Awna Teixeira
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Awna Teixeira

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | SELF | AFM

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2012
Duo Folk Alternative




"Awna Teixeira"

As half of the alt-folk duo Po’ Girl, singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Awna Teixeira is accustomed to the support — you might call it cover — of a backup band. Her recent solo recording Where the Darkness Goes finds her accompanied by trios, quartets, and quintets. On April 19 at Gig Performance Space, in a show organized by Southwest Roots Music, Teixeira was truly performing alone, a fact she referenced more than once during the evening’s two sets. “The thing about going out on my own like this,” she said, picking up her banjo before one number, “is that I’ve had to learn to play my own songs.”

Teixeira, not quite a one-woman band, went back and forth between banjo, guitar, and accordion to frame her inviting, amber-toned voice. That she had no other accompaniment — although Santa Fe vocalist Larkin Gayl joined her briefly for the title tune from Teixeira’s solo CD — put the emphasis squarely on her songwriting abilities. Her lyrics, full of stars, tall trees, waves, and riversides, rely more on imagery than narrative. In the Portuguese-titled “Minha Querida” (My Darling), she sings, “She is a diamond, she is a dream/She is the wonder that follows you down to your knees/High above the sky you fly, fly, fly.” To listeners, those words might suggest a particularly inspiring woman. But as Teixeira explained, the song is about her first accordion, an instrument she named Sophia, which cost her $40 at a secondhand store and an additional $3,500 in repairs since. All this served as introduction to Etta, Teixeira’s current squeezebox, named for the late, great R & B singer. (Sophia is now at her father’s home awaiting a $700 bellows repair.)

Teixeira’s singing inflection was something of a songbird’s warble. Despite the acoustically pure reproduction of Gig’s sound-friendly space, her words sometimes disguised themselves by sliding from the corner of her mouth. Her accent at times was reminiscent of that of West Virginia mountain folk singers, though Teixeira is a Canadian of Portuguese descent. Her quick, light vibrato on any note that lasted more than a count or two gave her voice an air of tension and passion. But her slippery enunciation often veiled the most important word in a line. Just when you thought you’d grasped what she was singing, the words would squirm away. At other times, her pronunciation was clear and distinct. When she sang the chorus (“Loving hearts hold together/Nothing falls apart”) from “Blooming Bounty,” an original song written for a possible children’s recording, the words — and the feeling — were unmistakable.

It was this kind of passion and genuine sincerity that carried her performance. Even without the benefit of discerning each word, one couldn’t help but understand and be moved by her emotion. No matter which instrument she played, she twisted and turned with it as if in a dance, her hair half covering her face at the end of each number. As she sang Beck’s “Rowboat,” a song that in her hands carried a suggestive gender twist, she brought more pathos to the lament than its composer did. When she sang “Pick me up, give me some alcohol,” you knew she was thirsty.

Her self-accompaniment was always strong, if not rhythmically perfect. Etta the accordion appeared on waltzes and lively tunes suggesting Euro- pean folk rhythms. Holiday, the guitar, added further twang to country-inspired numbers. The banjo — its name was not announced — placed music firmly in hill-country folk tradition. Her voice, her instrumentals, and her songwriting — especially her songwriting — came together in a glorious whole. You might say that Teixeira’s music is greater than the sum of its parts. - Pasatiempo Santa Fe New Mexico USA

"Where The Darkness Goes ****"

Awna Teixeira's album gets off to a flying start with the pulsating, banjo-driven Stand Tall, and the rest of Where The Darkness Goes delivers on the first song's promise.

Teixeira, who is taking a break from her work with Canadian band Po' Girl, is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist and she shows off her accordion skills with the jaunty and pleasantly odd Minha Querida, a love song to her first and best-loved accordion.

Teixeira is part-Portuguese and there is an sultry quality to her fluent voice. Her songwriting is strong, with Where The Darkness Goes, Faden and The Little Review among the pick of the 11 songs. The Chicago-based backing musicians include Po' Girl's Alice Russell (vocals), Michael August (drums), Drew Lindsay (piano) and Chris Neal (organ, horn arrangements) on an album co-produced by Teixeira with Zach Goheen.

It's nicely quirky, too, and Little Piggy sounds like something Mae West would have sung in a saloon. A very good debut and it's hard not to like someone who lists their instruments as including guitars, organ, ukulele, glockenspiel and "knee slaps and foot stomps".

By Martin Chilton - Martin Chilton - The Daily Telegraph, UK

"The first steps on becoming the undisputed Queen of Roots Music."

Awna Teixeira is best known as being one quarter of Roots stars Po’ Girl who have toured the World many times in the last 8 years winning fans and accolades at every stop.
The band decided to take a break in 2011 with Allison Russell touring and recording with Jeremy Lindsay from JT & the Clouds and Awna Teixeira holing up in a Chicago studio in March and April of this year with a bunch of musicians and Engineer Zach Goheen.
The results are astounding and way beyond what anyone could have expected; including the singer herself.
As I sit here open–mouthed, WHERE THE DARKNESS GOES brings a brand new freshness and new found eminence to Roots Music which I didn’t think possible anymore.
Songs like Stand Tall, Some Kind of Dream and The Little Review take you way up into the Blue Ridge Mountains without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home and title track Where The Darkness Goes is simply spellbinding as Awna’s voice takes on a resonance that will make people sit up and take notice and Teixeira’s voice very nearly reduced me to tears.
Bluegrass and the Folky end of Country that combine to form Roots Music always sounds very simple to the casual listener, but we all know how difficult it is to make a record this good while still sticking to the basics of those genres.
The musicianship throughout is quite exceptional throughout the album, with Zach Goheen working his magic behind the desk to bring out the best in everyone involved.

I’ll go as far as to say…….. WHERE THE DARKNESS GOES is the album that Nanci Griffith and Dolly Parton have both been trying to produce for several years and Awna Teixeira has taken the first steps on the ladder to emulate their success. - Alan Harrison - No Depression/Maverick Magazine

"Where The Darkenss Goes "Gorgeous album" - 4 stars!"

After eight years of touring and recording with the tremendous and difficult to pigeon hole Po’ Girl, Awna
decided to take a break from the band and record her debut solo album and well worth the effort it was too! There is a lovely fresh sound to this excellent album but it’s content is just as difficult to pigeon hole as Po’ Girl, other than under the massive ‘folk roots’ umbrella. It is safe to say there is no one else quite like Awna, with her quirky take on roots music that combines
highlonesome ‘hillbilly’ music with folk and probably more than a nod to her Portugese roots, the only addition that can really explain this unique rootsy amalgamate of beautiful sounds. Having listened to all of the Po’ Girl albums and seen them live on several occasions it is fairly obvious that Awna possesses a fairly unique talent with her lovely quirky vocals and multi instrumentalist credentials.
Her musical background is quite colourful, having played as a street musician with popular west coast street band, ‘The Derby,’ after which she formed an alt. country band, ‘The Red Eyed Rounders.’ When the Rounders fell apart she went back to Canada and formed country folk band ‘Barley Wik’ who went on to release two albums before Awna decided she wanted a solo career. Things didn’t quite work out as planned because she soon met Allison Russell and within a week was off on tour with Po’ Girl.
This album was recorded at Minbal Studios, Chicago with the support of some excellent musicians and engineer Zach Goheen. As well as all vocals Awna plays accordion, guitar, harmonica, banjo and ukulele and wrote all of these highly original songs herself. To say she is pretty much unique in the ‘roots music’ world is something of an understatement, with her unusual but quite
addictive vocal sound and the blend of so many different influences from not only the American but also European continents in the instrumentation as well as the song structures.
A sparse banjo introduction on album opener Stand tallsets the rootsy scene for the whole album on a beautifully sparse ballad with just Awna’s atmospheric vocal, the ambience of the banjo and latterly organ and handclaps. The following song Minha Querida, whilst having some
links stylistically to it’s predecessor, in many ways is a contrast, with it’s gorgeous accordion and repetitive drum beat on a lovely mid tempo song that could as easily be rooted in Mexico as Europe were it not for the fact that Minha Querida is Portugese for ‘My Dear’. Highly original and very, very unusual. Prince Of The Park, has a nice ukele sound with keyboard backing on a catchy song that has a feeling of being rooted high in the mountains but more South America than North, with the trumpet latterly adding to the diverse sound. There are some lovely harmonies, accordion and mandolin on Little Piggy, another highly original song that probably could not have been conceived
without her European roots! It is strangely reminiscent of something I once heard in a Parisian bar! Every song is well thought out and whilst many vary stylistically the album as a whole blends together incredibly well, almost because of, rather than in spite of the diverse sounds.
Awna’s influences and consequently stylistic variations will probably be too much for the mainstream, simply because it is difficult to hang a label on, other than the one that confirms this is a tremendous album by a singer songwriter who is still developing her huge talent and her own highly individual style! Gorgeous album. - American Roots UK

"Awna Teixeira 'Where The Darkness Goes'"

This is a singer/songwriter who, her biog tells us has had something of a mixed past, but that music has always been the key to her life. In 2004 she became a member of Po' Girl and this is her solo debut album. It's a joy, with Teixeira's voice an immediate and powerful presence.

Awna’s music crosses barriers and draws from any number of sources and inspirations. Teixeira is a multi-instrumentalist and is joined by other musicians who bring these essentially folkish songs into rich territory.

It is the vibrato in her voice that is the key quality that makes her the focus of the album. Her banjo playing is dominant on many of the songs and gives them rootsy grounding that can then take you to different places and differing moods.

The songs are observations of her life and times and travels. She uses the full ensemble where appropriate and elsewhere strips the sound right back. Her Po' Girl companion Allison Russell joins her on vocals on many of the songs and the end result is, from start to finish, a thoroughly captivating experience. On the liner tray she offers a short dedication for each of the songs that show a woman who has a wide empathy for her fellow humans. The Little Review is for the staff and children in a Polish orphanage. The title song is dedicated to those friends who were there during difficult times, while others are for lost friends. All are equally honest and heartfelt which comes across in the music which has a gentle and effective strength.. With her strong and direct songs, Awna Teixeira has opened a door that takes you in and disperses the darkness. - Lonesome Highway


Thunderbird EP 2013
Where The Darkness Goes 2012
Po'Girl - Follow Your Bliss 2010
Po'Girl - LIVE 2009
Po'Girl - Deer In The NIght 2008
Po'Girl - Home To You 2007
Sofia - No Shame 2006
Salt EP - 2006
Barley Wik- Dusty Lullaby - 2004
Barley Wik - Triangle Mountain - 2003
Rae Spoon - Throw Some Dirt on Me - 2003
The Red Eyed Rounders - Milk River Breakdown - 2002
The Derby - Cyborg Love Songs - 2001



Portuguese-Canadian, multi-instrumentalist, Awna Teixeira began her musical career in 2001 performing all over North America and writing songs with various bands before joining Po'Girl, one of Canada's hardest working international touring acts, in 2005. Over the course of creating five albums and seven years of solid-touring in 15 different countries, on 4 different continents, and playing between 200 and 250 shows a year, Allison Russell and Awna Teixeira have become the core of the highly-esteemed and internationally-recognized band, Po'Girl. Awna, while still working with Po'Girl, is currently embarking on her first solo project.

In her formative years, Awna toured and did street performances nationally with The Derby and The Red Eyed Rounders. She then teamed up with the all-girl, country-folk band Barley Wik with whom she released two full length albums, touring nationally for three years. Barley Wik won numerous Vancouver Island Music Awards including, "Album of the Year," Most Listenable CD, and Best Acoustic Act.

Upon meeting Allison Russell of Po'Girl, instant chemistry led to the start of a great, new musical adventure. Awna quickly packed her suitcase and began touring full-time with Po'Girl, first as their bass player and back-up vocalist, and quickly moving into accordion, banjo, guitar, ukulele, gutbucket bass, percussion and lead vocals. Awna first showcased her song writing abilities with Po'Girl on their 2007 album, "Home To You," with the beautifully heart-wrenching compositions "Old Mountain Line" and "Drive All Night."

Starting in 2012, Po'Girl decided to slow their touring schedule in order to pursue other musical projects. Inspired by her many years on the road, her Portuguese-Canadian heritage and her numerous international-touring experiences, Awna embarked on her first, long-awaited, solo project bringing together an incredible collection of songs in her album "Where The Darkness Goes." From the Portuguese-Fado inspired "Minha Querida" and "Velai Por Nos" to the deep soul of roots music with her claw- hammer style banjo on songs like "Stand Tall" and "In The Days," Awna's solo project takes you on a deeply satisfying musical journey.

On her 2012 solo release tour of the UK and Netherlands, Awna received amazing five-star reviews and was called the next "undisputed Queen of Roots Music," by No Depression. With her fantastic song-writing ability and compelling stage presence, Awna has been likened to such legends as Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton. Stay tuned for the release of her EP Thunderbird coming out in October of 2013!

Band Members