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Cleveland, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Band Alternative Indie




"Mixtape Monday: Indie spring break road trip"

Listen to some dance rhythms and flowing, bouncy singing in this track. Added bonus: this is the perfect song for hand-drumming against the steering wheel. - USA Today

"Seafair voted "Best Band" by Cleveland Scene "Best of Cleveland" Awards."

Best Band
Originally a duo, Seafair expanded to a four-piece when singer-keyboardist Chayla Hope and guitarist Joshua Riehl recruited drummer Ryan Kelly and cellist Tara Hanish, both of whom had played in the terrific local act Unsparing Sea, to join them. The group then became even bigger when it added guitarist Mike Flaherty and violinist Andre Belding to the fold. Together, the six create lush soundscapes that rival those of like-minded acts such as the Arcade Fire and the National. - Cleveland Scene Magazine

"Zella Day, Seafair a powerful combination at the Grog Shop"

Indie bands Zella Day and Seafair have relatively little in common with each other when it comes to style. The former is a band of hippies, and the latter is a band of punks.
However, on Aug. 28 at the Grog Shop, their sets complimented each other in surprising ways.
A seemingly high Zella Day broke out some flower-child vocals, backed by a less-delicate indie band, which Day led, front and center. Seafair was more difficult to place; singer Chayla Hope’s forceful vocals pushed forward with an interesting blend of instruments, including violin, cello and (at times) a trumpet, on top of a regular punk-rock lineup.
Seafair is strong enough to hold a headlining slot, even though they were the opener for Zella Day—this much was clear when they wrapped up their set. With multiple awards under their belt for ‘Best Local Act’ and with a sound that can’t be mistaken for any other performing group, their show engaged the crowd despite some technical difficulties at the start. The bulk of the crowd arrived by the middle of their set, and didn’t leave for the rest of it.
Before starting “Helmet and Anchor,” the band’s most popular song, Hope’s pride was tangible. “This one’s in a commercial with Lebron James,” she said into the microphone, smiling.
Headliner Zella Day has also won many accolades since forming in 2012. Day’s band has enjoyed some time on both Billboard’s heatseekers and alternative charts, and they also appeared on “Conan” and had a song in 2015 film “Insurgent.”
Day herself seemed a little out of it for the majority of the night, but maybe that helped with the ambiance of her faraway music. Immediately after finishing her first song, she looked out at the audience and said, “Let’s get high together,” and continued into the appropriately-titled song “High.”
Later, she placed a tambourine on her head as a hat and promptly forgot about it for half of the song.
Zella Day was flowy, and Seafair was a little heavier. But both had leading female singers who carried the audience into a different state with their music. Seafair made casual conversation with the audience, joking with friends in front of the stage between songs. Day, on the other hand, walked into the crowd to sing “Compass” while the surrounding audience members circled her and sang along.
The entire evening was a constant reminder that there are different ways to engage a crowd, different ways to enjoy a concert and different ways to make really, really good music. - The Observer

"Seafair: Keeping it real in Cleveland"

Don’t let the string instruments fool you, Seafair is definitely a rock band. This year they were named the best Cleveland band. They also attended SXSW and were in the running for Bonnaroo’s Battle of the Bracket. This year, Seafair also released a new album, “The Querencia.”
Drummer, Ryan Kelly, answered a few questions about their experiences in 2015.
1.Congratulations on being voted the best band in Cleveland! What does one have to do to be the best band in town?
I don’t know. I have no idea. I know we were honored and flattered that anyone would say that we’re the best of anything.
Somebody told us we were in the running. So we said, “If you want to vote for us, vote for us.” Very humbling.
2. What was your experience at SXSW like?
It was great! We had a lot of fun. It was our first time down there. We played four shows in two days. Three shows were in one day. The rain didn’t really help much.
It was a great experience for us as a band. We’ll probably have more to do down there next year. Hopefully, with more people knowing who we are. That would be awesome.
3.How many other rock bands actually have a cello and a violin? That’s pretty cool.
At first glance of our band, people see a 6 piece band with a cellist, the violin and a female singer and think that we are a folk band. We are not a folk band at all. There is nothing folky about us. We are a rock band. Our singer had a powerful voice. We’re all heavy rock musicians. We just happen to have two classically trained musicians, who happen to complement our rock music with their own overtones. It makes it a completely different thing. There aren’t too many bands that have what we have that aren’t like gigantic bands. There aren’t that many I would imagine.
4.When you guys are on the road, how do you split up teams for games?
We do usually swap teams. We don’t usually do rhythm section vs the rest of the bands or men vs. women. There’s 3 guys and 3 girls but we’re basically like brothers and sisters so whoever you get that’s it.
5.The name of your newest album is interesting. Do feel like the band is the bull and the world is the arena? Is the stage the Querencia? ( According to the dictinonary, Querencia is an area in the arena taken by the bull for a defensive stand in a bullfight.)
It’s something that Josh found. The meaning of the word is like a safe place. A place of love and happiness. It has a couple different meanings but that’s the one that spoke to him. He brought it to us and it fit perfectly.
The artist who did the poster for one of our shows ended up putting a bullfighter on the poster. He didn’t even realize what it meant.
6.How far did you get in the Bonnaroo Battle of the Bracket?
The final four. It was a lot of fun and extremely frustrating at the same time. There are only so many times that you can ask people to vote for you again. “We have to restart the round. Can You vote for us?” It’s a bummer that we didn’t win. We’re happy with where we are in our trajectory and so we’ll move on.
7.How did you find Gotta Groove Records? It would be awesome to tour their place.
We heard about GG because they’re Cleveland based, and we have some friends that work there! They’re truly wonderful people and bust their ass everyday. Some of the vinyl coloring s they’re doing now are spectacular!
8.Are you guys originally from the Cleveland area?
Yes. All of us were born and raised in the area.
9.Did you have any music teachers that really made an impact on you?
No. I’m probably the wrong person to ask that question. I’m sure that the females in the band probably would have a more solid answer. They all went to school to play music. Me, personally, I learned by playing records and playing along to them.
10.What was the 1st concert that you attended?
The first concert that I ever attended was The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and Flash Gordon. It introduced me to punk rock. I was familiar with music but it was like nothing that I had ever seen before. - Buzzfeed

"Seafair release The Querencia, Share video for "Inferno""

Cleveland-based sextet Seafair have released their long awaited album The Querencia today after having their release party at the Grog Shop this past Saturday night. Ranging from being classically trained to having punk rock roots within the ranks, Seafair have been turning heads in their hometown since their inception in late 2012. Releasing two EPs in 2013-Photographs and Paintings-Seafair were voted “Best Band” by Clevelanders in Cleveland Scene Magazines annual “Best of” for 2015.

Seafair description of their sound: “From the heavy hitting of drummer Ryan Kelly to the acrobatic guitar and bass lines of Michael Flaherty and Joshua Riehl, the band builds a soundscape that is completely their own. But it is this, with the combination of the trio of women at the band’s epicenter that make this ensemble more than your typical indie-rock band. Andrea Belding Elson and Tara Hanish blend precise and poignant violin and cello voices amidst the band’s sound, while the presence and strength of frontwoman Chayla Hope makes the experience of seeing Seafair live one that will not soon be forgotten”.

Having toured extensively last year, Seafair recorded The Querencia in Denver, Colorado at ?Black in Bluhm Studio with producer Chris Fogal.

The Querencia is available for download at iTunes and their Bandcamp site: At that site and their band’s actual website (, a limited amount of the albums pressed by Gotta Groove Records in Cleveland, Ohio will be available in colored vinyl in the colors of green or white.

Seafair is also streaming the album on Soundcloud: - Ghettoblaster Magazine

"Q&A with Ryan from Seafair"

Seafair is not your typical band - it's easy to tell that much just by listening to one song on their debut full-length, The Querencia, which drops on May 26th. With a beautiful string section accompanying the already powerful rock band, this album is sure to set this Cleveland sextet apart from the pack. We had the chance to chat with drummer Ryan Kelly about the band's journey to The Querencia and their huge plans for the rest of 2015 (hint: it involves a 30-piece orchestra). Check out the full interview and the band's video for "Inferno" below, and be sure to pick up The Querencia on May 26th!

Interview by Shannon Shumaker

Can you tell us a little bit about Seafair for any readers who may not be familiar?

We're a six-piece alternative rock band with classical overtones from Cleveland, Ohio!

How did you guys come to start writing music together?

Chayla and Josh were starting a band together and were looking for a drummer when they found Ryan. Ryan then brought in a former bandmate, Tara. Tara then brought in a fellow classical musician, Andrea. Finally, Mike responded to a Craigslist ad to round out the band!

I feel like it is impossible to put you guys into one specific genre. There are hints of punk influences, obviously the classical sound, and some poppy-ness too, so what are you guys mostly influenced by? What makes you want to write music?

Everything. Life, basically. We just enjoy writing music together. We are much like a family now, and when you get to write music with people you love, it becomes easy and enjoyable. Most of the time, haha.

You are just releasing your full-length, The Querencia - can you tell us a little bit about the album? What did you want to accomplish musically with this release?

Its our first full length. We basically just wanted to get our sound out there for people to hear. There arent many rock bands that have a string section! We worked really hard on the album, and traveled to Denver to record it. Its a very personal album for some of us, and we are so thrilled with how it came out.

How do you feel you’ve grown as a group with The Querencia?

We are a completely different band from when we started. We understand each other much more now, and our sound and songwriting reflects that.

What would you like listeners to be able to take away from the album?

Feelings. Whatever feelings that a song gives them. We want people to interpret our music and words in their own way.

Do you have a favorite song on the album, or maybe one that really describes Seafair as a band?

Theyre all different, and they all hold different meanings for each of us. Having a favorite song is like having a favorite child, you just don't have one.

What do you think is the most challenging thing about not fitting that “typical” mold that most bands with two guitarists, a bassist, drummer and vocalist fit? Is it even challenging at all, or do you feel that it is actually helpful?

We get the "oh theyre a folk band" stigma a lot because we have strings in our band. We are quite the opposite. We are a rock band with a string section. It can be challenging when people categorize us without actually listening.

Seafair is unsigned (which I think is insane, by the way, haha) so what has been your biggest challenge as an unsigned band trying to get your name out there?

HA! I wish I knew. We are doing everything we can to get our name out there. We tour, we play frequently, we sell out local shows, we promote the hell out of ourselves, we are constantly writing and recording, we are submitting for everything. So, who knows! But, that person that is going to take that chance on us is out there, and they'll find us.

On the flip side, what is the most rewarding thing about being an unsigned band?

Being home with our family and friends. I have kids, we all have significant others and pets, and its tough to be away. Luckily though, every single person that is a part of this extended family supports us and believes in us. So, that is the most rewarding... signed or unsigned.

With The Querencia out soon, what are your plans for the rest of 2015 looking like? Whats next for Seafair?

We are putting our biggest show together, where we will be playing with a 30 piece orchestra in August at the House of Blues Cleveland. Its already a giant process, but we are beyond excited for it. Not many "new, up-and-coming" bands can put on a show with a 30 piece orchestra. We can!! After that more writing, touring and recording. Hopefully by that point, someone will have found us!

Thanks for taking the time to chat with us! Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Aug. 7th. House of Blues Cleveland. Seafair's coming out party. Not to be missed. Thank you!! - The Prelude Press

"Seafair: Not the average Rock band"

You may not think of violins and cellos when you think of a rock band, but Cleveland indie artists, Seafair make it work. Ryan Kelly (drums), Michael Flaherty (guitar), Joshua Riehl (bass), Andrea Belding Elson (violin), Tara Hanish (cello), and Chayla Hope (vocals) know that making any kind of music is a team effort. Blending the best features from multiple genres, Seafair wows audiences with a unique sound that is all their own.
Six voices-one mission. Writing music on your own is a daunting task; Kelly finds that writing parts for so many different instruments is not as hard as it seems. He explained, “With six people writing music, you can have an idea and push it. Someone will be like, yes, let’s take it and run with it. Somebody else will put their idea into it and (ask), does it work? Or all right, we can use it for something else, because it’s always going to be so much a circular flow with us.” When any one member of the band gets stuck, there are five others to support and offer suggestions, because all the artists are songwriters. Kelly finds his inspiration in the company he keeps. He is constantly urged on by his bandmates, who provide encouragement, feedback, and positive reinforcement.
The Cleveland music scene is alive and well. It is a vibrant, close-knit community of musicians that create a musical atmosphere by thinking outside the box. Seafair has discovered genre labels do not really apply and enjoy the freedom to explore endless avenues of expression in their music. In 2013, Seafair was chosen as “Best Up and Coming Band” by Scene Magazine. They won the Judges Choice Award and a Gold Addy Award at the Cleveland ADDY Competition. This year, Seafair was voted “Best Band” by Cleveland Scene Magazine. Not only do other musicians rep the hometown band, the wealth of music lovers in Cleveland provide a fan base that is tailor-made for Seafair’s exclusive sound.
Move ahead. With the release of The Querencia this month, Seafair has seen an influx of interest in their music. As an unsigned band, most of the business end of music falls to Kelly, who is learning more about what it takes to succeed. There is always a balance between creativity and commercial viability that is difficult to discern. Lyrics from the song, “Inferno” state, “But I’m too proud to take that leap/Far too proud to take that leap/But I won’t back down” reinforcing that reaching for the stars is a good thing, and wanting more keeps you moving forward.
Up, up, and away. In August, Seafair will headline at House of Blues in Cleveland as part of the Cellar Door event. It is a chance to highlight their new album and perform with a full orchestra. They have already been working on new music for the next collection and continue to thrill Cleveland audiences with their distinctive Seafair sound.
- See more at: - Mind Equals Blown

"Seafair "The Querencia" Review 5 out of 5"

To say that Searfair’s new album The Querencia is anything less than a masterpiece would be an understatement. It is always a pleasant surprise to be completely blown away by a band upon the first time listening to them, and that’s exactly what happened to me when listening to The Querencia for the first time. Carried heavily by a gorgeous string section and beautiful, powerful and inviting vocal melodies, Seafair’s The Querencia is the perfect album for springtime. At any point while listening to this album, you can close your eyes and be transported into a different mood or a different place, which is what any great album should do.

The intro into the album, “Dovetail” is beautiful and cinematic, carried completely by a beautiful string arrangement, and flows perfectly into the perfect song to introduce you to Seafair; “Vultures.” Frontwoman Chayla Hope’s powerful yet soft vocals blend incredibly well with the cello and violin in “Vultures.” I’ve never heard a band that manages to combine multiple string instruments with a full band before and sound so solid, and that sound is showcased amazingly in this track. Vocally, though, “Vultures” absolutely sells me on this album. As I’m writing this review on a rainy Thursday morning, this song (and The Querencia as a whole) is the perfect soundtrack for my day. It’s so easy to close your eyes and get lost in this music.

The Querencia only seems to get better and better as it progresses, too. Just when you think that no song could possibly top “Vultures,” “DIM” comes in and completely blows it away. “DIM” is an upbeat progression from the first couple of songs, carried heavily by strong guitar in the beginning, sweeping violin parts and strong percussion as the song goes on. And of course, the vocals on “DIM” are flawless, sweeping through the chorus with ease. There are also some subtle vocal harmonies peppered into the song that really add to it and make it feel even fuller. The storytelling and imagery in the lyricism in the following track, “Inferno” is absolutely beautiful. The song is much more stripped down sounding than the songs before it, but it isn’t any less strong.

One of the coolest things about The Querencia is how all of the instruments (vocals included) compliment one another and fit together flawlessly. Some great examples of this are in the fifth and sixth tracks, “The Score” and “Ohio,” which hosts some incredible sweeping violin parts, a beautiful key part, and vocals that sit aside all of the instruments amazingly. “The Score” feels like a masterpiece in itself, all the way up to the huge ending, and the time and key changes in “Ohio” feel effortless. The vocals are beautiful, and the sweeping violin part is simply incredible, as well. The final track, “Top of a Hill,” is also worth mentioning because of the way it stands out from the rest of the album. Stripped down with only vocals and keys, “Top of a Hill” is emotional and beautiful. The vocal work in this song is absolutely remarkable, as the emotion in Hope’s vocals is palpable. You can really feel the emotion in this song, which makes it the perfect closing track.

After listening to The Querencia all the way through, it’s hard to believe that Seafair are still unsigned. This album is a total journey from start to finish, and on top of that, it’s just easy to listen to. The Querencia is calming and relaxing without ever becoming boring because there is just so much going on in the instrumentation and composition, but never to the point where it becomes too much or distracting. Seafair have created something truly unique and beautiful with this album, and it is well worth listening to again and again. - The Prelude Press

""The Querencia" Album review"

Cleveland’s Seafair is about to turn some heads this year.

I know I have talked about a lot of Cleveland acts on my site, but this is the first time I have spoken on a band that is this incredibly multi-genred.

Seafair has been doing their thing since 2012 and is comprised of six amazing musicians whose roots dip into an impressive and diverse dynamic of musical styles including everything from classical to punk rock. The Querencia is the band’s debut release and is dropping next month.

Lead vocalist Chayla Hope has a voice that demands to be heard by anyone willing to open their ears. Its deeper, powerful style is more Juliana Hatfield over Adele/Lorde (from what I have heard via mainstream radio, honestly I can’t stand either of those two). Seriously, it is a bit fierce and a whole ton of passionate.

SeafairSide note: Having been good pals with Seafair’s drummer Ryan Kelly for at least 10 years now, there was no way I was not going to talk about this new band. On another side note, I used to work with Andrea Bleding Elson’s husband at an EB Games back in the day. Small world…

A classical intro to the album set me back for a moment as I became enthralled in the peaceful composure that morphed into “Vultures”. I am not going to lie, I was not terribly impressed with this track and although Chayla Hope had a forceful and beautiful singing voice, the track itself did nothing for me.

“DIM”, however, was the complete opposite. I adored this track on so many levels. From the string playing to the infectious drumming of Sir Kelly, everything about this track was likable. Perhaps it was the Björk-like melodies and singing towards the end that grasped me. I almost hate myself for admitting I did not like the prior track, but then again, I am one one of millions of opinions out there. This track though was a solid jam and everyone needs to check it out.

“Inferno” followed with a bellowing Hope singing her heart out. This was one of the tracks I could image sounds so much better live on a hot summer night.

Hearing the “The Score” was like hearing an orchestrated indie rock track like none other. This song built up so nicely and once the guitar playing picked up at the peak of the track, I was quietly rocking out here to it. It was like one of those songs that is a story that builds with excitement. My only quarrel with this track, is I wish the story lasted a little longer.

I am fairly certain “Ohio” was written about me and my return back to my favorite state in the world. I am also positive that is not the case at all, but I’m ok with thinking that. Honestly, this track about love growing distant was amazing to listen to. I loved the breakdown at the end that changed things up. This was one of the best tracks on the album in my opinion.

“Discovery” was another fantastic track. I am sure this may be misconstrued in a sense, but this track was like listening to Foxy Shazam with a female singer. Hope’s range on this track was just all over the place and perfect throughout. I also got a kick out of the back up vocals that interjected throughout. The more and more I listened to it, the more I loved it.

Quick props need to be given to the Ween-like guitar solo in “Not A Cure”. The track overall was intense to listen to and it just erupted at the end.

Seafair to me is festival music, you know, the kind is best heard live during warm summer nights. I know they were trying to play Bonnaroo but sadly did not win a voting competition. That’s the voters loss, I think this band would kill it at the ‘Roo. Regardless, they will play shows and they will turn heads. I know it.

The Querencia is a beautifully put together album that is not over produced and spans over so many genres that I feel it will be difficult for anyone to not enjoy some part of it. The album really grasps your attention throughout and treats it to a fine listen.

I was not expecting Seafair to sound the way they did, and that’s ok. Surprises in music are one of my favorite things in life and I really hope others experience that feeling too. - Broken Headphones

"Seafair rocked Music Box Supper Club with the Polyphonic Spree"

“I haven’t heard a violin rock that hard since I visited the South,” remarked the man seated across from me after locals Seafair finished their seven song set at Music Box Supper Club on Saturday evening, opening for the Polyphonic Spree. And it’s true—Mahler at his most bombastic is nearly rivaled by the band’s explosive sound. The sextet exhibits true musicianship throughout. They have complete mastery of the delicate—a subtle whisper from the strings, a gentle pizzicato—and adversely the tumultuous—a rumbling bass, heavy drums, the frenzied lick from a guitar or violin, the agitated build from the cello, and rising amidst it all, the voice of Chayla Hope, who is undoubtedly one of the strongest vocalists in the Midwest. Cleveland should be proud to call these six our own.

The way Seafair comes alive, a stir like leaves kicked up in a windstorm, is built upon a similar sort of organic magic that endeared fellow locals The Lighthouse and the Whaler to me the first time I heard them—a rare trait indeed. Their set began with “Vultures” and “Dim.” “Ohio” gave way to “The Score,” but they really tugged at heartstrings with “Helm & Anchor,” a song that bravely bares open a soul deeply touched by love. “Folding Maps” showcased Hope’s voice in all its depth before concluding the set with “Endeavour,” which tricks the listener with its deceptively quiet beginning before the full band joins Hope, a driving energy building before arriving at a group chorus that precedes the song’s wild end, which always elicits goosebumps. - Midwest Action

"Seafair Releases Second EP in 2013"

Cleveland sextet Seafair promised to deliver two EPs this year, and they’re making good on their promise.

They released the first, Paintings, in May at the Grog Shop. The second, Photographs, surfaces this week, with a release show at Mahall’s.

The band’s buzz has grown to a roar this year, fueled by the new releases and their sonically expansive live shows.

Wrapping up only their second year as a band, they’ve really made their mark this year with jam-packed shows at events like Brite Winter Fest and the Heights Music Hop, where eager fans were rewarded with the band’s trademark wall of symphonic sound, with cellist Tara Hanish and violinist Andrea Belding layering strings on top of the bedrock sound provided by guitarist Joshua Riehl and Mike Flahery and drummer Ryan Kelly.

Vocalist/keyboard player/frontwoman Chayla Hope soars over the triumphant blend with her intense, striving vocals.

If you like big, ambitious rock and roll that makes you feel like the room is levitating, chances are you’ll love Seafair. This is a great time to check out this band, which is bound to make even more waves in 2014. -

"String Theory"

Even though vocalist Chayla Hope and bassist Joshua Riehl's original punk-rock band only consisted of guitar, drums, bass, vocals and keys, Hope wrote songs with strings in mind.

"I wanted that bigger, more beautiful, more moving sound, so I tried to re-create it the best I could without having many resources besides a dinky Casio [keyboard]," says Hope, a Parma resident.

But she doesn't have to pretend anymore. To transition toward a softer tone, Hope and Riehl formed a new band, Seafair, and added classically trained violinist Andrea Belding and cellist Tara Hanish, who won a 2008 contest to play with the Foo Fighters at the Grammys. Seafair went through several members before settling on its current lineup that also includes drummer Ryan Kelly and guitarist Michael Flaherty.

Having six musicians collaborate means a more melodic sound that layers singing guitar, cascading drums and rich vocals with dreamy strings that float overtop.

It also means Seafair can avoid being pigeonholed as an indie, rock or punk band.

"I want to be like, 'That's Seafair, a completely different entity,' " Kelly says.

But he also admits the group is still in the process of defining its sound. That's why Seafair released two five-song EPs — Paintings this spring and Photographs, which debuted Nov. 30 with a show at Mahall's 20 Lanes — to experiment with how its music would evolve.

And it has — Seafair's second EP is more multidimensional than its first. From the tragic, yet, upbeat "Melt the Snow" to the grand orchestral-rock epic of "Endeavor," each song on Photographs is a departure from the next.

"The stuff we are writing now is a little bit more what we enjoy playing as a band," Kelly says. "It has more elements. We have either extremely slow songs with extreme classic parts or we have fast songs with dancey parts, but it is all starting to mix together into the perfect storm we are looking for."

Slews of local fans have responded to Seafair's indie-rock-pop-classical fusion by consistently packing shows at events such as Weapons of Mass Creation Fest and IngenuityFest.

"The response is just mind-blowing," Hope says. "It's like getting the strings for the first time. All these people that you have never met are starting to learn your words and dance. It's kind of unbelievable. You always wanted it — here it is — it's starting." - Cleveland Magazine

"Seafair wins "best up and coming band""

Seafair wins Cleveland Scene Award for "best up and coming band" as voted on by the people of Cleveland - Cleveland Scene Magazine

"CD Review: Seafair"

Originally a duo, Seafair expanded to a four-piece when singer-keyboardist Chayla Hope and guitarist Joshua Riehl recruited drummer Ryan Kelly and cellist Tara Hanish, both of whom had played in the terrific local act Unsparing Sea, to join them. The group then became even bigger when it added guitarist Mike Flaherty and violinist Andre Belding to the fold. Together, the six create lush sonic soundscapes on the four songs here. Album opener "Folding Maps" starts out as something twangy before escalating into an ornate indie rock tune driven by Hope's powerful vocals and a meaty cello riff. A narrative song about a woman in love, "Plea" sounds a bit like something by the Decemberists and "Just Faded" starts slow but builds in intensity. It's all good stuff. Can't wait for a full-length. — Jeff Niesel - Cleveland Scene Magazine

"CD Review: Seafair"

Originally a duo, Seafair expanded to a four-piece when singer-keyboardist Chayla Hope and guitarist Joshua Riehl recruited drummer Ryan Kelly and cellist Tara Hanish, both of whom had played in the terrific local act Unsparing Sea, to join them. The group then became even bigger when it added guitarist Mike Flaherty and violinist Andre Belding to the fold. Together, the six create lush sonic soundscapes on the four songs here. Album opener "Folding Maps" starts out as something twangy before escalating into an ornate indie rock tune driven by Hope's powerful vocals and a meaty cello riff. A narrative song about a woman in love, "Plea" sounds a bit like something by the Decemberists and "Just Faded" starts slow but builds in intensity. It's all good stuff. Can't wait for a full-length. — Jeff Niesel - Cleveland Scene Magazine

"Seafair Releases First Single"

In anticipation of their new EP Paintings,
Cleveland band Seafair released the first single today. The new track, “Folding Maps” is a scorching tune that makes us even more excited for the bands release show at the Grog Shop on May 18th.

On “Folding Maps” the wide range and power of vocalist Chayla Hope, particularly reminiscent of Jeff Buckley on this tune, take center stage, while the band furiously carries the melody through an ascending, crescendo to a swirling fury before landing into a pulsing groove.

It’s a great track and we can’t wait to hear more! - Cellar Door CLE

"Seafair Releases First Single"

In anticipation of their new EP Paintings,
Cleveland band Seafair released the first single today. The new track, “Folding Maps” is a scorching tune that makes us even more excited for the bands release show at the Grog Shop on May 18th.

On “Folding Maps” the wide range and power of vocalist Chayla Hope, particularly reminiscent of Jeff Buckley on this tune, take center stage, while the band furiously carries the melody through an ascending, crescendo to a swirling fury before landing into a pulsing groove.

It’s a great track and we can’t wait to hear more! - Cellar Door CLE

"Seafair to do fundraiser at Mahalls for new EP"

Cleveland’s Seafair has been playing around town only since last year, but it already has a devoted following. At the Brite Winter Festival in February, it played its symphonic music to a gallery packed with avid acolytes who sang along to some tunes and shouted out requests for others.

The six musicians — singer/keyboard player/frontwoman Chayla Hope, cellist Tara Hanish, violinist Andrea Belding, drummer Ryan Kelly, and guitarists Joshua Riehl and Mike Flaherty — have crafted a propulsive, lavishly melodic sound that references bands like Radiohead and Smashing Pumpkins.

Seafair is now ready to release some music, with two EPs planned for this year. The first, Paintings, which it made at Bad Racket Recording on the near west side, is scheduled for spring release.

But the band is looking for some help to get going on the second. So it’s doing a fundraising show at Mahall’s. The band plans to perform not only its own songs, but also distinctive interpretations of tunes by other artists ranging from Pat Benatar to Cursive. The band’s dropping hints on its Facebook page as to what some of the songs might be. It’s promising this is going to be a one-of-a-kind show. That’s certainly worth the mere $5 it’s charging. -

"Seafair splits album in two to keep you listening"

Seafair would like your attention, please.

That, and they'd like to hold it. That's why the band has decided to take an album's worth of new material and split it into two EPs: "Paintings" will be released Saturday, May 18, at a show at the Grog Shop and "Photographs" will follow later this year.

"The way things are within the business now, there's so many ways to get your music out now, people's attention spans are shorter, and they're used to singles now. Not many people sit down and listen to a whole album," drummer Ryan Kelly said recently at the Happy Dog on Cleveland's West Side. "So our thought was, 'Let's make an album and cut it in two. Put out five songs now and five later this year.' "

While "Paintings" is mastered and ready for its debut, "Photographs" is still in the works and the band is putting their own spin on crowd-funding it.

"We spent all our money doing the first EP so everybody's like, 'Oh you should do a Kickstarter!' Kickstarter's cool and all, but we wanted to do something a little different. So we decided on a covers show," Kelly said. "We wanted to really earn the money people gave us." - Cleveland Plain Dealer


Sextet Seafair from Cleveland, Ohio are quite different, just as most bands claim to be, but these are definitely unique. With a mix of punk rock and classical it’s incredibly hard to fit this band into a genre and this is heard throughout The Querencia.

Starting the album with Dovetail you’d be forgiven for thinking you were listening to a straight up classical album. The cello and violin together are beautiful and pure. Carrying straight into Vultures it starts with the crashing from Ryan Kelly on drums and slight distorted guitar with the violin and cello still prominent. It’s such a delightful mix to get your head around.

Inferno is beautiful with genious lyrics such as ‘and we’re totally wired, keep the pain inspired, calamity’s in our bones’. It’s such a gracious love song.

Ohio is a catchy bob your head and tap your foot to kind of track, and front woman Chayla Hope’s voice really shines through. It starts off wonderfully classical, with a gentle beat buildup throughout, then towards the end all hell seems to break loose and turns incredibly heavy compared to the rest of the track. Then back to how it sounded before. And it works, so well.

Every signal track in The Querencia has something completely different to it, keeping you engaged all the way through. This is exactly what sets Seafair apart from the rest. Take Discovery for example. This is a definite no doubt about it indie song, but then the classical instruments sort of changes it into something completely different.

Top Of A Hill brings the album to a close, and again, it’s completely different sounding to any other track on here. It’s so gentle with just Chayla’s invigorating vocals and the warmsound of the piano. This is the perfect end.

8/10 - TOXIC Online

"Band of the Week: Seafair"

Why You Should Hear Them: The band uses cello and violin in each song, and the music comes off as extremely up-tempo. "We're energetic people," says Kelly. "We're lively, happy people and we all enjoy life. That comes across in our music. 'Birdhouse' is the only sadder song on the record. It's more about missing a loved one. That's the only slower, sadder one. The rest of the songs are upbeat because we're upbeat. We're a rock band. People often think we're a folk band because of the instruments but we're a rock band." A song such as "DIM" features powerhouse vocals and sounds a bit like Florence and the Machine. Kelly describes the ten songs that made the record are "so fluid" and says the four non-classical artists will write the songs and then the classical members will add their arrangements. "It takes our band from being a regular rock band to something totally different." - Cleveland Scene Magazine

"Writing, Recording, Mixing, Mastering: Seafair Walks Us Through the Making of an Album"

Seafair combines the tried-and-true elements of rock 'n' roll: drums, bass, guitar, keys and impassioned vocals. Blended into that spectrum are Hanish and Belding's cello and violin, which set Seafair apart from most bands in Cleveland and elsewhere. - Cleveland Scene

"Mixtape Monday: Indie spring break road trip"

Listen to some dance rhythms and flowing, bouncy singing in this track. Added bonus: this is the perfect song for hand-drumming against the steering wheel. - USA Today

"TVD Video Premiere: Seafair, “Birdhouse”"

“Birdhouse,” the latest video from the Cleveland band Seafair that we’re proud to premiere today at TVD, uses the band’s strengths to pledge love and continued devotion to those departed, in a most tuneful way. - The Vinyl District


Paintings - EP (2013)

Photographs - EP (2013)

The Querencia (2015)

Colours - EP (2016)



“We started with our backs against the wall, face forward, knocking each other down. All we had was time, sweet precious time.” 

Making music has never been easy, but it’s the struggle of creation is what makes life worthwhile. As Seafair chant the lyrics of “Endeavour” in unison at the close of every show, the crowd joins in, acknowledging the collective weight of history that draws these punks and classical musicians together in the tireless pursuit of something greater than themselves. 

Since 2012, Seafair have chased a sound with vocalist Chayla Hope at its epicenter. Conjuring Chrissie Hynde and Janis Joplin, she is flanked by the melodic fretwork of Michael Flaherty on guitar and Joshua Riehl on bass. Ryan Kelly’s roaring drums lay the group’s sturdy sonic foundation, while Andrea Belding-Elson’s violin and Tara Hanish’s cello shape a lush, orchestral ebb and flow reminiscent of Arcade Fire and Muse. 

The band’s debut EPs, Paintings and Photographs, were released in 2013 to immediate local acclaim, with Emmet Smith, formerly of the Plain Dealer, lauding that the group’s rich sound "commands your attention." 

And command the attention of the music industry they have. With the release of The Querencia, Seafair was named Cleveland Scene Magazine's Best Band of 2015. Their work with Fusion Filmworks and Downtown Cleveland Alliance has won them an Emmy and several ADDY awards. They have conquered festival stages from Chicago to Denver to SXSW and sold out Cleveland’s House of Blues accompanied by a 34-piece orchestra. 

After a brief hiatus, Seafair are back and hungrier than ever to catch the elusive sound that binds them together.

Everyone's invited to join in.

Band Members