel Laven is standing under a neon sign shaped like a guitar; strumming on one herself as her long, blond hair catches the glow of the lights.
"All right, this is the sing-a-long part," she commands the audience of about 30, her delicate features hinting at a smile.
"No guns, no bombs, no war, no-oh-oh," she belts into the microphone, her gritty voice strong and bluesy.
Though the children are running in and out of this eclectic neighborhood beer garden--which also doubles as a car wash, ice cream parlor, and laundry--most eyes are drawn to this Texas roots singer.
People take notice of Rachel, and not just because they think she's a dynamic singer/songwriter who delivers social commentary and antiwar sentiments through her lyrics.
They also take notice because she is only 13.
"She's a very cool customer," said patron Bob Robson. "She's not intimidated at all. Most kids her age would be frightened."
If you are surprised that someone who just finished seventh grade at the local Montessori school Kriterion would be performing at a place serving more than 70 kinds of beer; don't be.
The Cove is a non-smoking family establishment--complete with a sandbox--where you often find as many kids eating french fries as adults drinking beer.
Texas law permits minors to go into bars if the establishment has a policy of allowing them in--and serves them no alcohol.
Besides, Rachel's parents, who perform with her at the weekly gig along with her brother Niko, keep an eye on her.
"She's developing a following," said Cove owner Sam Asvestas. "A lot of parents bring their children to motivate them, I guess--to let them see what would happen if they practiced their instruments."
Even some of who disagree with Rachel's politics--her songs include "Peace Please" and "No War" are fans.
"She's a flaming liberal," customer Tom Wasson said with a smile. Wasson, a self-described "ultra-right" conservative, added, "But I'm into the music as opposed to the lyrics."
It's not hard to trace the origin of Rachel's opposition to the war in Iraq or her interest in music.
At her family's home in Beacon Hill, a clay bust of pacifist Mahatma Gandhi sits prominently on the living room mantel. Banjos, a bajo sexto and other guitars from dad Andreas Laven's collection are proudly mounted on the walls.
"Music was all around me, always," Rachel said. "If we weren't playing music, we were watching music or listening to music."
Rachel and her family are musicians planted firmly in the Americana genre, a hybrid of blues, rock, folk, and country in the tradition of Willie Nelson and Susan Gibson.
Rachel's musical tastes include The Eagles, AC/DC, and Gwen Stefani, whose recent pop song "Hollaback Girl" is one of her favorites.
"I am so glad she wrote that song," Rachel confessed with mock sincerity to her friends ast she waited to go on stage. "Now I know how to spell bananas."
"It's 'B-A-N-A-N-A-S,'" they all shriek in unison, quoting a line from the chart-topping song and then giggling.
Rachel has been singing since she was 5 but only began writing her own lyrics after hearing then-12-year-old artist Ashlee Rose perform. Afterward, her dad, an administrator at Kriterion, made Rachel a deal.
He said, "Learn six chords, and I'll buy you a guitar."
By the next day, Rachel had mastered nine. Rachel now owns four guitars thanks to her father.
"Daddy spoils her," said mom Jana Laven, a teacher at O'Connor High School, with a laugh.
Rachel has penned more than 20 songs on topics ranging from politics and religion to fairies and pirates. She said she finds inspiration in poetry class, at the movies, and at other music shows.
Rachel wrote "No War" the day a friend's father was sent to Iraq.
"She cried when she heard it," Rachel said.
Rachel's short term goal is to get into Northeast School of the Arts to study musical theater. Long-term, she's shooting for a Grammy.
But for now, this confident 'tween--
a pop culture term for youth between 8 and 13 years old--seems content strumming and singing at local establishments such as The Cove.
"The audience is really cool," Rachel said with a smile. "Their applause is nice."
Rachel Laven vs. The World
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Music contests have been around a long time. Since "American Idol" became a smash hit, superstar s...Music contests have been around a long time. Since "American Idol" became a smash hit, superstar singer wannabees are more determined than ever to attempt to hit the big time via contests rather than going to work in the trenches. Rachel Laven, the 14-year-old singing songwriter who is part of the Laven Family band, has been doing gigs since she was shorter than her guitar. Now Laven is also in a contest. The BBC World Service is staging a global talent contest for young performers. Called "The Next Big Thing," the contest attracted more than 1000 entrants from around the world. Laven, on the strength of the song "Can't Concentrate," has made the short list of 20 competitors. She's up against talented youngsters from the Ukraine, the UK, Malawi, Brazil and lots of other places on the globe. On-line voters, and what's described on the BBC website as "a global panel of music industry names," are doing the judging. You can check out the details--and Laven and her competition--and vote at this site. And you can hear Laven and her family every Friday night at The Cove beginning at 6p.m.
S.A. Teen is singing to beguile the world
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Rachel Laven wants to conquer the world. Her dad, for one, believes his golden-haired 14-year-old...Rachel Laven wants to conquer the world.
Her dad, for one, believes his golden-haired 14-year-old with the silver voice can do it. After all, she was only 10 when, in a fit of child-like impetuosity inspired by another local 12 year old musician, she quit piano to play guitar.
Andreas Laven, an administrator at Kriterion Montessori School who had just sunk hundreds of dollars into piano lessons, made his daughter a deal: "Learn six chords, and I'll buy you a guitar."
The next day, Rachel had learned nine.
Since then she has gone on to write dozens of songs that her family band, the Lavens, plays every Friday at the Cove, a live music bar-cum-laundromat-cum-carwash on West Cypress Street.
So, a few months ago, when Andreas saw that the British Broadcasting Corp. was sponsoring an internation competition searching for the "next big thing," he didn't hesitate to enter his daughter. Rachel beat out more than 1100 entries--from countries as far-flung as Nigeria and Russia--to be one of 20 acts picked for the finals. Tuesday is the deadline to vote.
Rachel is currently ranked 13th. A panel of judges will pick six finalists to play in a BBC-sponsored contest in London and, thanks to the publicity, possibly get a record deal, will be announced by the end of the week.
"If I get a record deal, that would be really exciting because I'm not famous and I really want to be famous," Rachel said, giggling shyly as she spoke recently from the Cove, where she was playing an open-mike night.
Rachel, a freshman at Northeast School of the Arts, flicks her blond hair out of her face as she chats about her crush on her older brother's best friend that inspired her to pen the pop song, "Can't Concentrate," with lyrics like, "when I'm in school writing a paper my pen writes your name over and over."
But her deep soulful voice belies her 14 years, as do some of her songs that resemble the folksy social commentary of the Dixie Chicks, with titles like, "No War," "Dear Mr. President," and "Peace Please."
"Tasha" for example, is a song she wrote after her best friend's father was sent to Iraq.
"He fights for his family and for his country for a pointless war," she croons.
"I'm not a very religious person as far as Jesus goes. But thinking about her father, I only have one God to pray to, one man to pray for."
"I feel there's not much else to write about," she said. "People are dying for oil and money and I don't think they are dying for freedom."
Her political views--and her musical talent--are the result of growing up in a Beacon Hill home among a crowd of musicians. Dad Andreas and mom Jana--a teacher at O'Connor High School--were part of a local cover band called the Easy Street Band, and as a young child, Rachel toddled between guitar players and drummers as they practiced in her backyard.
When she was a 2-year-old, a teacher told Andreas: "She's a wonderful student. But she never, ever stops singing."
At 10, Rachel had an epiphany at a concert at the Cove. Ashlee Rose, a then-12-year-old local guitar player, held the Friday night spot.
"She became my mentor," Rachel said. "She was my new inspiration. She was young, she played guitar, and she was good."
Rachel's brother, Niko, who couldn't let his younger sister outshine him, had, in the meantime, also started writing songs and began drumming for the Krybabies, a teen blues band. He'd go on to play with Ashlee Rose, winning Seventeen Magazine's Top Ten Teen Bands in the nation.
For that reason, Rachel, who said her brother was "a little jealous," said it's her time to shine.
"If I get famous, he gets famous. He's my guitar player and my brother so I don't know what he's crying about."
Niko, a tall, muscular blond 20-year-old, said simply, "A vote for Rachel is a vote for me."
The two have a gentle, collaborative relationship onstage, with Rachel often glancing at her older brother for reassurance and Niko strumming a complicated guitar riff to complement his sister's voice. During the funnier parts of songs, the two look at each other and smile.
The Lavens, while excited about their children's musical talents, have their head on straight about an industry that can be bitterly tough. Jana, 46, a singer herself, talked about the difficulty of making it in the music scene where "so many people out there are doing the same thing as you and it's hard to stand apart."
One Cove regular, 54-year-old Rudy Jones, said he's been coming to Rachel's shows for years. "I knew I was watching someone incredible," he said. "She writes and plays beyond her years. I knew she was a prodigy."
Jana, however, is more levelheaded about her daughter's talent, saying, "I think it's kids learning what they like to do and doing it early."
Wanting to stave off disappointment, Jana and Andreas have told Rachel she's already won by making it this far in the contest.
"But it would be really cool to play in London," she said, her eyes big. "Besides, I'm the only one from Texas, so there's really no excuse not to vote for me."
Top Ten Teen Bands in the Nation
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Ashlee Rose Band from San Antonio, TX featuring Will Owen-Gage on guitar, Tyler Phillips on bass and...Ashlee Rose Band from San Antonio, TX featuring Will Owen-Gage on guitar, Tyler Phillips on bass and Niko Laven on drums.
Thank you Cystinosis Benefit
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Dearest Lavens, I don't know where to start. Thank you all for your kindness, talent, hard work...Dearest Lavens,
I don't know where to start. Thank you all for your kindness, talent, hard work, tenderness, generosity and help!
Thank you for coming out on your Saturday and playing for us and the kids! Thank you for your enthusiasm! For staying and learning about Cystinosis. Thank you for helping with the clean up. And a personal thank you for buying art. Riley was beside herself when she found out that "The one and only Rachel" bought her piece! Wow! I think she grew a foot! Thanks again for everything!
We have 4-5 hours of material with the full band. Rachel has about 75 minutes of original songs and cover material from Susan Gibson, Terri Hendrix, McKay Bros., Sheryl Crow and John Prine. Niko has even more material from originals, cover tunes from John Prine, Nathan Hamilton, Steve Goodman, David Wilcox and Johnny Cash. Jana does blues, country, and rock covers while Andreas has a few originals and covers some of the older Country and Texas artists.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.