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Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF | AFM

Tulsa, Oklahoma, United States | SELF | AFM
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Blues




"Midwestern Rock with Haifa Soul"

“Kalo, the granddaughter of famed Israeli author and poet Shlomo Kalo, grew up in Haifa, but felt like there was no place for her on the local music scene…o after completing her IDF service and beginning her studies at the Hed College of Music in Tel Aviv, Kalo jumped at an opportunity to be an exchange student at Oklahoma City University…But Haifa to Oklahoma City was certainly a culture shock for Kalo.” - JERUSALEM POST

"Channeling the Spirits: Blues Rocker KALO Returns to Houston"

“Anyone who made it out for the first annual Brooklyn Twang Festival this past May at The Continental Club is sure to remember the explosive and stand out performance of Israeli born and Oklahoma based blues rocker KALO … (who) stood out not only for her individuality and rock and roll edge in a sea of more country style artists, but also for her ability to command attention shredding on her guitar with raw enthusiasm and fervor forever imprinting herself into the audience's mind.” - Houston Press

"Eternal Rhythm is Her Muse"

“Some of Kalo’s success in the United States may be because of her fearlessness in disturbing musical norms. She’s not from here but embraces Americana, blues, rock and the many sub-genres associated with them. Kalo adds a spin that makes them her own.” - Norman Transcript

"Vents Magazine Album Review - Wild Change"

"In the end, KALO accomplishes what only a few talented bands can do, especially -and surprisingly- within such a demanding wild, loud and emotional-filled genre as it is Blues and Rock where we find more and more acts that laid back so much that it becomes tedious and boring. Wild Change is definitely a must listen album for all the fans of both classic and modern rock." - Vents Magazine

"Elmore Magazine Review - Wild Change"

"KALO is a power trio built on strong melodies and rhythms with passionate vocals. Their sound is rock ‘n’ roll with a strong dose of blues and a hint of Americana, R&B and roots. They have honed their sound to perfection with the time-tested method of continued touring and performing shows headlining festivals and earning a name and a following through sweat, determination and electrified stage shows. Wild Change, KALO’s latest studio album is a joyful boisterous, bluesy, gritty rockin’ sound of flavorful tunes. ... Wild Change is passionate, creative, and supremely exciting in a rock, blues, Americana kind of a way. A helluva noise is created! KALO has a complete album experience, you’ll hear that something is very right here." - Elmore Magazine

"Skope Magazine Review - Wild Change"

​"The best music sends you somewhere else, be it to a distant memory or another world. It colors your mood to fit the tune, the lyrics, or the general vibe the artist was going for. This is true for the band KALO, who is out with the new single, “Wild Change.” Rock ‘n’ roll with a taste of blues, this song has the powerhouse riffs fans have come to expect from the Oklahoma band. KALO is made up of Bat-Or Kalo (lead vocals, guitar), Mack McKinney (bass, backup vocals), and Mike Alexander (drums). They’re known for their soulful rock and Kalo’s gravelly voice. “Wild Change” has a smooth, sexy sound with a rhythm that sucks you in. Alexander provides a steady beat for Kalo and McKinney to work their magic, and magic it is. I couldn’t sit still while listening. You can feel the heart and soul in the music. It grabs you and refuses to let go (not that you’d want to). There’s a truth, pure and simple, to the band’s sound that leaves you wanting more. That makes the 3:17 track feel far too short. Their sound brings to mind a few songs from Gin Wigmore’s album “Gravel & Wine”- especially “Black Sheep” and “Kill of the Night”. Wigmore, like Kalo, isn’t originally from the US, but both found the distinct sound of the South enticing enough to make it their own. The band has been compared to the White Stripes before, and not without good reason. Personally, I feel they’re closer to superband, The Dead Weather, with the almost southern gothic approach to their sound." - Skope Magazine

"Breaking Blues"

OKLAHOMA CITY – From the top of a wood table dappled with beer mugs and shot glasses, Indie blues rocker Bat-Or Kalo leans into her black and white Gibson guitar. Pausing from her solo, Kalo leaps from the tabletop, landing spryly in her worn brown cowboy boots as the audience inside the bar erupts to their feet, clapping, whistling and whooping as she jogs back to the stage, guitar cable in tow.

The tabletop solo and the unique edge of Kalo’s trio KALO became the talk of blues music lovers in January when the band competed at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn., an epic battle of blues bands. Based out of Oklahoma City, the trio of Kalo – with bassist Mack McKinney and drummer Erick Worrell – played to packed crowds up and down the renowned Beale Street during the weeklong competition.

KALO was the only band from Oklahoma or northwest Arkansas to progress to the semifinals, beating out nearly 70 other bands from across the world and U.S. Eight bands competed in the final round Jan. 24 before Eddie Cotton of Mississippi took home the top prize in the band competition.

In a lineup of straitlaced blues men, Bat-Or Kalo was sure to stick out, gender and daring solos aside.

Israeli born and bred, Kalo embraces not fitting in; in fact, she considers it part of her DNA.

“I’m from Israel – the land of a million chords,” said Kalo. “My country is young, and Israelis come from all over the world, so everything seems unique and different. For me rules are nice to know, but I also like to create my own.

KALO is part blues, part rock and jazz with a smattering of Americana – and Israeli eclecticism. On KALO’s most recent album, Dear John, Kalo sings about broken hearts and yearning alongside a Mississippi-influenced blues guitar. She also announces immodestly on songs like “March to the Light” and “Like It Or Not” that she is who she is – take it or leave it.

“All of us have different ways of showing our truth,” Kalo said. “So this is mine. My truth doesn’t stay inside the lines.”

Standing a scooch above five feet tall, with boy-short black hair and dark eyes, Kalo might be mistook for a pixie. Contrasting her diminutive frame is a low, contralto voice. Equal parts feminine and masculine, Kalo can wail on a Jimi Hendrix riff and then sweetly weep on some of her quieter, more reflective tunes.

Jim “Hardluck” Johnson, host of the “Weekend Blues,” a weekend blues music show on KGOU, the Univ. of Oklahoma’s National Public Radio station, said he first heard about Kalo nearly three years ago. He’s since seen her play during Norman Music Festival, and, as its program chair, has invited her to play at Norman’s Jazz in June festival this year.

Sure, he admits. It’s not pure blues.

“Do we really need another Muddy Waters? In his day, people told him he wasn’t blues,” Johnson said. “The stalwarts of the form, most of the legends were innovators and changed the game, even though they became the standard-bearers.”

Johnson says Kalo’s uniqueness sets her apart in an often-crowded stream; from her Israeli accent to her goofiness and unpredictability on stage to the angst in her guitar playing and the softness in her lyrics.

“It’s just different,” he said. “You can’t quite put your finger on it.”

Invariably, someone at a show will ask Kalo, “How the heck did you get to Oklahoma?”

She’ll mutter something about LaGuardia and an airplane. But like the majority of Israeli citizens, Kalo served a two-year stint in the army after turning 18. Following her service, Kalo attended Hed College of Music in Tel Aviv before completing her bachelor’s degree in music at Oklahoma City University. While in Oklahoma, she met bass player Mack McKinney and drummer Erick Worrell.

After graduating, Kalo returned to Israel briefly before moving to New York City in 2012. She performed and played at musical institutions like The Bitter End, a nightclub known for producing greats like Joni Mitchell. But New York City was an albatross around Kalo’s neck. In a sea with throngs of others trying to be different, she started to sink. So she returned to Oklahoma City and focused on playing and writing as KALO.

From the stage where he remains constant as a back line, McKinney has seen the jaw drops and raised eyebrows turn to whistles and whoops. He says Kalo’s uniqueness and the band’s helps keep them relevant and talked about.

“When people come and see us, they are taken aback sometimes,” said McKinney. “They hear these big sounds coming not just from a small woman but a small group. There’s a joy in that surprise.”

Learn more at www.kaloband.com and www.facebook.com/kaloblues. - Currentland magazine

"Women Who Rock"

Israeli frontwoman and guitarist KALO is pure force and proof that big things come in small packages. The spritely, often beautifully gender-bending woman has lived in Oklahoma less than three (and in the United States about five) years, and her trio – made up of veteran drummer Mike Alexander and versatile bassist Mack McKinney – never sounds like only three.

When she’s onstage, eyes are glued to what might happen next: a cute quip about her English (her Israeli accent often bleeds through), a stroll through the crowd with her electric guitar or a musical build-up that leaves onlookers quaking for more – it’s all possible with KALO and makes for an energy-and-emotion filled stage show.

KALO’s most recent album, Dear John, released in 2013, is a blues-and-rock inspired gem, with elements of R&B and bluegrass speckled in. KALO’s done her homework soaking up the sounds of the Delta and the South. It’s often melancholy about love that didn’t quite work out while switching gears to anthem cries about marching to the beat of her own drum.

Her first album, recorded in Israel and released in 2009, shows off her jazzier roots.

KALO is currently touring and working on an upcoming album, with a Kickstarter campaign forthcoming. Visit www.kaloband.com for more details. - Currentland

"Midwest Record"

KALO/Dear John: In which we find a white girl with the blues taking it to the next level of the game proving that sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the back story. An Israeli lass who has finished her military stint picks up where she left off with a Jimi Hendrix cassette sending her and her electric guitar off into some zone where west side Chicago resurfaced on Mars. Multi-cultured to the max, Kalo sounds more like a pissed off riot grrrl than a white girl with the blues but maybe there’s a crossover where it all comes together. A cutting edge piece of the nu genre. -

"Happily Blue"

Israeli born and raised, Bat-Or Kalo is seeing America through an unusual lens. She’s a devoted blues artist, required by law to create and perform her music. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose her artist visa and back to Haifa she’ll go. Not that it’s a bad prospect — she loves Israel and her family still lives there. But now might not be the best time.

Photo -
Bat-Or Kalo plays her Teisco guitar during a recording session at RK 1 Studios in Oklahoma City. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman

Bat-Or Kalo plays her Teisco guitar during a recording session at RK 1 Studios in Oklahoma City. Photo by Sarah Phipps, The Oklahoman SARAH PHIPPS - SARAH PHIPPS
While the eyes of the world are focused on the troubles in her homeland, Kalo says she’s used to the political unrest in the region, though not on the current scale. Growing up basking on beaches and diving into the Mediterranean Sea with a “crazy but very supportive” family, she was removed from the fighting but very much aware of it always.

Now, Kalo is a professional musician and songwriter living in Oklahoma City. She worked for months to compile her portfolio and paperwork and cut through red tape necessary to secure her artist visa.

Tough stuff, tiny package

If Kalo were a contestant on “The Voice,” before the judges caught the visage of the talented singer and guitar player, who knows what they might expect to see? Probably a big woman, considering the depth of her vocal range — she hovers around middle C, and her contralto slides easily an octave lower.

They might even expect to see a man, given the aggressive, stylized power behind her playing.

But as each judge’s chair would inevitably spin around, what they would see might surprise them.

Kalo is a sprite of a woman at barely 5 feet tall. Her rave shave is growing out from all pink to dark roots with bright blond tips. She wears deep Vs, plain jeans and has a bit of the “gift of androgyny,” as her friend and business partner Vallery Brown puts it.

Now 27, Kalo spent her patriotic duty of two years in the Israeli army after she graduated high school. She describes the experience as horrible, but she’s very patriotic to her homeland.

“I’m coming from a generation who fought for their land, who was like sweating, bleeding for their land,” she says of her parents’ and grandparents’ generations. “They did it all, so I feel like I owe it to my country.”

Living in America, she is ensconced in her world, happily playing the blues. Sitting at a local coffee shop, the Jewish woman runs into half a dozen people she knows, from the head of the Jewish Federation in Oklahoma City, to the barista who is also Kalo’s equestrian instructor, to fans walking by. Everyone knows her.

Finding inspiration

Kalo’s creative juices often are sparked as she cruises from one gig to another, all across the country.

Side stops are one of the best parts of going on a road trip, seeing the country whiz by through car windows, touring with her three-piece band. She sings and plays guitar, Mack McKinney plays bass, and Erick Worrell plays drums in KALO.

On one such road trip, coming home to Oklahoma City from a gig, Kalo and Brown saw a sign for a garage sale. This sale was more like one of those hoarders’ homes where you can walk in and make an offer on just about anything.

There wasn’t much they were interested in.

“What’s back there?” Kalo asked in her thick Israeli accent, motioning toward a door to another room.

She had a feeling there was something she wanted. When the owner opened the door, several guitars gleamed among the clutter in the room.

“How much for that one?”

It’s not for sale, the man said.

Another, more unusual guitar intrigued Kalo.

“$50 for that?”

The man thought for a second, and a deal was made.

That instrument was a Japanese-made Teisco electric guitar with a sound as distinct as Kalo’s.

It was a match made in the middle of nowhere.
Musical roots
That Teisco is always on stage with Kalo as she gigs. She mostly uses a slide on the Japanese electric for a distorted, metallic sound. She got it too late to record with on her new album, “Dear John,” but live, she’ll pull it out for a few tunes. It doesn’t hold tune well.

Kalo’s first guitar came from her paternal grandmother’s collection, when she was about 10, living in Haifa. The first song she figured out was Elvis Presley’s “Are You Lonesome Tonight?” She strummed the simple chords contentedly. Then when she started singing along, she fell in love with her instruments.

“I was the happiest person on Earth playing and singing,” she says.

From then on, she studied constantly. Often, not enough credit is given to the teachers behind the talent. Kalo credits her skill to some great teachers from whom she learned classical guitar, absorbing the basics, and twisting them into what she really wanted to play and sing.

She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in classical guitar from Oklahoma City University, where she had transferred in an exchange program from her college in Israel.

After graduating, at age 24, she headed to New York City to immerse herself in the music scene, then back to Haifa to cut her first album, “Flesh & Bones.” That album has a distinctly different flavor from the music she currently loves. Her hair was long and curly then; she looked and sounded like a different artist. Then she found herself.

A muse and the blues

Her favorite guitar is her Gibson Les Paul electric. On that, she rips solos reminiscent of her favorite guitar teacher, Jimi Hendrix, whom she discovered shortly after Elvis. Obviously, he wasn’t her hands-on teacher — he died almost two decades before her birth — but as soon as she discovered the guitar phenom, he became her inspiration, her muse, in a way.

But beware muses, one of Kalo’s teachers once warned.

“Don’t chase muses. They are very dangerous. You fall in love with them deeply, then they just fly out the window. You’re going to wait for them, but they’re not going to come back,” she recalls. “You know how you catch them? By practice. Every day you write. Every day you practice. And you are moving yourself … it’s not about the muse.”

Blues quickly became Kalo’s genre, but blues isn’t always bad news, she says.

“Blues is about simple stuff and starting from scratch and working hard,” Kalo says. “It’s not necessarily about broken hearts. It’s about a way of life, learning.

“My blues album is about a broken heart — but you recover, too, and it’s like, you know what? After all that, it’s fine. I’m still going to beat my drum and ring my bell.”

Why Oklahoma?

Oklahoma is Kalo’s home now, though she travels to New York often to gig and visit friends she made at “The Bitter End,” a blues club where she was heavily influenced as a “hired gun,” where she could observe and learn from some of the greats.

She loves the pace and culture in New York City and admitted that when she left Oklahoma the first time, she thought she’d never return.

“I don’t know what is here, but it got me back. It’s like I needed to go away from New York. I needed to sit down for a second and write music and be a musician. In New York, it’s too much. Too much. It’s like a machine, and I feel like I’m losing the purpose of what I came to do: music.”

She had a hunch about Oklahoma. “You know, I came back here, and the first thing I remember is the sky. The big sky of Oklahoma.”

Love isn’t easy to admit for Kalo, she hints.

“I’m going to allow myself to say that I love it here.” - The Oklahoman

"Singing the Blues"

Rob McClendon: Well, each year America welcomes close to 900,000 legal immigrants to our shores. Of these, about 140,000 – the majority of whom work in the tech sector – are granted something called a permanent residency. And for the rest, well, they’re here on what is a temporary and often very specific work permit. Our Alisa Hines caught up with one such worker who has come to the States to follow her musical dreams.

Alisa Hines: It’s music night at Frank and Lola’s in Bartlesville. [Music.] Rockin’ the room – the Kalo Band. [Music.]

Bat-or Kalo: It’s about grabbing the attention. I’m a stage person. I’m a performer.

Alisa: Bat-or Kalo is a guitarist/singer/songwriter from Israel who loves playing the blues.

Kalo: It’s just something that I’ve learned from a very young age, how to play blues.

Alisa: Now, her style is not traditional blues.

Kalo: OK, so my music, I don’t really know how to describe it. We just went to a kind of a blues competition, kind of a music, me and my band, and it was awesome. It was awesome not just because we won, but it was awesome because everybody said this is not blues. But we won, so. You know everyone said it’s interpretation, right? It’s how you’re interpreting that. But everyone I see is basically playing that, you know, that. And that’s great, it’s awesome, but it’s not for me [laugh].

Alisa: Playing since 10, Bat-or is glad her father didn’t listen to her mother wanting to keep her playing classical guitar.

Kalo: It was cool. They forced me to do that. It’s hard to force me stuff but that was one of the things that they managed to do, my parents, my teacher – they were, you got to learn how to play classic first. I’m like, “No, I want to play electric.” [Music.] And, you know, there were all the boys in my class and you know, above me, you know, in school, in high school. Those were the cool people playing, you know, they had bands and stuff and I’m like, “What? I want to do that, That’s cool.” Looked like fun. So after a year of busting my ass and crying, I got my first electric guitar, and it was the happiest day of my life. [Clapping.]

Alisa: So Bat-or is making her own path.

Kalo: And it’s really scary. It’s like – what are you doing? Everybody would say that – are you crazy? You’ll have maybe one or two, three if you’re lucky, good friends that will push you over this edge but then, you know, you’ve got to learn how to do that [flaps arms] and just fly [laughs].

Alisa: And fly she is – all the way from Israel to Oklahoma with a few stops along the way.

Kalo: I was just jumping [laugh] off a cliff. I’m still not sure if that was the right direction but the wind was right, so I was like, “OK, do this.” So I did. It was good. It was good. I jumped to New York first from Israel and then, you know, I felt that I was like, “All right, I’m done here. I’m not ready to go back to Israel but I’m ready to learn more in other places.” I think this is how I learn best. I was never a good student in school sitting down, you know, in a class, but I was good when I needed to experience, when I needed to work with my hands or sweat or, you know, just do stuff, create stuff. And so it was the best. So I guess I’m taking myself places to learn. I went to school in OCU in the College of Israel – HED College. They send me here, I mean, you know, it was a student, student exchange and it was my first jump kind of by myself in America ’cause I really wanted from very, very young age to come here. [Music.]

Alisa: Now Bat-or lives and works here on a visa for someone with extraordinary abilities in the arts.

Kalo: You know it’s a, it’s a simple visa. It’s a work visa like any work visa, and it’s just an artist visa. You know, it’s like you have a chef, so a chef have to work in cooking – have to prove himself. We have, you know, a lot of people that work here, that move here to work. You have to prove yourself as a carpenter, as a chef, as a teacher, as a musician and an artist. [Music.]

Alisa: But don’t call her the “I” word.

Kalo: I’m not an immigrant. I’m working here. I mean, you know, I’m on a visa. I’m very well taken care – pursuing my career, my life, myself. There are millions of artists in New York that I know that work around the world, and they carry this visa for many, many years. And, you know, just sort of, kind of a wave, you know, America is America. Yea, it’s all about exploring, you know, it’s not about the visa, it’s about exploring.

Alisa: And proving herself.

Kalo: How do I prove myself? I just keep playing. I try to talk less [laugh]. I’m trying to keep it honest but still very entertaining ’cause it’s about my entertaining life. And so, you know, it’s, uh, it’s fun. What I do, it’s maybe put out a message, maybe just for you to just forget the day, maybe just for you to believe in another dream that you have.

Alisa: But at the end of the day, Bat-or Kalo is living her dream and loving it.

Kalo: It gives me wings, that’s all [laugh] it does; yep, it gives me wings. [Music.]

Rob: Now, if you would like to learn more about Bat-or Kalo we do have a link to her website, as well as a story on the educational partnership that brought her and many other Israeli musicians to the state. Just head to okhorizon.com and look under our value added section. - OETA-TV


Flesh & Bones (2009)

Dear John (2013)

Live in NYC (2016)

Wild Change (2017)




Sexy guitar. Infectious rhythms. Smoky vocals. KALO is groovesome rhythm and blues meets fiery rock ‘n’ roll.

Kaloband.com | Electronic Press Kit

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The band is a tour-de-force that is a staple act across the Midwest, packing venues in Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas, Arkansas and Kansas, with frequent tour stops in the Northeast and South. From NYC's famed Bitter End music club to Beale Street in Memphis, Dallas, Tulsa and Oklahoma City, Knucklehead's Saloon in Kansas City and beyond, the dynamic act is quickly becoming a sought-after festival favorite and mid-size venue hot-item. KALO has played alongside the raucous rockers Andy Frasco & the U.N. but has deftly channeled their roots opening for famous blues guitarist John Mayall. They've also shared festival stages with acts like George Thoroughgood, Ian Moore, Robert Randolph & The Family Band and many more.