Chris Rael

Chris Rael

 New York City, New York, USA
BandAlternativeWorld

Unforgettable pop melody, deep poetry & world rhythm mixing western pop w/ eastern colors

Biography

Chris Rael's acrobatic vocal style was influenced by years of classical music study in Varanasi, India. The sitarist/guitarist is leader of NYC Indo-pop band Church of Betty, founder of indie label Fang Records, and producer of dozens of CDs and hundreds of live events in downtown New York. Composer of 300 songs and 25 CDs, he is currently developing the chamber musical 'Araby' (inspired by James Joyce's 'Dubliners'), composing feature songs and soundtracks for film (Outstanding Score Award at Outfest Film Festival, Los Angeles 2005), and collaborating with tabla master/world music producer Deep Singh. Church of Betty was part of the first wave of progressive acts through the original Knitting Factory, and later became a regular favorite at Greenwich Village's legendary Bottom Line. Rael has performed at Town Hall, Lincoln Center & Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, Sydney Opera House, the Secession Building in Vienna, the National Mall in Washington DC, the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Berlin, London, Dublin, Glasgow, Mexico City, Varanasi, Eastern Canada and across America, with numerous appearances on National Public Radio. He has collaborated with many dozens of artists, including Penny Arcade, Oasis, Annabella Lwin (Bow Wow Wow), David Byrne, Najma, Johnny Society, Elliott Sharp, Curt Smith (Tears for Fears), Jayne County, Samir Chatterjee, Amar Nath Mishra, Steve Gorn, John Kelly, Rebecca Moore, Stew (Broadway's 'Passing Strange'), Richard Fearless (Death In Vegas), Frank London (Klezmatics), Shara Worden (My Brightest Diamond), Tom Scott (the Muffins), White Magic, West Indian Girl, Ida, Gordy Goudie (Echo and the Bunnymen), Steve Shelley (Sonic Youth), Charles Henri Ford, Marty Matz, Ira Cohen, and Life in a Blender. He co-produced the underground classic 'Acorn' by the Mommyheads, and played in one of the great Brooklyn underground rock bands, The Hand. "Chris Rael has consistently blended rock and Indian music better than any western guitar guy, ever." - Village Voice. "Sliding, scalloped phrases shape Hindustani music to the concision of pop hooks... irresistible." - New York Times. "Conjures and cleanses, swoons and seduces. If otherwordly rock exists, surely this is as lofty as it gets." - All Music Guide.

Lyrics

One Way Ticket

Written By: Chris Rael

Lift your hands and reach for the sky
Test your arms baby, try to fly
Don’t let the crazy ride pass you by
It’s a one way ticket, baby
Dig all the green life under the sky
Trip on the flowers by the roadside
Don’t let the crazy ride pass you by
It’s a one way ticket, baby
It’s so easy to never slow down
It’s so easy to never speed up
Work hard and play hard, feel alright
One hope, one dream
Taste all the spices come from the ground
Drink all the sweetness and cream to be found
So many flavors and herbs all around
Touch every human in just the right place
Touch this one’s mind, touch that one’s face
Give with your heart and take with grace
It’s a one way ticket, baby
Break away from the paper trail
Go over the wall of the workaday jail
Give and take baby, it’s alright
One hope, one dream

Radio Friendly Guy

Written By: Chris Rael

I'm a radio friendly guy
Coming out of your transistor
On a table in your back yard
And the fresh cut grass of summer
Little sister fights with mom
Neighbor cuts off all his fingers
Trimming hedges in the yard
While I sing about the good times
I know exactly what you want
A little atmosphere to lounge in
A hit from summer of '85
When she cut your heart to ribbons
I'm a radio friendly guy
Coming out of your transistor
While your life runs hot and cold
And your memory is a blister
Daddy's waiting in the yard
With a strap and a can of beer
So you hide behind the car
While I sing about the good times

The Devil You Know

Written By: Chris Rael

Here's a bloody glass of wine, just drink it
Here's paper-thin peace of mind, just think it
Here's a kickback from below, just take it
Beware the devil you know
If you hear it all the time, believe it
If the poison is sublime, just eat it
Where did your reflection go, do you seek it?
Beware the devil you know
So many ups and downs
I'll buy anything, anything to even it out
To kill the pain inside
I'll take anything, better numb and half-alive
We're just grabbing for a ledge
As we tumble down the cliff
That ledge is compassion
Don't push your brother over the edge
If you want your slice of pie, be quiet
If the president tells a lie, don't mind it
Another burger and fries to go might solve it
Beware the devil you know

Onion

Written By: Chris Rael

Peel the onion, layer by golden layer
Gently remove the thin, dry skin
Circle on circle of tender, pulpy flesh
Deeper and deeper, more of the same
Layered eternity, like the onion
More of itself inside, repeating to the core
Peel the onion like a ripened jewel
Beware the bitter, stinging blood
Savor the tartness, fire on your tongue
Acid protection of the flower
Give me the painful love of the onion
Rub it into my cuts, let me feel the heat
The more that you see
Same old things seem deeper
You see differently
Layered eternity, like the onion
Give me the painful love of the onion

Blossom and Decay

Written By: Chris Rael

Every moan of satisfaction
Soon must dissipate into the silent past
Every moment of excitement
Soon recedes in memory, it does not last
Blossom and decay is all around us
As the seeds grow into trees then turn to dust
Every style and every era
Soon must yield to new citadels of power
Every tide washes away
What came before then holds the beach for a few hours
Blossom and decay of generations
As our blood heats passing moments, fading fast
My first love was like a flower
Freshly pushed up from the ground, so sweet and wild
Sun embraced her vibrant color
Kissed her petals then returned her to the soil
Blossom and decay of each emotion
As the world turns dark and light and hot and cold
Blossom and decay is all around us
As the songs of ancient ghosts ring in our bones

Rebellion Cabaret

Written By: Chris Rael

There was a time beyond these doors when the streets were filled with junkies, thieves and whores
Never knew if one might live to see the day
Those days have gone away for good as suburbia devours the neighborhood
All that's left is this Rebellion Cabaret

This cabaret is for the freaks and for the losers squeezing passion from failures on the way
This cabaret is for the few who'd rather wallow in the truth
Toast your fate at the Rebellion Cabaret

There was a time when everyone thought that taking in the new was lots of fun
Never dreamed uniqueness could become passe
But in this age of corporate rule, every deviant's a traitor or a fool
Except at this Rebellion Cabaret

This cabaret is for the freaks and for the losers squeezing passion from pain like lemonade
This cabaret is for the few who'd rather be blown off than screwed
In this bunker of a club we're gonna play til last call at this Rebellion Cabaret

Cross of Gold

Written By: Chris Rael

Climbing mountains to change my life
I've been searching for a cross of gold
Crossing deserts to change my life
I've been searching for a cross of gold
I met you, with your peace of mind
You were shining like a pillar of light
You shine like a snow-kissed peak in the sun
You are not afraid to love
You fill me with inspiration
Are you going to let me climb you?
You're hard as rock, and yet your smile is so kind
You're strong as steel, yet your skin is so soft
I lay down my cross, reach up to your body
Let me taste your love, let me taste your body
I climbed to the top of a mountain
I touched a cloud all alone
I was looking outside for something within
I'll travel in the valleys with you
You're hard as rock and yet your smile is so kind
You're strong as steel, yet your skin is so soft
I lay down my cross, reach up to your body
Let me taste your love, let me taste your body

Dirty Waters

Written By: Chris Rael

I like a girl with a history
Cos nothing's dirtier than purity
You know the secrets and your will is strong
Thank god for sending me a real woman
Ain't got the time for a virgin bride
Fire water in me trying to break outside
You know your pleasure and you know the score
You are my answer, my madonna and whore
I want to play in your dirty waters
I love to play in your dirty waters
Wasted some time chasing princess tail
They guard their treasure like the holy grail
Unwrap the package and the thrill go down
Reclining statues that don't make a sound
I want a woman who can knock me around
Cos I'm a man who's not afraid of your power
I want to play in your dirty waters
I love to play in your dirty waters

Discography

25 albums, including 'Tripping With Wanda' (2002), 'Fruit on the Vine' (1999), 'Comedy of Animals' (1998), 'Revenge of the Hippies' (2002), 'Kashi' (1993), 'West of the East' (1989), 'In Search of Spiritual Junkfood' (1994) & 'Araby' (2009)

Set List

Sets customized to venue: world music, rock n roll, contemporary interpretations of medieval Sephardic music, semi-classical theatre music ('Araby')