Liz de Lise
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Liz de Lise

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2015

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Established on Jan, 2015
Band Folk Alternative




"Dancer David Dorfman meditates on love and loss in ‘Come, and Back Again’"

David Dorfman is so much more than the sum of the losses that define middle age. Yet in “Come, and Back Again,” he explores his personal trajectory to a state of no return: The stunning downtown dancer who catapulted to the front and center of the New York dance scene in the 1980s is now the heavyset faculty chair and elder statesman who can still get his groove on (boy, can he). But in this piece, Dorfman just as often slips away, off-scene, detached, into an interior life of salvaging memories, keeping the past alive and learning how to say goodbye.

The elegiac nature of the piece was a tad disturbing in that Dorfman, now in his late 50s, is as vital as ever. At the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland on Saturday, Dorfman was, as usual, throwing himself on the ground and tackling his younger male dancers, moving his own props off the stage and playing the accordion or the saxophone with a remarkable indie-style band playing live at the Ina and Jack Kay Theatre. The music was sensational for alternative-rock fans, and the vocals wonderfully rich. Liz de Lise seemed to offer both Margo Timmins and a gentler Patti Smith in one voice, while Nick Montopoli channeled Tom Waits and Brad Roberts. The “look at my mess” set design could have been a conceptual installation by artist Ilya Kabakov — after it was taken to the scrap yard. The only thing missing was the performance soundtrack on CD.

Dorfman wrote that he began the project as “an exploration of poetic rock-and-roll,” citing Patti Smith as an influence; it evolved from there into a dance about love and loss, with sumptuous duets in which the dancers slipped around one another like curvy snakes. At one point dancer Whitney Tucker appears to stand on the hipbone of a prone Raja Kelly. Then she engaged in a wide-open développé(leg lift) to the side. It is one of hundreds of moments of physical and emotional trust.

In this close-to-epic one-hour meditation, Dorfman revealed his powerful talent for telling a story that is the audience’s story, too. They left the theater in the kind of mood that follows a heart-to-heart with an old, dear friend. - The Washington Post

"The Third Annual Liberty Music Festival - Musical Freedom Fighters Breaking The Boundaries Of The Past - Aug. 20-24"

The third annual Liberty Music Festival returns to Philadelphia for a four-day extravaganza beginning today and going throughout the weekend. Organizers, DVT Events and That Mag tell us that this year’s event will take place at Finnegan’s Wake on Spring Garden. All four floors will be utilized to present the biggest festival yet.

As one who has been present at the past two events, I can only say that this show promises even more in the way of music, education and free-form art. All genres of music are present, and that includes rock, pop, hip-hop, EDM and more. Over 80 different acts will take the rotational turn at the Spring Garden establishment.

The unique thing about this festival is the attention to detail. Instead of spreading things out in an unmanageable geographical area, Liberty Music Festival keeps things going in one location in an intimate delivery style that fuels engagement and participation from beginning to end.

In addition to the live performances, Liberty has put together a seamless string ofVIPparties, vendor tables, industry panels, workshops and mentoring sessions.

Event co-promoter Brian Cronin said that some of the covered themes will include “genuine tales of the road with tour managers, social media and the tactics used to gain more exposure. Producers, publishing and the art of licensing your music will also be discussed. Booking agents and talent buyers will converse on booking correctly and opening more opportunity doors. The art of remixing your music for EDM, dance clubs will be addressed, and Beats vs. the Rhymes, an event where beat makers and area emcees will demonstrate building songs and so much more.”

Aquarian-territory performers include New York City’s Evan Russell Saffer. Saffer has seen powerful momentum recently, and he has toured with Marky Ramone’s Blitzkrieg, Joey Belladonna from Anthrax, and Filter, as well as hitting festival highs at Buzzfest and Rockapalooza in 2013.

Also from the north we will get a chance to see the intricate moves of Melody Rose. Rose has toured Europe several times, even receiving the nod to perform at Montreaux Jazz Festival. Her first single, “Dressed To Kill," has resulted in mountains of press as well as clearing the way for other songs to begin charting in countries such as Spain.

Hailing from the gritty Bronx, Liberty bids a strong welcome to Jay Griffy. This mixtape king is in the middle of hot industry interest and his choice of managers, producers and labels look to be quite vast. Filled with real life concepts, Griffy’s crossbred style is on the must-see list.

The City of Brotherly Love kicks their very own homegrown buzz performer into the mix with South Philly’s D.O.E. Boy Philly. D.O.E. has a history that stretches from Philly to L.A., Atlanta, Chicago, New York and all points in between. The website describes him as "a combination of 'Biggie, Scarface, and J-Dilla'."

Other interesting performers include Portland, Oregon’s own Liz De Lise. With an engrossing style that culls the gritty experience of nomadic street kids from Portland, De Lise adopts an intimate and interpretive storytelling method to craft her compositions. De Lise also fronts the band Camp. Her latest EP, To And Fro, is in rotation and will be her focus at the festival.

Not to be outdone, other states such as Florida, Maryland, California and Connecticut throw their own “Best of the Best” into this very diverse mix of total musical representation.

If you’re a musician, producer, songwriter or perhaps just an enthusiastic music fan who wants to understand this crazy business from the inside out, the 2014 Liberty Music Festival is right up your alley.

Liberty Music Fest is the brainchild of Jim Thorpe, Brian Cronin, and Vince Volz. All three have been instrumental in the music scene for years. Together they created the festival to celebrate, educate, and showcase musical talent from across the region. - The Aquarian Weekly

"A Search for Reconciliation From the Mideast to America David Dorfman and Korhan Basaran Troupes at BAM Fisher"

The main purpose of DanceMotion USA, a cultural diplomacy program run by the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the State Department, is to send American troupes abroad. Yet the program also benefits New Yorkers directly by having an American company bring back a foreign one for a free, collaborative performance here. These visits have proven illuminating, even if the arranged artistic alliances haven’t always gelled.

At the BAM Fishman Space on Thursday, David Dorfman Dance, back from a four-week tour of Turkey, Armenia and Tajikistan, teamed up with the Korhan Basaran Company from Istanbul, augmented by two Armenian dancers. Where previous DanceMotion participants have buttressed a short collaborative piece with repertory works from each troupe, Mr. Dorfman and Mr. Basaran went all the way, joining forces for the hourlong “Unsettled.”

The chosen theme was “reconciliation,” and it was remarkable how well the two companies, both packed with powerful dancers, merged. The work teemed with groups pushing and shoving, but it did not set one troupe against the other. The sharpest contrast — in the opening moments and in two later face-off duets — was between the choreographers: Mr. Basaran, tall, with a tendency to collapse inward, and Mr. Dorfman, squat, always hurling his energy out. Yet the aesthetic kinship between them was also apparent in eruptive rhythms and labile emotions.

The music, composed and played live by Sam Crawford, Liz de Lise, Jesse Manno and Timothy Quigley, beguilingly blended Western and Middle Eastern styles and instrumentation. It borrowed the folk song “Sari Gyalin” (or “Sari Gelin”), which in Turkish, Armenian and English versions laments the failure of love across ethnic divides.

A few scenes — for example, a forced march — could be read as specific allusions to the bloody history between Turks and Armenians, but much of the work’s tension was cannily translated into the power dynamics of the choreographic process. In its strongest segment, Evrim Akyay, a slinky Turkish dancer with a menacing presence, directed the motions of an ingenuous American, Kendra Portier, as if in rehearsal for this show. The more he yelled at her in Turkish and slapped her around, the brighter her smile.

It was typical, though, how the power of that scene was squandered as Ms. Portier turned to audience members and implored them to move closer together, vocalizing her needs in dancerly double entendres (“I need to be moved”). Similarly, another scene swerved from infantile humor to a sharp evocation of the coercion in making people say they’re sorry, only to end with weeping on the ground. A shrewd point about forced reconciliations got belabored in a manner that was itself coercive.

Still, it is to the credit of all involved that “Unsettled,” after a celebratory group dance, had the honesty to remain unsettled. What resonated was a moment before the end, when Mr. Dorfman, having failed to force his friendship on Mr. Basaran, took a line from the folk song and allowed it to expand into a humble question for everyone: “Oh tell me please, what can I do?” - The New York Times

"Charming Talented Singer Songwriter Liz de Lise Returns to Play CT College"

Listeners looking for a lively singer-songwriter need look no further than Liz de Lise: an acoustic guitarist and singer whose crisp, fast finger-picking style has earned her many a fan since taking up guitar in her early teens. I had the unexpected pleasure of having Liz grace me with her talent on a radio interview recently. Her very fluid and supple voice was evident on the vibrato “bum bums,” “neighs” and playful “ya yas”on the choruses of some of her catchy sing-alongs, and I was amazed at seeing her hand master the fretboard.
Liz de Lise influences include Joni Mitchell’s “Case of You,” Paul Simon and Andrew Bird. Liz was also influenced by Green Day, whose “Good Riddance” was the first live song she ever played as a student in 8th grade. She began to play crowds while at Connecticut College several years back and claims she inherited her musical talent, as both her brother and father are musicians. Liz has 2 EPs out: Friend(s) and To & Fro which are both great and were featured at a homecoming concert at Connecticut College from which Liz de Lise has just graduated.
Travel is a prevalent theme in de Lise’s music as she has been all over the world, from Oregon to India, and has been struck by the similarity of values between types of people regardless of time and place. “Strangers,” with its strident guitar verse and catchy chorus, wonderfully reflects the spontaneity of traveling around and meeting random street kids who share “universal desires and happiness.” Strangers also includes such unusual instruments as a mandolin and banjo which nicely compliments Liz’s high pitched singing on that song. Liz’s father, in addition to playing accordion on “Strangers,” also contributed the percussion and the wonderful piano at the end of the travelogue song “Pan” and on her EP To & Fro. Liz has enjoyed meeting new people around the world and writes songs to reflect that experience.
Liz’s turbulent early 20s transition is evident her music, as she sings of friends and relationships dispersing as young adults travel away from their comfort zones. “Philadelphia” bespeaks the longing for warm and sunny Oregon: something Liz de Lise says cheered her up so much that she almost moved there after college. Being torn between moving to NYC or Oregon with friends or staying in places she already knew with a boyfriend with whom she’d fallen out of love are among the tough themes tackled in the songs off de Lise’s EP Friends, and perfectly described by the lyrics in her song ”Brooklyn:” “Don’t make me move.. I cant define where I end and where you begin.” These fine lyrics epitomize the ambivalence of whether (or where) to live after college graduation after seeing friends and boyfriends disperse. In addition to tackling the social and geographical transitions of de Lise’s early 20s transition, the song features great jazz, as spare bass notes and jazzy guitar chords counterpoint eachother as they swirl around empty spaces in the composition.
“For the Ladies” is a song about Liz’s awkward experience with severe acne while at the crossroads between adolescence and adulthood. Embarassed by her looks and her failure to live up to standards of feminine beauty, Liz rejected those standards altogether by shaving her head. “I’m a girl but I’m not proud ” exclaims de Lise as she pokes fun of herself for failing to buy into “elusive,” traditional and long-haired femininity. “That haircut made me feel like I could control my appearance. Im loud and clumsy not graceful, light or feminine.” She thought that haircut would boost her confidence (so she could at least feel beautiful on the inside), but all she could think of was: “Oh my god, I cut off all my hair and heres my face!” Liz rejection of the expectations others had of her femininity (including her boyfriends with whom she was breaking up) played a significant role in her coming of age and coming into-her-own as a young female musician.
Finally, the title track “Friends” features Liz’ melodic guitar picking and sonorous vocal harmonies. The lyrical themes speak of the complications of love and the burdens of passing on those complexes to her hypothetical “next of kin.” “I’m still having trouble breathing. . the girl with half a heart is twice as strong as anyone” bespeak the literal complications of a half-hearted hospital-bound woman and Liz’s troubles breathing as a baby. However, these allusions also symbolize de Lise’s inner strength to survive lost or unrequited love.
Liz de Lise is a great musician whose albums are worth buying or hearing for people of all ages, particularly those 20-somethings who are just entering the real world and need a voice who echoes their own experiences. - Sound Waves Magazine

"The Pulse of South Jersey (quote)"

“Great songs, great voice. Liz de Lise combines conscience, whit and wisdom beyond her years with a voice, production values and musicianship that reminds one of Joni Mitchell and June Christy.”
-Mark Plante, Z 88.9 FM, The Pulse of South Jersey - n/a


Still working on that hot first release.



Liz de Lise is a 23-year-old singer, songwriter and guitarist from Ambler, PA who writes hearty folk music for the ages. She creates lush soundscapes with acoustic and electric guitar, vocals and a loop pedal. Liz has been writing songs since she was about 10 years old and singing for as long as she could speak. Her songs capture the common human experience through eloquent, evocative lyrics and intricate accompaniments. 


After receiving a research grant as an undergraduate student at Connecticut College, de Lise headed to Portland, Oregon, where she spent the summer interviewing and observing the street kids that passed through town. The songs on Liz’s debut EP, To & Fro, are her interpretations of stories told to her by the street kids. The songs are intriguing, each a mini adventure, and all are true. Liz is based in West Philadelphia.


To & Fro features: Tracy Grammer (Dave Carter, Joan Baez, Susan Werner) and Jon DeLise (Patti LaBelle, Pablo Batista, David Ivory), background vocals; Allan Slutsky (aka Dr. Licks; Chaka Khan and The Funk Brothers), mandolin; Steve Beskrone (Horace Silver, Ray Charles, Pat Martino), double bass; Louis deLise (Patti LaBelle, William DeVaughn, Halestorm), accordion, percussion, marimba, and piano.


Selected tracks from To & Fro are now playing on KUR-FM (PA), WBMB-FM (NY), WBZC-FM (NJ), WSTW-FM (DE), KNWD-FM (LA), WCNI-FM (CT), WXSU-FM (MD) among many other stations in the U.S. 


Band Members