Beatbeat Whisper
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Beatbeat Whisper


Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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Beatbeat Whisper @ Starry Plough - with Chinatown Bakeries and Okay

Berkeley, California, USA

Berkeley, California, USA

Beatbeat Whisper @ Hemlock Tavern - with Okay and Elisa Randazzo

San Francisco, California, USA

San Francisco, California, USA

Beatbeat Whisper @ The Attic - with Elisa Randazzo, Joseph Childress

Santa Cruz, California, USA

Santa Cruz, California, USA

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


I first heard Santa Cruz’s Beatbeat Whisper (myspace) (formerly called “Flatbread Kids” and formerly out of Stanford, I believe) over at the Deli SF blog late last week (though, apparently my fellow KZSU DJ Natalie has been trumpeting them for months and one of the album tracks was actually recorded on her show—maybe I should pay more attention). It stewed for a couple days and by the time I heard their album before my radio show yesterday, my thinking on the subject was something in the vein of (excuse my language) “holy shitballs! This is good!”

Beatbeat Whisper is a boy-girl duo with lovely, light and airy folky songs. Their use of many different odd instruments (guitar, mandolin, autoharp, mbira or kalimba, banjo) on their recordings reminds me a bit of another great folky Adem. They’re also similar, in a way, to another local band I’m a fan of, the Finches...

The songs on their self-title debut range from folk/ noise collage at points to lovely self-penned songs that really recall tradition American songs or Anglo-American ballads. Some are melancholy and some are silly, though they tend toward the melancholy in general.

“Lulu” is a fantastic tune. It’s what first made my ears first perk up. It starts with an atmospheric background and soon there’s a melancholy and beautiful finger-picked guitar part. I really like the chorus, the music, the melody and the lyrics. If you download one song this week, it should be this.

I had a really hard time picking a second song to share; there were about four different ones that I thought seriously about. In the end, I really couldn’t pass up “Play Me a Time” which is essentially a gorgeous lullaby with autoharp, but ends up more orchestrated, but still has a soothing lilt to it the whole way through. Had a hard week or a friend is irritating you? Try listening to this song.
- Adrian (ipickmynose)

Beatbeat Whisper, whose self-titled debut has received considerable airplay at KZSU, provide with the humble folk track “Lulu.”
Tremolo guitar wanders in and out of the sing-song narrative and fingerpicking, granting an ethereal feel that departs from the clean and upbeat drive of most of the compilation. - Scott Coomes, The Stanford Daily

"...I wasn't able to grab any pictures of opening band Beatbeat Whisper, an endearing brother & sister pop-folk outfit from Santa Cruz. They were easily the highlight of the night. Below is an mp3 of one of my favorites from their set last night."
[Beatbeat Whisper - Lulu] - The Deli SF

"Try not to let the Rain in your boots, child" is selected April 2006
"Lulu" is selected April 2007

"[Lulu] is my favorite by far. Definitely the best song on there in my opinion... thanks for the good music."
- Sandy Greenfield (Sound engineer of Stanford Soundtrack) - Various

"I really like [the] songs, it's gorgeous stuff, and the instrumentation and vocal style really match up with the writing well, to make something both interesting and beautiful."
- Chris Ayer, musician

"Dreamy, poignant renderings of life's breathless moments. Brother and sister duo from Santa Cruz wrap delicate melodies in Nick Drake-like guitar weavings. Fans of Devendra Banhart and Jolie Holland will find this friendly territory, but they'll wish they sounded more like this. If hummingbirds made music, this is what they'd sound like."
- Richard Rice, San Francisco Free Folk Festival

"Delicate, singer/songwriter folk duo ... Ayla & Davyd are siblings, originally from Sonoma County. Ayla has a lovely & floating voice that has a classic, old-time quality yet feels fresh and new. Davyd's voice is similar and equally strong and tender. Together they create youthful, storytelling folk ballads with beautiful lyrics full of vivid images and characters. Both handle their instrumentation with care; creating a delicate and floating sound in their songs that pay homage to traditional folk music yet are fresh and present."

"Their songs have a simple, lo-fi feel that adds to their earthy/raw quality. Beatbeat Whisper are a sincere duo, grounded and completely in love with creating and sharing, and you can feel that in their songs (especially live!)."
- KZSU DJ Natalie Ruiz-Tofano

The execution of the house lights in The Starry Plough Pub were delayed, but eventually dimmed shakily once Beatbeat Whisper's first song was almost halfway over. I probably would have made the same mistake, not knowing whether or not they were still sound checking, but once the lights lowered, it was clear that the show had begun... Though the bar murmur of glass clinking and cell phones ringing overlapped the vocals every now and then, the noise didn't lower the quality of the show.

The first song of their set was a slow melodic tune, telling a short story of innocence and mystery as the rest of the songs did, with a simple chorus of eye contact and whistling. My attention was won immediately, since I'm just a kind of girl that appreciates simple sounds used properly, which was a repeated theme with this band. At one point, Davyd was playing what looked like an electronic harmonium that was powerful enough, alone in its plainness, then he began tapping his thumb to the beat of the song and I could hardly stand how small and clever it was. Nothing was done absentmindedly, but they easily could have been, with each sound serving as a small gesture toward the completion of a message in each tune. The playing of the kalimba had a resemblance to raindrops, while the visually laughable bass drum and cymbal taken from a toy drum kit was sinister and monstrous in its effect, sounding like rolling thunder when joined with fuzzy muted drumsticks.

This shook me to the core, witnessing what had probably been the process of creating music while also growing up together. They were presenting it for everyone to see, which seemed extremely personal, honest, shameless, and proud. Even the feather hanging from the head of Davyds guitar was a sure sign in itself of the flawless natural beauty in the music they make. There was no attempt to spruce it up with difficult melodies, and though a wall was certainly present, pretentiousness was nowhere to be found.

Then came the mysterious Danny, a tall man who helped the set by playing keys and bass drum for two songs, accompanying the Cat Power-esque vocals. Together the brother and sister duo explored different sounds, some similar to the those of Coco Rosie, The Delgados, and others sounding more like Mates of State, minus the drums. The stories weaved from the loom of Ayla's mind are gloriously sweet, childhood myths and memories of countryside days...

I loved Ayla and Davyds energy, and felt grateful to have been there for such a generous set. Nothing overwhelmed anything, and they were perfectly musically joined, and were such a divine honor to the notion of simplicity. It can be so much more powerful than expected. I'll be very upset if Beatbeat Whisper fails in gaining the recognition they deserve. Everything I witnessed was delicious, and a great slap in the mouth for naysayers of bay area folk music.

- Sara Lindsay, Deli SF - Deli SF

Your songs go straight to my heart, and I'm hoping lots of listeners to the show are feeling the same way... I consider you my favorite group at this moment... if you have more songs available, you KNOW I want to hear them and share them with
the radio audience! - James Giddings, WUML


"Beatbeat Whisper" - full-length album, self-released - 2006
"Play me a time" (Ayla Nereo) - full-length album, self-released - 2005
"The things we know how to love" (Davyd Nereo) - full-length album, self-released - 2007

"Lulu" - (Repeatedly) - KDVS, KZSU - online at,,
"Don't let it pass you by" - KZSU, KZSC, KDVS - online at,,
"Old River" - KZSU, KZSC
"Three long afternoons" - KZSU, KZSC
"Try not to let the rain in your boots, child" - KZSU
"The Whistler" - KZSU
"Little window open up" - KDVS, KZSU, KZSC
"The cowboy's lament" - KZSC


Feeling a bit camera shy


"If hummingbirds made music, this is what they'd sound like." (Richard Rice, San Francisco Folk Festival)

Beatbeat Whisper is Ayla and Davyd Nereo, sibling singer-songwriters. Playing more instruments than most bands, the duo hails from the hills of Sonoma County, California. Touched with chords of bluegrass, traditional folk, rock, classical, and pirate shanties, their sound alternates between ethereal and upbeat, as they weave vivid lyrics into delicate vocal harmonies.

Ayla and Davyd began making music in childhood, playing along to notes of raindrops and sounds of local folk musicians. Influenced by classical piano sonatas, Cat Stevens, and the Holy Modal Rounders, they started writing their own music at an early age, and in high school and college began performing.

Then, in March 2006, their song, "Try not to let the rain in your boots, child," was chosen to be on the compilation Stanford Soundtrack 2006. In July 2006 their song, "Little Window Open Up" was featured on the compilation, Sounds of West Sonoma County, and they were picked once again for the Stanford Soundtrack in March 2007 for their song, "Lulu."
They have interviewed and performed live in-studio with KZSU 90.1 FM (August 2006), KZSC 88.1 FM (October 2006), and KDVS "Cool As Folk" show (March 2007). Their songs have been repeatedly aired on these radio stations, and will soon be on KUCI, KCSB, and KCPR.

Beatbeat Whisper has self-released a 10-track disk, is currently recording another full-length album, and is beginning work on two more EPs. Davyd and Ayla each have individual albums as well. They will be touring California in May, and have just finished their first music video. Their future plans include an illustrated book, an East Coast tour, and projects that help foster more collaboration among musicians, artists, and media to raise consciousness, awareness, and compassion.