Irina Rivkin
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Irina Rivkin

Berkeley, California, United States | INDIE

Berkeley, California, United States | INDIE
Band Folk World


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This band has not uploaded any videos



"PeaceDriven song reviews"

With just a drum and stirring vocals, "Taking Our Freedom" draws you in and keeps your attention until the end. The lyrics are personal and socially charged and it's a very touching piece of music. Well done!

"Little Silver Packets" is a yet another beautiful composition from
Irina Rivkin. She writes purposeful songs and avoids the pitfalls of
clichés. Her songs are unique, personal and heartfelt and immediately resonate with listeners. This song is very well done.

"Katrina's Eye" is a fascinating song with an amazing social awareness. Its acoustic presentation fits perfectly with the deep lyrics that are delivered. This song stands out as one of the most moving songs written about the worst natural disaster in American history.

- PeaceDriven Songwriting Awards

"Sing Out! Vol48 #2 Summer 2004"

Irina Rivkin was born in Leningrad (St. Petersburg, Russia. She moved to California as a young child. Now, at 32, with her first release Upwelling, she is political, jazzy, and rhythmic. Spanish and Russian are laced throughout the English lyrics.

Impeccable enunciation and hot, harmony-rich vocals carry each track. The vocals are always so close that it’s as if she was lip-close to our ears sharing the intimate agony of Guatemalan women losing family members to cycles of fire and blood, or her ecstasy of finding true love.

One highlight is “Ya Eyo Lublu” (Russian for I love her). She sings undaunted and upbeat as she brings her lover home, despite her mother’s admonishing, “I don’t like that you’re like that.”

On three tracks she includes Maria Quiles and Rebecca Crump as the trio Making Waves. Singing “Glass House” their rhythm and sound would pass as a Russian Sweet Honey in the Rock. It is easy to forget that many of the songs have no instruments beyond vocals. We feel no loss musically.

As she sings on “Taking Our Freedom” her father was caught and threatened by the K.G.B. for spreading the love of poetry. Coming to America was their attempt to find some freedom somewhere. Here is a woman who knows the treasure of freedom and is singing for and about it both worldwide and inside. -Angela Page
- Sing Out!

"The Ectophiles’ Guide to Good Music"

Irina Rivkin's music is a nice mix of a cappella tunes and full-band compositions. She's got a warm, passionate voice that suits both kinds of songs. She mixes personal songs (like "Ya eyo lublu, I love her") with political ones like "See Through Bush"(George, not Kate obviously). "Hold the Moment" poignantly speaks of not being able to still time. Ironically songs are one of our means of holding the moment, like musical snapshots of feelings and events. upwelling is full of moments, captured for us by a gifted singer and writer. - Anna Maria Stjärnell

"CD Review of "upwelling", Muse's Muse"

CD REVIEW: Irina Rivkin – “Upwelling”
By Stacey Board - 01/11/05 - 04:23 PM EST
The first thing you notice about Irina is that she is very brave. Then immediately after you realize that she is also very talented and very unique. Her voice is like a fine liquid glass ribbon. It is versatile, solid, fragile and flowing.

Her songwriting voice is also very unique and strong. Her melodies soar and swoop but still stand solid and balanced. She writes with what I imagine is a mirror and flowers in one hand, and a pen and sword in the other. She is not afraid to be vulnerable, and she’s not afraid to tell you how it is, even when the flaws are yours. Rivkin is a modern poet, protester, trailblazer and compassionate artist.

The varied harmonies that are added by Making Waves, her trio that includes partners Maria Quiles and Rebecca Crump simply shine. Their voices are lovely and they sound lovely together.

If you appreciate music with a heart, a brain and a message you will adore Irina Rivkin’s “Upwelling”.
- Muse's Muse Music Reviews

"Indie Round-up for March 9, 2006"

Indie Round-Up for March 9, 2006 - Golay, Rivkin, Rentler
March 09, 2006
Jon Sobel

Irina Rivkin, upwelling
Although we are in a richly creative time marked by cross-pollination of musical styles and traditions, this CD stands out as something really different. In a mere 36 minutes Irina Rivkin pulls together aesthetic, emotional, political, sexual, and social justice themes into a contiguous and unique artistic statement. Despite the coffee cups in the cover photo, Rivkin's work is very far from the "lesbian coffeehouse music" that I anticipated. Instead it's a kind of world-folk spawned from the artist's Russian folk-music background and acute sensitivity to personal and political injustice, and informed by a crossover-jazz sensibility a la Leonard Bernstein and a mildly experimental bent akin to that of Kate Bush or Meredith Monk.
It's all that, and it's pretty to listen to too.
The instrumental accompaniments are light to nonexistent, as Rivkin's voice is the prime instrument here, bolstered by those of the excellent Maria Quiles and Rebecca Crump (who together with Rivkin comprising the group Making Waves). Rivkin sings her angular melodies in a voice that switches easily from soft to sharp. Where the other voices jump in, the sound becomes more universal and more exotic at the same time: discrete moments could have come as easily from a North American roots-revivalist group like the Be Good Tanyas as from an exotic, arty hitmaker like the Bulgarian Women's Choir.

Her lyrics, for the most part, manage to be both pointed and poetic. Political music is hard to pull off, especially if it's not satirical, and, except in "Welfare-to-Work Blues," which is musically creative and elegant but lyrically forced, Rivkin accomplishes the difficult task very well. "See Through Bush" is clever and light-handed and the more cutting thereby; the Spanish-language "Sobrevivientes" raises a fist of musical beauty against oppression; and the chant-like "Taking Our Freedom" deepens its message with hypnotically intense music while personalizing it with a dollop of family history.

The non-political songs are rewarding too. Rivkin's reflections on love and its accompanying troubles range from the imagistic ("Little Silver Packets," "River & Volcano") to the painfully explicit (the Outmusic Award-winning "Ya Eyo Lublu"), and, unlike most lyricists, who are at home only in one mode or the other, Rivkin can convince with words both clouded and clear.
- Jon Sobel, feature columnist

"East Bay & Palo Alto Daily News"

Intimate glimpse of artists caught on MySpace

By Paul Freeman / Entertainment Writer

Berkeley-based progressive folk artist Irina Rivkin pours an intense intimacy into her poetic lyrics and haunting melodies. Her voice is delicate, but resonates with an expressive power. Whether delving into the personal or the political, her songs command attention. An a cappella number, "Ya Eyo Lublue," a Russian love song, demonstrates her unadorned vocal magic. Rivkin performs at the Freight & Salvage for "Rhythm & Harmony: New Horizons in Global Songcraft" on May 6, joined by Ashley Maher and Moira Smiley with VOCO.
- East Bay Daily News, Palo Alto Daily News, & more

"Local Talent Donates Tracks to Benefit Queer Center -- favorite track "Ya Eyo Lublu""

Local Talent Donates Tracks to Benefit Queer Center
November 15th, 2006 [7:51PM] Posted by: JASON SIMMS | 0 COMMENTS

Have 20 well-known, mostly-local artists ever come together to say “Hey, we support who you are!” to you? Well, yesterday the queer youth of Portland received just such a shout out with the release of Cherchez la Femme’s Safe Haven compilation. The disk is a figurative haven, largely peopled with queer artists or groups with queer members, in some cases singing about that very fact: My favorite track is “Ya Eyo Lubia” by Irina Rivkin, which is an a cappella number about bringing a girlfriend home to meet a less-than-supportive mother. But the compilation benefits a literal haven, the Sexual Minority Youth Resource Center at 2100 SE Belmont, where lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning kids under the age 24 find a place to write, create art, and, according to the materials I got with the CD, even “cook healthy food together” in a judgment-free environment.

Here are a few tracks that immediately caught my eye. File these under, “Damn. That’s pretty impressive.”

Pink Martini – “Sympathique”
Tara Jane O’Neil – “The Poisoned Mine”
Le Tigre – “Keep on Livin’”
Sleater-Kinney – “Step Aside”
The Decemberists – “The Soldiering Life”
Sneakin’ Out – “Cool It”
Indigo Girls – “Dairy Queen”

The Sneakin’ Out track is previously unreleased, and the Indigo Girls number is apparently really rare. That Demberists track is extra notable one because guitarist/multi instrumentalist Chris Funk helped contact some of the artists on the CD and strategize for its release. Much of the rest of the CD is dominated by female solo artists, many of whom donated unreleased tracks. The first five were specially mastered by Bill Gladfelter at Jackpot as a donation to the comp, but all of these are probably new to your ears:

Amee McCaa – “This Old Town”
Lara Michell – “House on Fire”
Claire Bard – “You Got Love”
Nicole Campbell – “Serendipity”
Ann Weiss – “Juanita”
Cynthia Williams – “Lidda Bidda Bliss”
Pamela Means – “Augusta”
Tamara J. Brown – “DYKE”
Bethany Lars / Spiraling Infinites – “Sentimental”
Vivian’s Keeper – “Puzzle”
Ashleigh Flynn – “Maybe, Maybe Not”
Alix Olson – “Cute for a Girl”

You can order the compilation from Cherchez la Femme’s website, or pick one up at Music Millennium, and you can learn more about SMYRC by visiting their website.

Photo: SMYRC’s parade banner.

- Local Cut -- Willamette Week

"breathtaking act as a live one-woman choir"

"Rivkin, who performs her own breathtaking act as a "live one-woman choir" (using digital looping technology to astonishing effect), said house concerts offer artists "a venue to connect with the audience where there's not so much of a separation between the audience and the performer. For me, music is a lot about connection."" Michael Dougan, SF Chronicle

For the full article, please see - San Francisco Chronicle


Upwelling (full length, Rose Street Records, 2004)
"upwelling" has airplay on over 100 stations.
Track 9 "See Thru Bush" from Upwelling on Acoustic Rainbow Compilation Vol 20
“Ya Eyo Lublu" from Upwelling on "Safe Haven" compilation raising funds for Portland LGBTQ youth services

click on "audio" to hear songs from "upwelling". To hear samples from all 13 "upwelling" songs, visit
To receive a copy of the full CD for booking consideration or radio, email

previous work: Rose Street Raw (2 songs on comp.)
Irina Rivkin "unplugged" homemade ep

Partial List of Radio Appearances & Radioplay as of July 2005:
CJLX Belleville ON
CKHA Haliburton ON
KALW San Francisco CA
KBOO Portland OR
KHUM Humboldt CA
KHSU Arcata CA
KKUP Cupertino CA
KMUD Redway CA
KMUN Astoria OR
KNON Dallas TX
KHSU Arcata CA
KPFA Berkeley CA
KPSU Portland OR
KRCB Rohnert Park CA
KRCL Salt Lake City UT
KRSC Claremore OK
KRVM Eugene OR
KRVS Lafayette LA
KSER Seattle WA
KUFM Missoula MT
KUPS Tacoma OK
KUSF San Francisco CA
KZSC Santa Cruz CA
KZYX Mendocino CA
Radio Crystal Blue
Radio ZuSa (Germany)
Radio Wueste-Welle (Germany)
Utah Public Radio
WBGU Bowling Green OH
WBKE N. Manchester IN
WBNY Buffalo NY
WCWS College of Wooster OH
WDPS Dayton OH
WEFT Champaign IL
WEIU Charleston IL
WFHB Bloomington IN
WFMT, Chicago IL (Syndicated)
WGAZ Goodman WI
WHUS Storrs, CT
WIUS Carbondale IL
WJFF Jeffersonville NY
WMPG Portland ME
WNAS New Albany IN
WNJC Sewell NJ
WLUW Chicago IL
WORT Madison WI
WPRB Princeton NJ
WRFG Atlanta GA
WRFL Lexington KY
WRVG Georgetown OH
WTSR College of NJ
WXXE Syracuse NY FL
99.7 FM Brisbane Australia Sidestream
Laney Goodman's "Women in Music" syndicated on 87 stations
& many more



OutMusic Awards Recipient
Indiegrrl Songwriting Contest winner (2 songs in the top-7)
Music to Life Foundation Top 40 Finalist
PeaceDriven Song Contest Semi-Finalist

Rivkin “performs her own breathtaking act as a "live one-woman choir" (using digital looping technology to astonishing effect)” Michael Dougan, SF Chronicle

“Innovative and glorious! You were stunning…wow I was blown away…you are a deeply gifted woman.” Linda Zeiser, concert producer

“Bobby McFerrin reminds me of you” Bodhi Goforth, house concert co-producer

Outmusic Awards Recipient for OutSong of the Year 2003, & Nominee for Outstanding Debut Recording 2005, Rose Street House of Music founder and singer-songwriter Irina Rivkin has performed for 25 years, from her childhood singing Russian folk and American Jazz in a family band, to performing her own songs for the last 12 years. She expresses insightful, gutsy, vocal world-folk originals, journeying into the personal and political, with occasional travels into Russian and Spanish language lyrics. Irina layers her poetic lyrics with rich textured harmonies, swirling with vocal percussive beats, all created live on-the-spot using her loop station instrument.

For a recent video of a solo live performance demonstrating this live-looping, please see:

Irina has performed her own originals at a variety of festivals and tours, was audience-rated among the top 10 for the Susquehanna Music and Arts Festival, which also included artists such as Dar Williams & Disappear Fear. In addition, as an occasional harmony vocalist for SONiA of Disappear Fear, Irina sang at the biggest march in US History on 4/25/04 in Washington DC, as well as at the June 2004 Clearwater Hudson River Revival on a stage shared with Pete Seeger, Holly Near, Toshi Reagan, & Dar Williams!

Her full-length CD “upwelling” was released on Rose Street Records in 2004, and has received airplay on over 100 radio programs. "See Through Bush," a song from "upwelling", received repeated airplay all over the world after being chosen for the Acoustic Rainbow v.20 radio sampler (distibuted in Oct. 2004 to over 1200 radio stations). “Ya Eyo Lublu”, Irina’s OutMusic-Award-winning “Russian-émigré-lesbian-coming-out-love-song” was included on the recently-released "Safe Haven" compilation raising funds for Portland LGBTQ youth services, along with artists such as Indigo Girls, Pamela Means, Alix Olson, Ashleigh Flynn, etc.

Irina Rivkin has shared the stage with a wide variety of artists, including Ferron, Laura Love, Disappear Fear, Girlyman, Rebecca Riots, Julia Butterfly, Alix Olson, Rose Polenzani, Joules Graves, Woody Simmons, Vienna Teng, Gwen Avery, Alice Di Micele, and many others.

Irina showcased at the 2000 & 2005 Rockgrrl conferences, and was selected to became a performing member of Indiegrrl, as well as being selected for juried official showcases at Folk Alliance 2006.

Irina Rivkin combines music and community. She founded the Rose Street House of Music, a house concert & musical community bringing out women’s voices through poetic original music of substance & depth. She organized the original acapella ensemble, Making Waves, around a song she had written supporting the struggle of KPFA, a community radio station. She also created and led "Harmonic Convergence" group singing as well as "Live-Looping" workshops in a variety of locations. Rose Street Harmony Tour concerts, featuring Irina Rivkin solo or in collaboration with other Rose Street singer/songwriters, are offered at a variety of colleges, festivals, venues, house concerts and more!

Irina "performs her own breathtaking act as a "live one-woman choir" (using digital looping technology to astonishing effect)..." Michael Dougan, SF Chronicle

“She is political, jazzy, and, harmony-rich vocals...
rhythm & sound would pass as a Russian Sweet Honey in the Rock."
Angela Page, Sing Out! Summer 2004

“beautiful lyrical melody, the added voice over of earthy harmony, and finally the texture of beatbox all performed live with the benefit of electronic looping. This feminist beatboxer poet has it all in one dynamic package." [Janie Roberts, Venue Owner, Wild Janes]

"I just wanted to thank you all so much for coming to our should know that something inside of me opened up when I was there listening to you beautiful women make music and use your voices so powerfully on stage. I've been listening to your CD's like a maniac. Your music is my new medicine. So, just wanted to let you know that it's working. Take care,"
-email from a student Pacific University, Forest Grove OR, after a Rose Street on the Road concert

"Irina has an amazing gift of being able to multiply her voice right before your eyes, one singer many voices come together for an amazing sound of pure harmony...Each song is like a sand sculpture .... hauntingly beautiful, powerful, & awe-inspiring..