Rosin Coven logo

Rosin Coven is the World's Premiere Pagan Lounge Ensemble; nine musicians blend voices, cellos, contrabass, accordion, violin, guitar, trombone, trumpet, vibraphone, drums, and percussion to create their own style of theatrical cabaret. Edith Piaf does the cha-cha with Charles Mingus, Eric Satie tangos with Sun-Ra, and Kurt Weil broods over Doris Day. Rosin Coven presents an irreverent yet elegant balance between musicianship, poise, theatricality, and humor. They're found where you least expect them...in nightclubs, theatres, parks, festivals, museums, deserts, parades, galas, and foreign lands.

"An umpteen-piece band full of pale-faced, velvet-clad cool cats playing everything from cello and contrabass to accordion, the group falls on a continuum between Rocky Horror camp and medieval danse macabre. The members of Rosin Coven, a Berkeley-based troupe with a vigorous following, look and sound like well-traveled carnies with formidable heaps of classical training; the roguish ensemble is even easy on the eyes." - SF Weekly

 

Cast Of Characters

photos by Andrew Schmidt/Raven Productions

 

Carrie Katz as Midnight Rose: vocals, guitar, harp, alchemy - "Welcome to The Pagan Lounge" beckons our darling host Midnight Rose. The year is 1996: she has the vision of a jazzy, loungey, dark, and strangely beautiful ensemble where everybody comes together to create that which they could not do alone: alchemy through music. Midnight's life has been filled with art and music since her earliest days; she was raised on a steady diet of Broadway and cabaret, had a brief fling with New Wave, and studied art and film at the Art Institute of Chicago. She brings her passion for alchemical transformation to her work as a somatic & expressive arts psychotherapist, working with individuals, couples, teens and children, and presenting workshops for serious play. www.embodiedbeing.net

 

Lila Sklar as Jasmin Garden - violin, vocals - specializes in Balkan and Middle-Eastern styles as well as having roots in western classical and improvised musics. Jasmin has been playing the violin since the age of four, and studied for many years with assistant to Jascha Heifetz and Sherry Kloss. She has toured and performed extensively throughout the US, Japan, Europe, and the Middle East playing with such groups as The Tokyo Youth Philharmonic, The Quarta Dolce Quartet, Gypsy Caravan, Land Of The Blind, and Sherefe. Lila has also participated in a nationwide tour playing Turkish Sufi music with vocalist Latif Bolat. You can see her in several local Bay Area bands including The Toids, Za'atar, and 3Spell.

 

Justin Katz as Abraham Birmingham: contrabass, vocals, percussion - Abe lays down the soulful, earthy foundation for the Coven. His love for jazz and all things swingin have led the Coven to such tunes as "Obliquely Yours" and the Mingus-influenced "Skydivin." He also performs with Louis, Esperanza, and Bone in the feral-jazz ensemble known as Dr. Abacus. He is the founder and Executive Producer of PARADOX Media, a production company specializing in eclectic and elegant event production, promotion, and design, including The Edwardian Ball and Rosin Coven booking and management. By day he is a Production Manager for Goldenvoice / AEG Live San Francisco, managing concerts and events at The Warfield Theatre and The Regency Ballroom.

 

Patrick Kaliski as Louis Capricorn: drums, vocals, xylophone, fire - Look out y'all...here comes Louis! He's the tall, handsome one who sits in the back and makes the rest of us sound good. He's a versatile and sensitive kit drummer without peer. Louis is also quite a ubiquitous performer and producer, also found freaking in the eclectic space ensemble known as The Church of You. He has several productions to his credit, including his own debut release "Ubiquitous" and the more recent "SF 2000: A Time Capsule."

 

Beth Vandervennet as Gingerbread Candy Monahan: cello,vocals - Gingerbread Candy, the woman responsible for the Coven's fiery Jalousie, moody Empty Jar, and sinister Dybbuk's Dirge, is no stranger to string ensembles. She is a professional, classically trained player who performs with the Oakland East Bay Symphony, the Santa Rosa Symphony, and Marin Symphony as well as Principal Cello in Vallejo Symphony. Rosin Coven allows her to leap out of the classical world and trade her formalwear for whips, leathers, and lashes. You'll never know where her boa might land. Let us just say, look out for the lady behind the ladies, because this Gingerbread is hot!

 

Brian Bulkowski as James St. James: cello,vocals, air trumpet - Mr. St. James has played in a number of classical ensembles and a medieval surf band known as Kaladin. He has been know to grace the stage with both his beautiful new acoustic cello as well as with Barney, the purple electric five-string cello that makes his fellow computer comrades violet with envy. His eclectic, whimsical playing is unique; listen closely and hear his train whistles, children's songs, cat calls, and syncopated basslines. Not too hard to imagine him as a zany alchemist in a former life.

 

Tim Carless as 'bonedaddy! - Bass Trombone, vocals - Don't let his subtlety fool you. As Rosin Coven's one-man brass section, this man of many names (including a name so secret we can't even print it!) brings a professional background, both instrumental and vocal, in classical, jazz, rock & roll, and now, pagan lounge. 'bone's message for the next few years...IMPEACH BUSH. 'bone can be found tootin his own horn in the cartoon jazz ensemble Dr. Abacus.

 

Tim O'Keefe as Patrick de la Esperanza - vibraphone, marimba, vocals - With a strong background and degree in music performance, Esperanza brings new textures, dynamics, and elegance to our ever growing ensemble. Whether he is floating soft warbly vibraphone chords over a sultry lounge tune, or scaling the upper registers of his marimba like a cartoon car chase gone awry, his sound is continually opening new doors for the sound of Rosin Coven. He also performs with the feral jazz ensemble Dr. Abacus.

 

Gitty Duncan as Frisky Gillette and Edgar as Edgar - puppets, costume design, theatrical ambience, salesgirl, staff photographer - Gitty (aka Puppets and Pie) brings a new dimension to Rosin Coven's performances with her wild family of puppets and myriad stash of cardboard accoutrements. When she is not playing with Rosin Coven, she teaches puppetry and storytelling workshops for children and adults out of her art studio in Berkeley. She also performs with Dr. Abacus and the Fou Fou Ha! Dancing Girls.

Edgar is the chief assistant merchandise sales representative. He likes bottom-shelf whiskey and will offer you his opinion on just about any subject, regardless of whether or not you ask for it.

 


 

PAGAN LOUNGE ALUMNI & SPECIAL GUESTS

Miss Elyea Zeker, also known in the mundane world as Carri Abrahms. For over five years her musical, theatrical, and creative contributions were fundamental to the development of Rosin Coven's sound and style. We miss her and wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors!
Ken Reeser as Hoorst Fjords - Visual Alchemy - For the first four years of our existence as a Coven, you may have noticed we were surrounded by flowers, bones, lights, bats, trees, glowing heads, candles, and an ever revolving collage of strange, beautiful objects. Thirteen cheers for Ken, the original Visual Alchemist! His creative cauldron, known as Kendelabra Productions, churned for countless behind-the-scenes hours to help create the atmosphere known as The Pagan Lounge. Look for collaborations with him again in the future!

Andrea Walls as Mandrea: violin, vocals - Mandrea brings her classical stylings, gypsy fiddling, and eclectic dynamism to the Coven. Although currently on indefinite paradise-leave in Maui, look for this essential long-time member of our Coven to rejoin us whenever she blows back into the mainland.

 

ROSIN

Pronunciation: 'rä-z&n, 'ro-, dial 'ro-z&m 
Etymology: Middle English, modification of Middle French resine resin 
Date: 13th century 
1 : a translucent amber-colored to almost black brittle friable resin that is obtained by chemical means from the oleoresin or 
deadwood of pine trees or from tall oil and used especially in making varnish, paper size, soap, and soldering flux and in rosining
violin bows 

COVEN

Pronunciation: 'k&-v&n also 'kO- 
Etymology: Middle English covin band, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin convenium agreement, from Latin convenire to 
agree -- more at CONVENIENT 
Date: circa 1520
1 : a collection of individuals with similar interests or activities <a coven of intellectuals
2 : an assembly or band of usually 13 witches

words courtsey of Merriam-Webster

People often say "Rosin Coven? What does that mean?" To which we reply "Well, Rosin is the stuff that you put on bows, you know, tree sap-like material" (accompanied by the charades like motion of rubbing rosin on a bow, back and forth). This is often followed by "What's a Coven?" Well, it began for us as a cool sounding name, an idea we liked but didn't think too deeply about. Little did we realize what we were getting ourselves in to! A coven is an amazing entity - powerful and creative and wild ever-growing adventure! Consider a few words from Starhawk, a prominent and inspiring modern day pagan from our very own San Francisco Bay Area. She writes:

"The coven is a...consciousness-raising group, psychic study center, College of Mysteries, surrogate clan, and religious congregation all rolled into one. In a strong coven the bond is, by tradition, "closer than family": a sharing of spirits, emotions, imagination...The coven's structure makes it possible for rabid individualists to experience a deep sense of community without losing their independence of spirit...Each person's presence or absence affects the rest. The group is colored by every individual's likes, dislikes, beliefs, and tastes." - The Spiral Dance, 1979 Harper & Row

This joining of minds and music has given amazing life and energy to our coven for over five long, full, incredible years. Come join us for a live performance and you'll see what we mean!

We also join the legions of musicians deeply indebted to the legends of jazz: Sun Ra, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Pharoah Sanders, Charles Mingus, John and Alice Coltrane, Ron Carter, Dave Holland, Sarah Vaughan - one could listen to these deep, improvisational, swingin masters of sound for a lifetime and still hear new things every time. Music for musicians and those who love to listen.