"Rosin Coven is the sound of classically trained musicians on their day off." -SF Bay Guardian
What they're saying about Rosin Coven ...
"Imagine, if you will, the raw sexiness of cabaret complemented by moth-eaten aesthetic flourishes -- the operatic purring of a lead chanteuse named Midnight Rose, a gloomy bass jokily overlaid with a whiny vibraphone, and the ominous enchantment of commedia dell'arte puppetry. Naturally, we're describing Rosin Coven, the self-titled "World's Premiere Pagan Lounge Ensemble," the kind of act that has genre dogmatists scratching their heads.
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, "See & Be Seen", August 3rd, 2005
"The rollicking rhythms and hummable melodies of "March of the Modern Pagans" and the high-drama beat of "Beyond the Crimson Planet" could very well spur devotees to strut Cat in the Hat-style around the home-entertainment room." - SF Weekly, June 29, 2005
"For the past seven years, this colorful troupe has been wowing audiences from the SF Bay Area and around the world with its unique fusion of musical/theatrical alchemy via performances that conjure up a late-night cabaret that channels Burning Man's love of crazy costumes and unabashed silliness...Part of Rosin Coven's charm lies in it's playful juxtaposition of the serious and the absurd. Classically trained cellists are free to brandish whips and parade around in hot pink beehives. Audiences, in turn, have license to let their hair down and revel in a no-strings attached good time." - Tea Party Magazine, Summer 2005
Hear Rosin Coven featured on National Public Radio (NPR), KQED 88.5 FM :: Download Here
"A suggestive melange of tango, chamber exotica, junk opera, and bonyard instrumentals, the group lurks in the cob webbed corners of cabaret." - San Francisco Chronicle
"This seven-, eight-, sometimes nine- or ten-piece lounge act blends cabaret, jazz, and danse macabre for an effect not unlike the soundtrack from Broadway's Sweeny Todd. The brooding strings, wailing horns, and ethereal voices of vocalists Midnight Rose and Elyea Zeker are bewitching, but it's the group's sense of humor that steals the show." - SF Weekly: Listen Up! Annual Guide to the Bay Area Music Scene 2002
"...A spellbinding blend of macabre cabaret with offbeat elements of jazz, chamber music, and dark ages gloom." -East Bay Express
"The tracks...are all recorded live at various places in the (San Francisco) Bay Area. I got the impression of sitting in a smoky club surrounded by strange folk, all the while being called to 'join in our dance of Pagan Glory". The lead singer has a beautiful range, and emotes well." -Amazon.com
"Eight or nine alabaster-skinned classical-musician types, all dressed smartly in semiformal red and black clothing, mill around their instruments on a stage aesthetically decorated with dead flowers and distressed violin cases. One of the two stunning lead singers wears a red velvet dress, rhinestones, and a feather boa; the other elegantly fills a black velvet floor-length gown. As the first song starts, they both throw small handfuls of glitter into the attentive crowd. Welcome to the "Pagan Lounge" of San Francisco theater-rockers Rosin Coven." -SF Bay Guardian
"It's not easy being the band that starts a new genre. How can people understand what they're getting into when they've never heard of pagan lounge music? Comparisons to known quantities in unknown combinations are helpful: cross tango with jazz, toss in some classical orchestral strings, Gypsy accordion, melancholy harmonies, and a plastic rainbow-colored flute named Coco Vermona, and voilŕ -- Rosin Coven" -SF Weekly
"Rosin Coven has a great sound and an incredible energy, driven by the thought provoking lyrics. I've enjoyed hearing the band live, but the multitracking on their disk adds another dimension. There's a message in the music; not always definable, but compelling this listener to return to it again and again." -Amazon.com
"The Quintet at the Hot Club of Paris meets Kurt Weill at Hernando's Hideaway...and that's just the departure point!" - Overheard at the Great American Music Hall
"They cast the first circle of ceremonial magic as soon as they enter the room with glitter and a parade. In a time of performances without ambiance, when the mere presence of the artist on stage is worthy of our adulation, this ensemble offers an alternative. A Rosin Coven show is a complete experience, a transforming journey of sounds and sights, metaphysical teasing, serious musicianship, antics, and alchemical brew...The philosopher's stone is a magical material that becomes whatever is needed to whoever possesses it, and so it is everything and no-thing. It is the ultimate alchemic substance, the essence of transformation, transmutation, and transcendence. The elders of alchemy never found this magical stone but, lucky for us, Rosin Coven finds it in music." -SF Station.com
"Rosin Coven is the sound of classically trained musicians on their day off." -SF Bay Guardian
" Lekker bomen met je vrienden, is het lekker weer, kom je weer, heb jij een dikke beer? zaterdag 10 juno band ROSIN COVEN (USA) 22.00 uur Rosin Coven is the world's premiere Pagan Lounge Ensemble from the San Francisco Bay Area. Come see their show - it will make you want to dance, sing, parade, and become the Proper Modern Pagan you've always wanted to be" -Splotz Events, NL
Album Review - Live in the Pagan Lounge
|*Recorded live at the Starry Plough, Berkeley, CA ,Venue 9, San Francisco, CA, Tuva, Berkeley, CA, and Kadens, Haarlem, Netherlands|
|* Produced by Rosin Coven|
|* Reviewer -Mai Le|
Rosin Coven is a group of 7-10 musicians who, with trombone, cello, vibraphone, accordion, bass, violin, marimba, and drums, take to the stage in costume in a subversive kitsch performance piece sometimes called Live in the Pagan Lounge. The live recording brings to life the audaciousness of the performance that is sadly absent from their previous studio album, Penumbra. Songs such as “Jalousie” highlight the dramatic vocal cantor of lead singer, Midnight Rose, as she carries the notes on a wavering lilt of over arching emotion. The klezmer aspect brings an element of circus sideshow into the mix, punctuated by the lively guffaws and applause of the audience. It's amazing how many levels of the past Rosin Coven can pay homage. On “Ms. Lucy”, we hear a ditty that wouldn't be out of place in an old time burlesque show. With such drama and pageantry, the talents of Rosin Coven could be easily overlooked. This would be a mistake. Rosin Coven just aren't a gimmick band with exceptionally talented musicians. Even the string arrangements are carefully constructed to simulate the rise and fall of the protagonists in the songs. The instrumental, “Nocturne,” reminds the listener that, though Rose's voice is extraordinary, the songs possess enough girth to remain barren without lyrics. Step into the Pagan Lounge and you won't be disappointed.
Album Review - Live in the Pagan Lounge
Recorded live in venues throughout the Bay Area and beyond (the Netherlands, actually) Live in The Pagan Lounge is 37 minutes of delicious, dark revelry from the offbeat group that refers to its music as "alchemy." This seven-, eight-, sometimes nine- or ten-piece lounge act blends cabaret, jazz, and danse macabre for an effect not unlike the soundtrack from Broadway's Sweeny Todd. The brooding strings, wailing horns, and ethereal voices of vocalists Midnight Rose and Elyea Zeker are bewitching, but it's the group's sense of humor that steals the show. "March of The Modern Pagans" is a song to rouse the spirits, and the fourth track, "Ms. Lucy," is a hoot. Live in The Pagan Lounge is the next best thing to running off with the circus. -DB
"I have a certain love of the macabre," says Matthew Giasi, flicking his cape to one side, revealing black skeleton hands painted on his white gloves. "Grand Guignol, Sylvia Plath, taxidermy, glass eyes, bugs frozen in amber, Edward Gein, Edgar Allen Poe, Jack the Ripper. I can think of nothing cozier than a nursery rhyme by Edward Gorey."
Giasi picks up his cane and does a little soft-shoe shuffle, intoning the Gorey limerick: "There was a young curate whose brain/ Was deranged from the use of cocaine/ He lured a small child/ To a copse dark and wild/ Where he beat it to death with a cane."
That done, Giasi raises his top hat and bids me adieu before inviting a pale young woman in a cranberry satin ball gown to a waltz.
The second annual Edward Gorey Edwardian Ball is in full swing. Folks awash in dark hues of crushed velvet and watermarked satin spin across the dance floor between Gorey-style sets: black-and-white drawings of overstuffed sofas saying "sigh," crooked-legged tables saying "swoon," and teapots with revenge on the brain. A gaunt young man pushes his face into a hole that completes the life-size portrait of two unfortunate Gorey characters; he watches the dancers with wide, roaming eyes to disarming effect as large red lanterns cast a sanguine glow. An elegantly dressed femme with peacock feathers in her hair and charcoal circles drawn darkly under her eyes suddenly swoons, but her dashing dance partner, a highly suspicious-looking gent with a monocle and high-collared coat, catches her and bites her neck.
"I was hoping to find some Edwardian house music," says 26-year-old Jason Kocol, a suited man with long straight hair and a small stuffed monkey called Hubert Jones III strapped to his chest. "This was the first place we looked. What are the chances?" Kocol slinks onto the dance floor for the theme song from How the Grinch Stole Christmas, joined by his marionettelike companion, a blond man with red plaid pajamas and blue-tipped dreadlocks going by the nom de plume Steven Schultz.
Horns from Rosin Coven, the Edward Gorey house band, announce the commencement of The Curious Sofa: A pornographic work by Ogdred Weary (otherwise known as Edward Gorey), a story in which all sorts of unmentionable acts go unmentioned. But of course, in the modern-day staging, the unseen final act is revealed. A woman in a large-plumed hat screams as she is pulled from the audience and placed on the writhing sofa comprised of human hands. Her screams fill the Cat Club, bouncing off the gold gilt mirrors and drowning out Rosin Coven's trombone player.
"Isn't it ghastly?" says a chesty woman in long pearls and tight corset. "Isn't it ghastly and delicious?"
sfweekly.com | originally published: December 19, 2001
Note: The Edwardian Ball is an annual San Francisco event created, produced, and performed by Rosin Coven & Pagan Lounge Productions.
Growing up around this town, I’ve known my share of covens–which I guess is a handy thing in case someone tries to hex me. (My witchy friends do, however, get annoyed at my habit of saying "wicca wicca wicca" over and over in a voice I imagine to be funny.) Berkeley’s Rosin Coven, though, is a whole ’nother kettle of potion. The seven or so musicians playing strings, accordion, etc. call what they do "pagan lounge," a term that makes me picture a long-haired guy named Wotan or Raven, dressed in a badly fitting black leisure suit fondling the pewter ram’s-head pommel of a sheathed dagger with a pinkie-ringed hand as he sips mead from a martini glass in the other. And now that I’ve brought that image to mind, I just know I’m gonna have bad dreams tonight.
What Rosin Coven means by pagan lounge, though, is a spellbinding blend of macabre cabaret with offbeat elements of jazz, chamber music, and dark ages gloom. Sure, all the strings and delicious siren-song vocals bring Rasputina to mind–I mean, how many ululating cello bands are there? And certainly a playful waltz like "August on the Vine," with its Kurt-Weill-meets-Doris-Day overtones and sinister bass-sawing undertow, does nothing to dispel the comparison. The chamber torch song "Empty Jar" is all mournful bowing and lilting warbles–and hell, I like any song that prominently features the line "exploding incubus." (Um, but don’t hold me to that–anything can become tiresome, right?)
Said songs are on Rosin Coven’s recently self-released CD Penumbra, available at shows (like this Wednesday’s appearance at Jupiter) or via www.rosincoven.com. Though it’s no substitute for the live mass, it’s worth laying hands on. "Tabernacle" sets syllables of birdsong from the several singers fluttering amid ominously sawing strings and a hypnotically steady rhythm ŕ la Led Zep’s "Kashmir"; you can almost see doves fluttering in slow-mo like in a John Woo movie (any John Woo movie).
But there’s a fair amount of solid earth under all this swirling air, fire, and water. Carrie Davis’ mouth-watering "Bittersweet" is a spooky lounge-jazz affair with the kind of vocals that snake around your neck and pull you in way too deep. "Obliquely Yours" combines jazzy vocal harmonies with Gypsy fiddling, suave bass, and creepy-crawly guitar, and unexpected rhyme-pairings like "parsimonious extraction" with "delusional attraction." "Alchemy" sounds like a whimsical number from a particularly twisted Broadway musical, and "Jalousie" serves as a comic cabaret tango with operatic trills and barbershop bursts of harmony. Okay, there’s a drum-circle chant in there, too ("Bodyless Devotion"). But hey, pagans will be pagans.
Pagan Lounge - Rosin Coven
It's not easy being the band that starts a new genre. How can people understand what they're getting into when they've never heard of pagan lounge music? Comparisons to known quantities in unknown combinations are helpful: cross tango with jazz, toss in some classical orchestral strings, Gypsy accordion, melancholy harmonies, and a plastic rainbow-colored flute named Coco Vermona, and voilŕ -- Rosin Coven. "It's like having a martini at your solstice ritual," explains contrabassist Justin Katz. "It's a balance. You don't want to be just shrouded in robes and crystals; you want to be able to bust out the cha-cha."
Lead vocalist Carrie Davis is primarily responsible for the intricately haunting lyrics, and boasts Broadway, cabaret, and new wave credentials, plus self-taught guitar skills. Katz is also self-taught and otherwise can be found backing Lilith Fair fave Shelly Doty as well as the groups YOU and Queen Esther & Her Royal Subjects. Rounding out the roster: Patrick Kaliski on drums, vocals, and xylophone; Andrea Walls on violin and vocals; Beth Vandervennet of the Fresno and Oakland philharmonics on cello and vocals; Brian Bulkowski on cello and vocals; and Carri Abrahms on vocals and accordion.
Being ready to bust out is a good idea at Rosin Coven's shows. Lately the group has been opening with its by-now-infamous parade. "Every good ensemble from Duke Ellington to Sun Ra to American marching bands has had a theme song. So we've come up with the "March of the Modern Pagans,'" says Katz. Group members pass out megaphones and streamers and noisemakers. "People get up and join in. We like to get everyone on the same page before we start kicking in."
The "March" was particularly popular on the German leg of the Coven's just-completed European tour. (Katz promises it will be the opening track on the group's next album, though the confetti hasn't even settled yet following the recent release of Rosin Coven's first CD, Penumbra.) In fact, all of Europe, the great pagan incubator, received the band warmly, and also provided it with places to stretch beyond its already far-out edges. "We had no idea how many different kinds of shows we could do," says Katz. "We played classical at a Dutch wedding, we played at an anarchist squat, an underground punk club, a rock 'n' roll show for 1,000 drunk Czech teenagers."
As befitting Cafe Du Nord's and Rosin Coven's cabaret themes, Wednesday's show will include fire antics and dancing by Justice Spitfire of Pyrogeist, and magic courtesy of Majinga.
With the Coven's slogan, "Alchemy Through Music," the group is aiming for transformation through both the spectacle and the music it creates. Says Katz, "Sure, you're transformed if all of the sudden there's fire and glitter and violins swooping around your table, but people also connect to the slower, deeper parts of our music."
Wednesday, June 21, 2000 at 21:12:25 Message: I agree with Ghostrider, Beethoven rocks! The SF Symphony closed the season with the 9th and it was fuckin incredible, Michael Tilson Thomas is a genius, this guy knows his shit. I have to say, though, after seeing The Filth and the Fury I'm not too sure about GR's #10 choice. Stuff I like (not really in any order, second half are local bands, anyone in the Bay Area check 'em out!) The Police, Ani DiFranco, The Who, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Charming Hostess, Rosin Coven, Ledisi, Shelley Doty, Mo'fession
This site features original artwork found inside our album.
1.6.2000 Z emailu jedné fanynky: Cau Sáso!!, díky za adresu na Rosin Coven, podívala jsem se na tu stránku a uz se tesim na zítrek. Doufam, ze i vy zahrajete moje oblíbený písnicky, hlavne Cerstvou krev anebo Anarchii atd. Snad vyjde pocasí a prijde dost lidí, ale toho se nebojim. Meli byste u nás v Kramolíne hrát casteji, teda pokud se vám tam to hraní líbí. No snad jo, my se snazíme bejt dobrý posluchaci a parici...Tak mi napadlo, kdyby lidi meli v mozku videokameru a vsechno, co vidí by si natocili a pak si to kdykoli pustili. To by bylo skvelý uchování vzpomínek!!! Nemyslís? ... ... a zejtra to porádne rozjedte a nesetrete nás!!!
P.S. Check out this great pic of Midnight Rose rockin the Czech Republic! - Abe
woensdag 7 juno film ONE FLEW OVER THE COOCOO'S NEST 20.30 uur Jack Nicholson is niet helemaal gek, maar ook niet helemaal goed in zijn knarretje in deze klassieker die zich afspeelt op een afdeling van een psychiatrisch ziekenhuis. Met Jack Ni-cholson en natuurlijk die hele grote doofstomme Indiaan waar-van we de naam niet kennen. Regie: ook iemand die we niet kennen.
vrijdag 9 juno cafe SPLOTSZKAFFEE 21.00 uur Lekker bomen met je vrienden, is het lekker weer, kom je weer, heb jij een dikke beer? zaterdag 10 juno band ROSIN COVEN (USA) 22.00 uur Rosin Coven is the world's premiere Pagan Lounge Ensemble from the San Francisco Bay Area. Come see their show - it will make you want to dance, sing, parade, and become the Proper Modern Pagan you've always wanted to be.
zondag 11 juno voetbal NEDERLAND-TSJECHIE 20.00 uur Lekker op een groot scherm onze oranje leeuwen aanmoedigen. Komt allen verkleed, we hebben een heuse tribune gebouwd.
VARIOUS ARTISTS, "SF2000 TIME CAPSULE" (Insidious) - This CD, a benefit for EPIC ARTS, features some of the best bands in the Bay Area's always vital music underground. In true San Francisco fashion a melt-down occurs early in the session. Shelley Doty's admonition, "Don't Miss This Ride" (written especially for this collection), leads the way to Rosin Coven's song from "the Pagan Lounge" about how "we probe our past to perhaps reinvent our destiny," with accordions, violins and cellos leading the sultry attack. The dissonance gets totalized but remains very interesting in the Armageddon Cello Trio's "Unrest," which is actually two people on cellos with added electronic "environmental contortions." After dissolving the known so quickly, the CD turns towards psychedelia (You's take on the Rolling Stones' "2000 Light Years From Home"), the nexus of art, politics and spirituality of Matt Butler & The Redwood Project, the dancing and smiling of The Animal Liberation Orchestra, the Joe Strummer influenced rock of Baby Snufkin, the modern fusions based in Venezuelan folk of the Snake Trio, the electronic ravers Drop, the "underground ghetto-techno" of Curtis Bay, and more. I don't love every track on the collection, but most of this snapshot of the SF scene at the turn of Y2K makes for a great listen.
...Insiduous Records’ SF2000 Time Capsule is perhaps more a relic of my neighbor’s Bay Area than mine. But if nothing else, this particular time capsule will give future anthropologists the impression that in the late 20th century the Bay Area was chock-full of cellos. Beth Vandervennet bows through both ever-impressive East Bay guitarist Shelley Doty‘s jubilant opening track "Don’t Miss This Ride," and the two-cellist Rosin Coven’s theatrical web of pagan cabaret excess, all strings and accordion and creepy distaff harmonies, with operatic asides and susurrous insinuations. Cut to a bubbling cauldron of haunted house noises by the Armageddon Cello Trio (sporting only two players total)...The Time Capsule’s Bay Area is perhaps smaller than most (the Doty, YOU, Metric, Rikki Uomini, and Float tracks all include members of Rosin Coven)...but it sounds like a nice place to visit.
Two Live column, San Francisco Bay Guardian, 6/23/99
Rosin Coven - Pagan Lounge
Eight or nine alabaster-skinned classical-musician types, all dressed smartly in semiformal red and black clothing, mill around their instruments on a stage aesthetically decorated with dead flowers and distressed violin cases. One of the two stunning lead singers wears a red velvet dress, rhinestones, and a feather boa; the other elegantly fills a black velvet floor-length gown. As the first song starts, they both throw small handfuls of glitter into the attentive crowd. Welcome to the "pagan lounge" of San Francisco theater-rockers Rosin Coven.
A cadre of Bay Area classical musicians and musical-theater buffs, Rosin Coven treat all manner of genres with a lighthearted yet steady hand. "Bittersweet" pairs a doo-wop vocal arrangement with classical instrumentation; "A Song" veers into Gallic territory, as Carri Abrams (black velvet) picks up an accordion and the rest of the band throw out calculatedly haphazard chords. All the while, comfortably packed together on Hotel Utah's tiny stage, the members of Rosin Coven affect French cabaret ennui with wry, knowing smiles.
"Obliquely Yours" shows Abrams and Carrie Davis (red velvet) trading solos in high, accomplished sopranos and coming together to swing coolly on some "ba-dap-bum" harmonies, the string section solos sounding like the Devil went down to Vienna. "Childhood," another jazzy number, has the women scatting with violinist Andrea Walls; Abrams (obviously classically trained) holds a note high and long.
During "Rain Song", a number less Gothic than Rasputina and less twisted than Charming Hostess, Abrams makes wind noises and, well, plays her head by slapping her cheeks as she makes different shapes with her mouth. Things get more solemn with "Empty Jar," a moody, atonal piece about Sylvia Plath, and "Now You Know," a sweeping soaring, spooky, dramatic (and possibly Rosin Coven's best) song. But non, instead of dragging the crowd down into Tortured Artist Melancholialand, they instead finish the night with "Tango," a whimsical reinterpretation of Bizet's "Habanera" in which Davis does an operatic improv and Abrams sashays with a rose between her teeth for comic effect.
They may look and play like classical musicians, but the gifted members of Rosin Coven collectively strike an irreverent yet elegant balance between musicianship, poise, theatricality, and humor.
We're In The Mix!
After a wonderously stunning performance at The Hotel Utah (the first SF venue ever to welcome us to it's stage) on January 15th, 1999, we were listed "In The Mix" of the Bay Guardian. The Mix was:
1. The kick of a .45 Ruger semiautomatic
2. Rosin Coven at the Hotel Utah
3. Ben Heppner at Hertz Hall
4. Standard Stations, BofA, 9465 Wilshire
5. Killing My Lobster's Mike Zurer with a full beard.
This little nugget appeared in the San Francisco Bay Guardian on September 30th, 1998, and really got us rolling. Thanks, Summer Burkes!
Demo Tape o' the Week
Berkeley-based Rosin Coven are a self-proclaimed "pagan lounge ensemble" -- with three vocalists, a drummer, a string quartet, and sometimes a Turkish banjo, the seven-member band can't easily be classified. Most memebers are musically educated -- some perform with the Oakland Symphony or in local jazz and classical ensembles. On "Tabernacle" the strings and understated drums go through a number of movemements as the harmonized voices of Carrie Davis, Carri Abrahms, and Andrea Walls flit around some coloratura and emote Rasputina style. "January 1st," a moody, contemplative piece, evokes winter and loneliness with lofty strings and malleted cymbals. Slightly overemoted vocals and Middle Eastern tinges translate "Now You Know" into what could be an off-Broadway showpiece. And "Coco Vermona," a jokey, '60s-influenced sing-along, starts with plucked bass and snapping fingers, goes through Donovan-type trombone and pipe phases, and ends with a chorus of whistling. Rosin Coven is the sound of classically trained musicians on their day off. (510) 843-3950. (Summer Burkes)
|From craigslist.org "Missed Connections"..and just too good to pass up! Wonder if he found her?|
|Date: Sun Dec 16th 10:17 PM|
|Subject: from craigslist.org: (missed connections) 21 Grand, Sat. Dec. 1, @Rosin Coven show|
|Almost met...but not quite: You survived the opening act (we commiserated in the accordian shop), but had to leave just before Toychestra. You're the woman with reddish-brown hair, who had a car key in your hand as she said goodnight. I'm the guy with black hair (and no visible car keys), who wished we'd gotten to talk more.|
|Other ways to contact poster: Telepathy; drop a handkerchief. (No spam please!)|
|it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests this is in or around missed connections|
|Date: Mon Dec 17th 12:48 AM|
|Subject: from craigslist.org: (missed connections) Re: 21 Grand, Sat. Dec. 1, @Rosin Coven show|
|Never mind her, what did you think of the show???|
|Umm... I mean... hope you find her!|
|To the woman: Call this man, he has good taste in music.|
|Other ways to contact poster: Lounge like a proper modern pagan...|
|it's NOT ok to contact this poster with services or other commercial interests|
|this is in or around the Pagan Lounge|
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