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The best kept secret in music


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Bethany Yarrow (2000)
Mary Mack (2001)
upcoming release fall 2002


Feeling a bit camera shy


Born into a family of music, Bethany Yarrow has grown up singing and performing. Her very first memories of singing publicly were with her father, Peter Yarrow, of the legendary folk trio Peter, Paul & Mary. "When I was a little girl we would sing together at benefits and rallies," says Bethany, "and I learned early on that music could have an enormous impact and bring people together like nothing else."

"Folk music is in my blood," says Bethany, "but I never really listened to it. I am a child of the 70s. The first record I bought was Saturday Night Fever. By the time I was fourteen I had green hair and was listening to Hard Core… but at the same time I would perform at a rally with my Dad and the group Sweet Honey in the Rock. I was always musically schizophrenic. In the morning I would put on AC/DC or Bad Brains. Going to school on the subway I’d listen to Bob Marley or the Sex Pistols and then I’d come home and put on Elton John or Ella Fitzgerald."

Bethany finished high-school and spent the next few years in Europe, travelling, working odd jobs, and studying before returning to the United States to finish her studies at Yale University. "I grew up as a restless, rebellious adolescent and spent a lot of years in clubs and hanging out on stoops in Alphabet City. By the time I was seventeen, I just wanted to get out of New York City and away from home. No one was more surprised than I was to have ended up
at Yale," she says.

In between her junior and senior years, Bethany was awarded a fellowship to go to South Africa to make a documentary about the women in the townships outside of Cape Town. What emerged was the award-winning film, Mama Awethu!, which aired nationally on PBS and won numerous prizes at international film festivals including the Sundance, Berlin, Human Rights Watch, and Bombay Film Festivals.

In 1995, Bethany met her now husband Sebastian Gross-Ossa, a painter from Santiago, Chile, at a bar in Colorado. "He didn’t speak much English, and I didn’t speak any Spanish, but I followed my heart, packed my guitar, and moved with him to Chile. I learned Spanish, worked on a couple of small films, wrote articles for a newspaper and sang cover songs in hotels and bars around Santiago. I was happy and in love, but it was time to make a decision," she says. "I could sing, which I had always taken for granted, or I could make movies. I chose music and we moved back to New York."

In 1997, Bethany returned to New York, where she lives with her husband in an old factory in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Despite her heritage in Folk music, her own songs have taken her in another direction. Mixing different influences and styles, she writes and sings in both English and Spanish with a voice that can be sweetly angelic one moment and powerfully raw the next. "What I am trying to do is bring together different sounds in a kind of ‘musical cocktail’ in which I might use Brazilian percussion, Middle Eastern scales, cello melodies, and techno grooves all in one song. That’s what the world is these days: an amazing interconnected mixture. I’m trying to translate that into contemporary pop-oriented music." With passionate songs and sophisticated instrumentation, she has thus created a unique sound that is completely her own.
Bethany has performed at festivals and concerts around the world, from New York to Berlin to Hong Kong. Whether singing at intimate club venues or at concert halls, she is a performer with the experience of a lifetime spent in music. She is currently working on a recording a CD with her band.