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Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | SELF

Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States | SELF
Band Classical Avant-garde


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



"Who'd have thunk that cellos can be so cool?"

Jelloslave is a wonderful, organic fusion of elements that just feel like they were meant to be put together...

- Rob Simonds, Executive Director & International Promoter, Cedar Cultural Center, Mpls, MN

"everything is moving, thrumming, getting somewhere mysteriously in the music of JelloSlave"

When I say singing like a cello, I mean specifically Michelle Kinney’s or Jacqueline Ultan’s cello. Voice, purple cloth, saffron threads waiting in the mortar for the pestle, gong or the gong-like surface of a pond rippling out to the edge with the swimwake of a big fish—everything is moving, thrumming, getting somewhere mysteriously in the music of JelloSlave, where it’s not so much love’s fingers you feel but the tendons of the groin and a great bridge lifting—or lowering, its reflection turning to something else in the cloudy rapid river.
Lightsey Darst: Walker Art Center Sponsored Online Community - Walker Art Center Sponsored Online Community

"David Lynch, Meet Jelloslave"

If ever there was music for making out in an art gallery, Jelloslave’s is it. The quartet, founded by cellists Michelle Kinney and Jacqueline Ultan, released their first album this winter. It’s called Touch It, and you’re free to take that command wherever the groove moves you (most likely to the Walker Art Center, with someone who would appreciate a musical blend of J. S. Bach and George Harrison).
The album title is an attempt at describing the intimacy of Jelloslave’s sound: two cellos meshing into one “übercello,” as Ultan puts it. She and Kinney met at a musical performance at the Weisman Art Museum three years ago. Kinney had recently returned from New York, where she spent 12 years recording with the likes of Natalie Merchant and Sheryl Crow. Now backed by percussionists Gary Waryan and Greg Schutte, they’ve shared stages with hip-hop and jazz musicians. They use their cellos like Silly Putty, mimicking flute and reed sounds or the human voice. They don’t mind the label “art music,” though Ultan has another suggestion: “psycho- acoustic cello theater.” In fact, they believe their music would be perfect for movie soundtracks. David Lynch, meet Jelloslave.
Tim Gihring, Minnesota Monthly Magazine September 2006 - Minnesota Monthly Magazine

"Jelloslave You Tube links"

Nana @The Dakota

Whole Lotta Foxy Bach CD Release @Open Eye Theater

You Are So Stingingly Demure @1st Ave

J.S. George @1st Ave - CocoLuna

"The Minneapolis band Jelloslave, with two fiery cellists at its core, takes the cello where quartets and concertos don't usually go."

Minneapolis — The Minneapolis band Jelloslave, with two fiery cellists at its core, takes the cello where quartets and concertos don't usually go. Jelloslave will unveil its new CD, "Purple Orange," this Friday and Saturday night at Open Eye Figure Theater in Minneapolis.

Forget trying to put Jelloslave's music into some neat little category. In fact, experimental jazz saxophonist George Cartwright of Roseville, won't even take a stab at it.

"The problem in trying to describe something that you think is really special, and touches you in a way that you can't explain, is that you can't explain it," he said. "That's what I like. I can't talk about it but it's fantastic cause I can feel it."

What Jelloslave members feel when they play is freedom, freedom to take an unusual configuration of drums, tabla and two cellos and just explore.

"We're really open to trying anything, as long as we can make it work."

Jelloslave's Jacqueline Ultan, with Michelle Kinney, are eager to push their cellos into new musical realms. Kinney says with the instrument's wide spectrum of pitches and warm, mellow sound, there are plenty of ways to attack the music.

"One of us can be singing, the other one can be growling and vice versa," she said. "We can play bass lines for each other, we can support each other to solo, and it sort becomes bigger than the two of us I think, because of the way the cello functions and its range."

Jelloslave at First Ave.
"The range is so close to the human voice, that it becomes very conversational," Jaqueline Ultan said. "And I think just because of who we are, our musical references just our spirit -- all of that -- we really communicate."

The shared influences Ultan talks about make up a wide swath of musical styles, many of which you can hear scattered throughout the new CD. You've got Bach and contemporary new music on one end, Led Zeppelin, the Beatles and Jimi Hendrix on the other, with Astor Piazzolla, avant jazz and electronic music in between.

"It all ends up in the jello mode," Jacqueline Ultan said.

Improvisation is at the heart of Jelloslave's music, especially its original pieces. On "Purple Orange" the band also demonstrates that even if you don't have a singer, the cello is more than a capable substitute.

"One of the tunes on our new record is "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen, and we modeled it after the Jeff Buckley version," Jacqueline Ultan said.

"You know and the words to that song are beautiful and important, but the melody is so incredible," Ultan said. "And so, we felt that like we could say something without the words."

Ultan and Michelle Kinney are in high demand as collaborators. Writer and performer Kevin Kling says both have an uncanny ability to crawl into the skin of an actor or sense the rhythms of a monologue when they're providing accompaniment. To Kling, Jelloslave pieces feel like unfolding wordless stories that trigger his imagination.

"And so when I hear Michelle and Jacqueline, the things that I conjure are just fantastic and I just... it makes me want to work them all the more," he said.

The cello is no longer an anomaly in pop or rock. Ultan jokes that in some indie circles, the cello is the new guitar. The only thing that bothers her is the limited way they're being used.

"People who barely know how to play can play in a pop band and, you know, do the cello thing, and it seems really cool," she said. "But no, cello doesn't have to function in that place. Cello can be the lead instrument."

Ultan says there's so much a cello can say, and that's what Jelloslave is out to prove.
- Minnesota Public Radio - Chris Roberts

""Usually you'll find the cello quietly lurking in the back of your local symphony orchestra; sometimes it'll be brought out to provide a bit of somber coloration for a rock bands' "serious" songs. Jelloslave instead puts the cello front and center, using "

"Usually you'll find the cello quietly lurking in the back of your local symphony orchestra; sometimes it'll be brought out to provide a bit of somber coloration for a rock bands' "serious" songs. Jelloslave instead puts the cello front and center, using the approaches of both classical and rock (but beholden to neither), whipping up a bold, avant-garde sound that also includes Indian percussion and jazz improvisation." - Christopher Bahn from The Onion A.V. Club


Jelloslave CDs:

Touch It, 2006
Purple Orange, 2010




Jelloslave Bio, 2011

Jelloslave cellists/composers Michelle Kinney and Jacqueline Ultan have been performing together since 2003. They are in demand as a duo and individually among some of the world's foremost artists in new and creative music. They are known for their contributions to the work of LOU REED, SHERYL CROW, THE JAYHAWKS, DAN WILSON, NATALIE MERCHANT, among many others.

In 2005 Jelloslave became an established quartet with the addition of drummer Greg Schutte and Gary Waryan on tablas. Known for their dynamic improvisational compositions, the foursome pours heart and soul into an eclectic original repertoire ranging from mesmerizing fusions of jazz, Afro-Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Indian rhythms, to surprising pop music interpretations.

Jelloslave's critically acclaimed debut CD, Touch It, released in 2006, was named by JOHN SCHAFER of NPR’s NEW SOUNDS AS BEING AMONG THE TOP 10 CDs he would want with him if marooned on a desert island. Like Touch It, Jelloslave’s follow up CD, Purple Orange, released in April 2010, features originals by cellists Michelle Kinney and Jacqueline Ultan, as well as arrangements of songs by other artists such as Leonard Cohen and Astor Piazolla.

Jelloslave has been a featured act at the Twin Cities most prominent festivals and venues, including 1st AVENUE, WALKER ART CENTER, CEDAR CULTURAL CENTER, Southern Theater, St. Paul's Concrete and Grass and Sur Seine Festivals, The Northrop Summer Music Series, Macy's Day of Music, Mill City Live Summer Concert Series, and many more.

Michelle Kinney is currently on the faculty of the University of Minnesota as Musician in Residence in the Dance Program. As a composer she has received awards and grants from The Bush Foundation, The Jerome Foundation, McKnight Foundation, NEA/Rockefeller, Harvestworks/Studio Pass, and the American Composers Forum. As a player, Michelle has worked with some of the most respected innovators in new music, including Henry Threadgill, Butch Morris, Jason Hwang, Brandon Ross, Myra Melford, Mary Ellen Childs, Bun Ching Lam, Shi-Zheng Chen, and in the pop world with such artists as Lou Reed, Sheryl Crow, Natalie Merchant,and Dan Wilson. Michelle performs frequently with the cello/drum quartet Jelloslave, and with her husband, composer and guitarist Chris Cunningham in the “micro orchestra” Mississippi Peace. She is a dedicated and lifelong improviser.

Jacqueline Ultan
After graduating from YALE University with a Master's Degree in performance, Jacqueline Ultan's unique versatility as a cellist, composer and collaborator has put her in demand among todays world renowned jazz, new music, and rock artists. Jacqueline currently performs and composes in four unique and acclaimed projects: Jelloslave, Saltee, Starfolk, and Antigravity. In February of this year, Jacqueline presented an evening of music with her four bands for the premiere season of the Cedar Cultural Center's 416 Club Commissions program, funded by the Jerome Foundation. A dedicated teacher for years, Jacqueline serves on the faculty at the Macphail Center for Music and the Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

Drummer Greg Schutte has recorded, performed and toured nationally and internationally with many artists, spanning multiple musical genres. He co-owns, records and produces @The Bathtub Shrine Recording Studio in NE Minneapolis with Matthew Hupton.

Gary Waryan has studied and played tablas for over 30 years. His focus is on the lighter folk rhythms of India. His East meets West approach to his classical tabla training puts him in demand among several prominent Twin Cities artists.