Lorijo Manley
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Lorijo Manley

New York City, New York, United States | SELF

New York City, New York, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Singer/Songwriter


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"Women's Village presents Lorijo Manley in concert"

by Constance Gilbert

Lorijo Manley has got to be a remarkable entertainer - really, somebody special. For the first time in recorded memory, the very self-contained Sugarloaf Women's Village is opening its figurative gates to invite all women of the Keys to join them on Memorial Day, to hear Manley at a free concert, at 2 p.m. Monday.

How remarkable is she? Well, the nationally known and lauded guitarist/vocalist was once credited with channeling Jimi Hendrix and, by another publication, with being "a poet wielding a six-string axe of funky folk rock - the spiritual love child of Hendrix and Joni Mitchell," according to Bonnie Netherton of the Women's Village, producer of the concert.

Manley was an official performer at the Athletes Village during the 1996 Olympics, and in '98 her singing was showcased in the theme music for the First Annual Broadcast (sic) Awards (Native American Awards) broadcast on A & E. Her music is described as "fast, funky, rhythmic and powerful" and has been praised as a singer/songwriter in countless publications across the U.S.

Born in New York City (sic), and raised there and in upstate New York, Manley's formative years were filled with music and theater. Her grandmother began her piano lessons at age five, and a year or two later Santa brought her a guitar - after she was discovered "torturing her mother's violin trying to play it as a six string git." She "wrote her first songs around age 10."

This interest in music and theater never waned. In high school she founded a theater troupe, won an acting contest, and decided to enroll in Northwestern University's acclaimed theater department. There she created the school's first ever women's performance group, Astarte Mettle, which garnered her a Time Magazine College Achievement Award.

Conventional as this "star student" bio seems, Manley is anything but mainstream. "After graduation she traveled the country living out of her van. She thought this was a more practical way to starve. And it was. For 10 years she played music full-time, first in Chicago and then in New York City, logging over 3,000 live performances as a regular in popular venues and as a subway busker."

She has also appeared numerous times on TV and radio, including appearances on WBAI in NYC and others in Chicago and Albany. An arts grant assisted in production of her CD "Naked," and "her newest recording, 'Airpalne,' is a full band rocker with a ton of heart," the bio reports.

In SubNation, Ed Hershman goes that one better: "Lorijo's music puts two tons of heart into her singing," while Richard Lynch of WNUR called her "A premier vocalist and uniquely gifted guitarist, with a sound unlike anything you've ever heard. An interesting blend. This woman doesn't just play the guitar, she attacks it."

OK, that's remarkable.

Manley will be accompanied by drummer/percussionist Phyllis Free.

by Constance Gilbert - The Key West Citizen (May 27, 2007) - The Key West Citizen

"Suede, jazz singer"

"Very nice voice. Great playing, too. Keep up the good work!" - Suede

"WGN - Step Up To The Mic with Spike"

"...Incredible. Quite a crowd out there, too..."
-Spike O'Dell
"...I'm watching you salivate over her playing..."
-Anne Maxfield - Spike O'Dell & Anne Maxfield

"That Sh*t was Da Bomb"

By Gustav Plympton

Lorijo Manley plays guitar like...like...she plays a really good guitar. Fast. Funky. Rhythmic and powerful. She melts her guitar picks with clockwork precision.
- AntiMatters

"In Concert: Lorijo Manley"

By Ran

She makes magic through her music. I swear she was channeling Jimi Hendrix through her fingers, 'cause her guitar playing was pretty spectacular. She played music that hinted of blues, pop and lots of rock and roll...

There is a line from her song "Seven Sea Ships" that I think sums up her music, "There's always a strong heart beating through our lives." This music had a very strong heart...

We were really lucky to be treated to a three hour show by this artist. I hope you have the opportunity to catch this amazing musician the next time around!

- Outwords

"The Light Show"

By Frederick Geobold

I wish you could watch this woman play guitar. She knows her way around the fingerboard. Impressive. - WBAI

"Musician Pursues Dream"

By Ed Hershman, free-lance writer

Something about her brings to mind a female Lenny Kravitz. In a gig last fall at Biddy Mulligan's, a patron mentioned her "huge stage presence" to a companion. When this kudo was passed along to her, Lorijo Manley, with typical humility, credited her cowboy boots, which augment a height somewhere around 5' 5".

A more likely source for the praise, however, is the fact that she plays the hell out of her guitar, has a 100-megawatt smile and puts two tons of heart into her singing.

She says she was literally born to perform: "When I was born, they tell me I grabbed the doctor's stethoscope like a microphone."

Lorijo has been supporting herself solely with her music for over four years, earning her keep at local venues such as Beat Kitchen, Not Just Pasta, Lottie's Pub, Roy's, Urbus Orbis, and the Blind Faith Cafe. She is playing July 29 at the Gallery Cabaret, 2020 N. Oakley in Bucktown.

On July 11 Lorijo played at the Gallery Cabaret. Most of the customers paid her the ultimate compliment; they shut up, absorbed, smiling, bobbing their heads, tapping their feet...she makes you feel sorry for all those who spend hours on artifice to achieve what this woman was, evidently, born with.

The club's most remarkable aspect is the art that lines its walls, paintings that combine the best and the worst of Walt Disney, the Night Gallery, and Heironymus Bosch.

She plays a classical guitar modified with a pickup. Lorijo puts out a big sound using just the guitar, an amp, and her voice. The voice shows great range; penetrating, pure, powerful, passionate, seductive, angelic, and refined. Often joyous, her voice climbs from a suggestive whisper to a leather-lunged, heartbreaking sweet shout, in perfect control. In the upper ranges she hits a penetrating pitch reminiscent of Aretha Franklin.

Fulsome praise? Go find out for yourself.

Between songs she does a bit of gentle patter, somewhere between standup and segue, creating a dialogue with the audience. Her physical style is earthy - black jeans, cowboy boots and constant movement.

Tonight Lorijo does a few songs with electric bassist Christopher Wagner, briefly forming a trio later with William Soto, The threesome elicits that rare applause that wells up unbidden in the middle of a song. Later, sans bassist and harp, Lorijo plays an impromptu set with renaissance flutist Jamie Lynn Paradise, also drawing applause before the customary time.

Music's noblest aim, perhaps, is to free you from the world of potholes, bosses and downsizing. To ride on the wings of a greater power toward all that is pure, alive and good. Yes, Mr. Poe, there is a balm in Gilead.

Toward the end of her performance an admirer declared, "You sound so much better without the trains going by." To explain, Manley has also earned her daily bread with a mic, a guitar, and an open guitar case along the subway section of the Howard line el. She still plies her trade there two or three times a week.

What has she gotten out of the el experience?

"The fact that I'm still alive," she says, "It's been good preparation for all the snakes and sharks."

Harsh words, but characteristic of Manley, who is a walking combination of hope and cynicism.

"In the subway I've had my knee kicked, my arm bitten...I've been stalked."

The upside of being a beneath-the-street performer?

"The first smile, foot stamp, head bob...that's what moves your tank from half full to full."

Lorijo's had odd items tossed into her collection plate. "Three different times men have tossed condoms into the till. At least they weren't used."

Another memorable incident:

"One time a guy sat down in front of me, put his head in his hands, resting his elbows on his knees. Then he threw up and passed out. I watched the vultures pick his pockets and toss some of the take into my till. Later on he woke up to applaud."

Indeed the denizens of this particular underworld have prepped your humble musician for other slime that walks upright - sometimes clad in suit and tie.

"The best advice I could give to anyone trying to make it in the music business is 'know a good lawyer'."

Don King once said, in essence, that despite the venal powers-that-be in boxing, the sport looked like a choirboy convention compared to the predatory power brokers in the music business.

Though she has had her share of connections, she says, "I've been led down that rosy path before. I've had major-label interest, known lawyers of note, producers, investor types...inappropriate things have occurred. I'd rather say no and starve.

Despite the Flower Power influence; caffeine, nicotine, and cheap red wine are her only drugs. Today she wears a silver earring which combines the symbols for peace and womanhood with a treble clef.

Her musical philosophy consists of "expressing lessons; my own or others, stories, the 'better world syndrome' - though I don't like to preach. Like Shaw said, I like to get 'em laughing and then stick the knife of truth in."
* * *
"...something lives in the dreaming

which I will never lose

It haunts and taunts and persuades me

That it's real and with me and true..."
'Driving By Midnight'
Copyright 1994 Lorijo Manley
Ed Hershman - SubNation

- SubNation


By Richard Lynch

Lorijo Manley will blow you away with her 'humanistic funk rock' style. A premier vocalist and uniquely gifted guitarist, with a sound unlike anything you've ever heard...an incredible blend. This woman doesn't just play the guitar; she attacks it. - WNUR


By Albert Williams

"Workin' / For my livin' / Well, I'm here all day / And I'm singin' and I'm givin'," goes a lyric in Lorijo Manley's song "Workin". For Manley, singing and songwriting are very much a matter of giving. It's her work - a profession by which she earns a living as well as self-respect.

"Busking and gigging," says Manley, describing the avenues by which she reaches paying audiences in the Chicago area. "Busking is a main part of it. Playing on the street - at the zoo, in the tunnels and platforms of the Chicago public transit system. I tend to stick to the underground," she adds, laughing at her pun on the "counterculture" image...

Manley is concerned with
broad human values. In the powerful "Whatcha Doin?" she praises those who have fought for causes, but also urges her audience to take stock of their personal values: "Up you mighty people / Accomplish what you will / But I say what, whatcha doin', yeah what?"

"I include myself in that," she says. "I don't want anyone to think I'm standing there pointing a finger at everyone else except me. It's a plea to look around at what we're all doing with our lives...how we treat each other on a day-to-day basis." - Windy City Times

"Blown Away"

by Marisa Everett

The best surprises to come out of Spud's Parlor are the musicians that absolutely blow Don and I away. Lorijo Manley has blown us away with the attention to her craft, her excellent timing and eclectic style. She is much more than a singer/songwriter - the whole band can be heard in her solo guitar arrangements. Her original songs will live inside your head to the point where if you didn't buy her CD you'll wish you had!!!!

Her treatment of covers surprises, yet stay true to the character of the composer. She plays with the kind of fire and enthusiasm that turns audience members into participants. This woman is the Real Thing, totally authentic, a dedicated musician, on her way to greatness. Take it from us and then hear for yourself.
- Coda Craft Productions


Airplane - 2007
Naked - 2004




News from KJPR Publicity & Artist Relations
For Release November 2008

Karen Johnson

Singer/ Songwriter/ Guitarist LORIJO MANLEY
Brings “Driving By Midnight” Tour to First-Ever CA Gigs


Righteous “Busker” Spawns Impressive Music Company of Her Own Making; The Ultimate “Indie” Story

(Los Angeles) -- On July 13, Lorijo performed a special concert in Los Angeles, celebrating Blues-maven DJ Ann the Raven’s birthday. The response was overwhelming, and Lorijo has been asked to return to Colombo’s/ Eagle Rock (Los Angeles), for upcoming gigs, Jan 9th and 31st (Feb. and beyond, TBA). While in Southern CA, Lorijo will also perform in Santa Monica, Redondo Beach, San Diego, Tujunga, and Glendale/ Eagle Rock, traveling down from San Francisco, Berkeley, Gilroy and Santa Clara.

Colombo’s is gearing up for Lorijo’s live-from-New-York “Alternative Blues,” a genre Lorijo deeply enjoys, pumping the funk out of her original tunes and handling some fine covers with soulful originality. But, she’s not limited. Folk, Americana, AAA, acoustic… she does it all. (Most performances are solo, but she also records, produces and performs with a band of East Coast stalwarts.) As a business executive, a crowning achievement is her establishment of Muddy Pause Music, handling CD distribution, publishing, promotion, booking, merchandising and tour management -- on the road, Lorijo travels in her “majikal mystery van” (Lorijo’s homey tour bus). You can’t miss her on the ‘net. If you’d like to add her two CD’s, AIRPLANE and NAKED, to your collection, it’s an easy jump to CD Baby (and other outlets) online. Lorijo’s also made a great success of her association with Sonicbids. But, everything you need to know is right there at www.lorijomanley.com, a comprehensive web site designed and implemented by the musician herself.

Lorijo’s AIRPLANE CD (2007, Muddy Pause Music) achieved its title by way of her roots. “I'm always reaching for higher and higher altitudes,” she proclaims. One of her most popular set-list numbers is AIRPLANE’S “Driving by Midnight” which has the feeling of triumph that is a lot like Lorijo. (“Something lives in the dreaming/ Which I will never lose...”) Hence the tour title.

Lorijo’s songs are jettisoned by her unequivocal status as a premier American guitarist. NY’s OutWords magazine started that buzz: "She makes magic through her music... channeling Jimi Hendrix through her fingers... spectacular." When asked about the recurrent Hendrix comparisons, she gives a humble shrug and says, “It’s the kinetic relationship we share with the guitar in live performance.“

The tradition of artistic integrity flowed through Lorijo’s energetic family, with strong artistic influence from her Grandparents and her Mom. “They gave me my creative props, fueling my imagination at every turn,” Lorijo emphasizes. And, she wasn’t the only artist nurtured in that household. When Alex Haley transplanted from New York City, and needed a place to stay in upstate New York, it was Lorijo’s family who opened their home. As a result, “Roots” was written in a comfortable setting.

On “Too Late, Angel,” a la Carole King’s cathartic “It’s Too Late,” she employs a Yamaha plug-in, recalling, “The second guitar I laid down was a Gibson Les Paul electric.” The cut is soulful, vocals reflecting controlled emotion.

Propelled by a truckin’ guitar/harmonica combo (Lorijo/Sal Carolei), she gets due respect from a swampy rhythm section on “Past Dues.” Her guitar work takes it to the greats. “I’m playing a Fender strat on this strut. It makes men cower and women sport wicked grins,” she laughs. The genesis of this song comes from flipping a car and walking away with just a little blood on her hands. With a wink, she adds, “It's also about the music industry.”

Lorijo wrote several songs for her Grandfather, including “Seven Sea Ships.” She says, “I wrote it years ago and thought it was corny. When he passed, I put it on the set list. The response was incredible, so I kept it in rotation. Playing this song is an experience of transcendence. I call these ‘velvet scenes.’” She plays a Yamaha classical acoustic-electric. Like Richie Havens, with whom she has shared the stage, a “sound of freedom” emanates from Lorijo’s guitar. But, hers is a younger, alternative style -- folk, funk and alternative-blues roots intact.

Lorijo produced NAKED, and co-produced AIRPLANE with bassist Darrell Briscoe, founder of New York’s Two Galleries recording studio, with credits including Ari Hest, Paul McCartney, KRS-One and MTV.

Lorijo’s “Driving By Midnight Concert Tour” wound northeast for the Summer, with stops in FL (a month of smokin’ performances at Blue Heaven, Key West’s home for live music and exotic food, where Ernest Hemingway once hung