Elisa Ferrari
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Elisa Ferrari

Band Folk Pop


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"Elisa Ferrari talks about her musical origins"

Elisa Ferrari talks about her musical origins

By Patrick Caldwell
Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Elisa Ferrari has no memories of the day her family stole away from her birthplace of Buenos Aires, Argentina. She was only 2 years old when her parents decided to flee to San Diego, hoping to escape the 'Dirty War,' a period of state-sponsored violence against the Argentine citizenry between 1976 and 1983.

'My dad was a photojournalist and he was sort of on the left and things were getting really dangerous. We had friends disappearing. The government drove around in these green Ford Falcons and picked people out of their houses,' Ferrari says.

Ferrari left her place of birth behind, but its influence lingers in her music today, along with a mélange of others. The 29-year-old, who works as a curatorial assistant at the Blanton Museum of Art, has just released her debut full-length album, 'Isla de Niños.' The dark, classical-and-jazz-tinged folk is slowly winning her converts across Austin.

Ferrari grew up immersed in music; her classic rock aficionado parents exposed her to Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and the Beatles alongside Brazilian pop. Her grandparents spread their love of classical music. By the time she was 5, she was convinced she wanted to be a musician, and at 10 received a cheap nylon-string guitar. She took lessons from a public access show host clad in sweat pants and tie dye and went on to study music at University of California, Berkeley and the University of Texas, where she graduated with a master's degree in ethnomusicology in 2008.

Alongside her band - bass player Ian Dicke, cellist Jen Smull and percussionist Owen Weaver - Ferrari blends folk sensibilities with the smoky appeal of jazz and the sweeping harmonics of classical music. In her willingness to craft a MySpace list of influences that includes Bach and Tom Waits, the Smiths and Stravinsky - the composer so nice she listed him twice - she's influenced by musicians she studied during a trip to northeastern Brazil.

'I loved, aesthetically, the way they lump instruments together and the rhythms that they used,' Ferrari says. 'I'd never heard music like that before. It's so folk-driven but it's also so pop music. They're influenced by Radiohead and Björk but they're also really influenced by the folk music of their region.'

Many of Ferrari's songs contain an element of darkness, a haunting lilt that will be familiar to fans of one of her biggest influences, Neko Case. The country chanteuse's 2006 album 'Fox Confessor Brings the Flood' once inspired Ferrari to write three songs in an afternoon. But that darkness also has echoes in the concept of `saudade,' a Portuguese and Galician word for a nostalgic longing for something or someone lost .

'It's a very Brazilian thing. It only exists in Portuguese. There isn't a direct translation for it, but a lot, I'd say 90 percent of Brazilian music has a lot of saudade in it,' Ferrari says. 'That's a kind of music I'm attracted to. I like sad music. I like to play with words and use them more for their beauty than for what they necessarily mean. If you looked at my lyrics written down I don't know that they'd make much sense but there's a lot of imagery that I hope conveys feelings to the audience.'
http://www.austin360.com/music/content/music/stories/austin360/2009/08/0827xlintheclubs.html - Austin-American Statesman

"Two Shows Two Worlds Apart"

Elisa Ferrari (below right) is a band from Austin which features the singing and songwriting talents of guitarist Elisa Ferrari, Jen Smull, who seems like a classically trained cello virtuoso with her stunning playing and Ian Dicke with his perfect contribution of bass lines and beats that added gravity to these lovely, original tunes. The drummer and all round 'I'll-play-whatever-is-necessary' presence of Owen Weaver adds dimension and variety to an already impressive array of sounds.

I was immediately drawn in and became a willing passenger to whatever destination Elisa cared to take us, by the style and quality of the music and lyrics. Sounding a bit like folk tunes, mixed with a little Parisian cafe ambience, a taste of jazz and even a hint of Broadway style, the blend comes across as new and original. The mainspring holding it all together is the strong and assured vocal style of Elisa Ferrari. I am a fan, and judging by the reaction of others, who had also never heard them before, I'm not alone...This had to be one of the best coordinated nights of music I may have ever attended and I flew home in a state of euphoria that lasted the entire following day.
-feed your head - Feed Your Head

"Elisa Ferrari"

Elisa Ferrari and her band of dark folksters. Marrying something part jazz and part country folk, Elisa’s voice weaves it all together into a complete rug, soft enough to fall asleep upon, but still filled with mysteries to make you dream - Echo Curio

"Elisa Ferrari: “Isla de Niños”"

Buenos Aires’s, Elisa Ferrari is an Austin based musician that weaves jazz and folk with music native to her Argentinean roots. She recently released her second album...Today’s song of the day is the title track from her new album, Isla de Niños.
http://texasmusicmatters.kut.org/2009/08/07/elisa-ferrari-isla-de-ninos/ - KUT radio


EP- Strip Malls and Plastic Dolls
streams at: http://www.myspace.com/stripmallsandplasticdolls and http://www.elisaferrarimusic.com
Isla de Ninos, 2009 available on I-tunes, CD Baby, and Amazon



Elisa Ferrari has been playing guitar and writing songs since she was ten years old. Although she has a background in classical music, her music draws from the many styles heard as a child raised by hippie Argentines, including Brazilian pop and tango as well as tropicalia, bossa nova, and forro- musical styles that she studied while pursuing her masters degree in ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. One can also detect inspiration from the likes of Tom Waits, Neko Case, and Radiohead some of her favorite artists. Elisa's lyrics often lie between fantasy like constellations of tales of love, life, and decision, and biting political critiques pushing for social awareness in today's cultural climate. Her band features a circle of highly talented classically trained musicians including Ian Dicke on bass, Jennifer Smull on cello and vocal harmonies, and Owen Weaver on percussion. Elisa just released a new album entitled Isla de Ninos!