Allison Shapira
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Allison Shapira

Washington, Washington DC, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF

Washington, Washington DC, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2012
Solo Folk Singer/Songwriter




"Review: Allison Shapira – Coming Home"

Describing herself as a recovering opera singer, in 2012 Allison Shapira decamped from Harvard, and what reads like a particularly highflying career in communications and the diplomatic corps, to play the European coffee house circuit, with nothing but her new songs and an acoustic guitar for company. Remarkably, she’d only begun playing and writing lyrics the previous year.

She seems to have taken to the instrument quite naturally, eliciting a warm, unfussy tone from the strings, and what she lacks in technical know-how, she more than compensates with a voice that’s simultaneously rich, honeyed, dense and altogether quite beautiful. Set alongside her delicately picked guitar, it’s the groundbreaking early works of Joan Baez that come most readily to mind, though Shapira concentrates far more on her own material, rather than the traditional oeuvre. Interestingly, the one cover on “Coming Home” is Baez’s mid-‘70s calling card “Diamonds and Rust”.

The album begins with an absolute gem; “Man Walks By” is a love song of sorts, but with all the ambiguity and maturity of a classic Carole King or Carly Simon number. “All Along” recounts the tale of that initial trip to Europe, though not the adventure, but rather the heartbreak of leaving someone special behind. Known by her growing fan base as ‘Allison from Boston’, perhaps it’s her “Song for Boston” that best defines her. It’s another love song, but this time it’s for a city, and much like the rest of the record, it’s heartfelt and sincere. - Leicester Bangs


Still working on that hot first release.



Allison Shapira spent years studying classical voice at Boston University, Tanglewood, and in Italy, but at home she listened to the folk revival music of Joan Baez, Bob Dylan, and Judy Collins. She left the field of opera to pursue more global issues, but even after pursuing an MPA from the Harvard Kennedy School, folk music never left Allison's mind.

And so in 2011, alongside a career in diplomacy, communications, and international relations, Allison picked up a guitar for the first time. One year later, she was writing her own music.

In the summer of 2012, Allison left her job at Harvard, moved out of her apartment, and went to Europe with a small suitcase and a travel guitar. One night, she walked into a bar in Vienna, Austria and asked if she could play. That Saturday night, she was one of the bar's featured performers. She performed in Austria, France, Italy, and Croatia, earning fans from around the world who knew her as "Allison from Boston." She returned to Boston to record her first original album, Coming Home, which was released in December 2012. Her CD release party was at the very same Club Passim where Joan Baez got her start in 1958.

Allison recently moved to Washington, DC to continue performing and to launch her own company teaching public speaking as a way to help others find their voice. She performs throughout the country and around the world.

"A voice that's simultaneously rich, honeyed, dense, and altogether quite beautiful...heartfelt and's the groundbreaking early works of Joan Baez that come most readily to mind." Leicester Bangs, July 31, 2013

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