Monday, December 27, 2010

A Double Show Rockstravaganza!

Dang, it's been awhile since I did a solo set. Months. That is definitely changing this week! Come hang out and hear your favorite dirty rapz on Tuesday and Wednesday this week! Both nights I am opening for some fantastic bands and musicians. On Tuesday you will hear some acoustic sweetness from the lovely Andrea Bunch and the perennially handsome and talented Tom Roper. And then Wednesday is a rocked out night with Buffalo Box and the 4th Half Band. Both great shows, very excited to play! Details below:

Tuesday 12/28
At Lizard's Liquid Lounge
3058 W. Irving Park Rd., Chicago
Show at 8pm

Wednesday 12/29
At Silvie's
1902 W Irving Park Rd., Chicago
Show at 7:30

Let's drink martinis and ride guitars through the sky all night!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Check out this review of the newly released album IIOI/KOJI on Alter the Press! I got to play cello on the last track of this album at one of the most sincerely fun recording sessions I have ever done. I remember coming home after that session so thankful for the experience and knowing already that the song would be beautiful! And I got a what-what from the author of the review, Barney Dutton. He says, "The strings on ‘Giants Sleeping’ give the song a real pop sheen that closes the record well." That's all me, baby! Read the review here.
Click here to buy the album!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mel Brooks Hanukkah

Hanukkah happens every year, and it is always the same old deal. No. Really it is always fun, but this year I am a little bummed about Hanukkah since I won't be at home for it. My favorite parts of the holiday are watching my dad try to light the seemingly trick candles on the menorah, my mom's ridiculous latkes, and hearing my brother butcher all of the Hebrew prayers. He just makes up words in English that sort of rhyme with the Hebrew, and it is hilarious. In the twenty years of his life, my brother has never made it past "Baruch atah Adonai..." in any prayer without inventing new words.

Since Hanukkah had to be so dang early this year, I am missing out on all those awesome parts. So I have created a new tradition for myself called Mel Brooks Hanukkah (or Brooksnukah, if you wish). This year I will be commemorating the Maccabees' success by watching a Mel Brooks movie each night of Hanukkah. Each film will be one little candle lit on my mind menorah, keeping me fuzzy warm on these cold nights. I started the first night with Blazing Saddles and am continuing on from there. The rest of my list includes The Producers, Young Frankenstein, History of the World: Part I, Spaceballs, Robin Hood: Men in Tights, and High Anxiety. In honor of the hysterical career of the recently departed Leslie Nielsen, I will conclude Brooksnukkah with Dracula: Dead And Loving It.

I know that I missed some classics, of course. There are only eight nights, so gimme a break. That means more for next year! And a new Cohen family tradition is born.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

No Cross-Mojonation!

If you missed last month's gig at the Elbo Room, be sure to see Machinegun Mojo's last show of the year is coming up on Saturday!

Join us at Goose Island in Wrigleyville for a night of whatever we want! Seriously. We are headlining and the decision maker over at Goose Island told us we can play as long as we want. We'll start at 11:30pm and play until we pass out. All of us agreed that the show at the Elbo Room was our best yet, and we aim to bring it even harder this time. Your mind will be blown. Did I mention that Goose Island has beer? Lots and lots of it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010
At Goose Island Wrigleyville
3535 N Clark Ave., Chicago
$8 cover

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Machinegun Mojo live at the Elbo Room this Saturday!

We will be rockin' out some new and old tunes this Saturday night at the Elbo Room. I will be singing and sawing that cello. Get your sleep the night before because we are playing late, around 11:30! Maybe that's not so late for a Saturday night, but I am like an old lady when it comes to this stuff. Come earlier for a bunch of other local bands! Here is the info:

Saturday, November 20, 2010
At the Elbo Room
2871 North Lincoln Ave., Chicago
$10 cover

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Love at first sight

Do you believe in love at first sight? I do. But not about people, just about music. When I was eight years old the kids in the grade above gave a concert to inspire us little ones to take up an instrument the next year. It was the first time I saw a cello, and it really was love at first sight. The concert was terrible, all out of tune and adorable like every elementary and middle school concert will be indefinitely. But I was mesmerized by the instrument, and I couldn't even hear it. When the songs ended, I ran up to the music teacher and asked about the instrument. She told me it was a cello and then she told me to go back to my seat. Everything was decided. Done. That was what I had to have. It was a given, a fact of my life that I would be playing that instrument. Kind of like that scene in Wayne's World: "It shall be mine. Oh yes, it shall be mine." And that's what happened mere months later.

Instant Love
Never before or since have I felt such an instant and intense connection with anything else. Or anyone else, for that matter. It's the only time I have felt as if silly things like fate or past lives could exist. Playing cello just feels right, and I always end up coming back to it. When life is riddled with obstacles and change, it is my constant. And yes, that is a picture of me at two years old.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Missing Details

I cannot stand missing details. I need to know everything. As a baby, I would hold my eyelids open at bedtime, claiming not to be sleepy at all. My head would be nodding off, but I continued to insist that it was not time for bed. The thought of my parents staying awake and doing things without me was unbearable. It's still kind of the same; I never want to miss anything.

This year has been full of travel all over the world, from Western Europe to the Middle East. Actually, it has been a full year since I was in Israel, which is already unbelievable. Through these trips my focus has been taking in as much as possible and turning it into awesome things like songs and wisdom. But for me, the most frustrating thing about traveling to these foreign countries is not being able to understand the languages. I am missing everything: all of the tiny details, participation, the full experience of each location. Grrr. Yes, yes. Everyone speaks English now, it's true. But there are so many things lost in the expression of ideas and feelings across languages. Everyone buzzes about around me, and I want to understand all of it. Hmph! 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Beggars can... have an album?

The first of October starts a massive and way too ambitious project for me. Tomorrow morning I am heading to Dublin where I hope to record as many songs as humanly possible in one month -- in between traveling all over the place and playing at various pubs.
          My plan as of now is to record a double EP with about ten songs; five songs will be rapz and covers, and the other five will be my originals. Luckily, I have a lot of help with the recording, mixing, and mastering process, but the upcoming marketing and manufacturing of discs will pose a challenge. As of today I will be accepting PayPal donations to help undercut these anticipated costs. Check out the button!

You do not need a PayPal account to donate, and they accept most major credit cards. Everyone who donates $10 or more will receive a free CD when it is finished! Lastly, I understand that times suck right now, so please don't worry if you cannot give. I love all of you and can't wait to share my recordings with you!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Friday Night Lizard's Takeover

What happens when Lizard's Liquid Lounge gives me free reign to plan an entire Friday night of music? A veritable mish mash of rock n roll goodness!!

Starting at 9pm, Brynn Mawr will take the stage to perform her lovely originals, and I will join in with some delicious harmonies. Then I will bring out some dirty rapz full force! Lastly, we will rock out full band style with Machinegun Mojo. That's right, a whole night of friends and music! Can Lizard's even handle it? We will find out soon enough. Oh, and it's FREE!

Also, don't miss the special guest appearance by Bearsharktopus!

Join us at Lizard's at 9pm This Friday, September 24th for a free show!
3058 W. Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60618

Friday, August 27, 2010

Thus spake the prophet...

Another delightful blogger has written about my YouTube cover songs! The Prophet Blog gave me a glorious review, and I am extremely grateful. Check out the article here. He does claim that Khia's song is "generation defining". Hm. I guess we will have to see about that.

I do have some thoughts on the following section of the article:
Staying true to the original, Katelyn leaves the lyrical poetry 100% as it is, only censoring out the dreaded ‘N’ word since white folk ain’t allowed to say it.

When I set out to cover rap songs I think about staying true to the original song and turning it into something I find funny. It's not that I feel like I can't say the 'N' word because I am white, it's just that I don't think it is funny. Saying it doesn't add any element of humor to the cover, and not saying it doesn't leave the song empty or lacking in any way. In fact, no one before this blogger even noticed and mentioned it. So yeah, I'm not big on censorship, but I am big on funniness.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Someone covered me? Whaa?

Yes, that is correct. Someone actually covered one of my covers! This is tremendous. I love the video; they spent way more time on this one than I have on all of my videos combined. Creative and funny! These ladies turned my cover of Khia's "My Neck, My Back" into a hot tranny mess. And I love it. Absolutely love it. Check it out!

Also, you best be coming out to Lizard's Liquid Lounge in Chicago for my dirty rapz night. It will be fun! This Thursday night at 9pm! $4 margaritas and my set is followed by Adam who plays delightful country faves!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Rockin' With Mojo

Friday night's show at Silvie's went SO well. I had an unbelievable amount of fun and I even made a few bucks which was really great. There was a slight mishap where the plastic of my guitar strap literally shattered, but a fellow musician let me borrow hers. Other than that, it was perfect! But now I am preparing for my next show, this Thursday and the Double Door with MachineGun Mojo! There will be lots of rock, twang, possibly a bar fight. WHO KNOWS?!

Come and check out the rock gods of MachineGun Mojo. They'll croon, you'll swoon. I will play cello and you will be all, "Hey, that's pretty cool."

Monday, August 2, 2010


WHOA. Guys, I got booked for my first ever Friday night paying solo gig. And it is this Friday, August 6th at Silvie's Lounge. This is momentous. Look! There is even a visually assaulting flier with my name on it. Amazing! I get a half hour set that starts at around 10pm and the cover is $5 at the door. Make sure you tell them you are there to see me, so I can get da money, which is of course the only reason I do any of this.

So, come hang with me at Silvie's this Friday:
1902 W Irving Park
Chicago, IL
Acoustic Explosion!

In Other Sad News....

I submitted the term "pack o' franks" to urban dictionary, and they rejected it. No fair.

Friday, July 30, 2010

No, I'm the Cello Lady...

You know what? It's hard out there for a lady in the arts. There are many expectations and assumptions that make things difficult. I just read this article about women in the Classical music world and it got me thinking of my own personal experiences.

Almost every time I walk around with the ol' cello on my back I get some strange comments from men. "Do you play that?" No, I'm just dragging it around because it's so much fun. My personal favorite: "That instrument is so big! You need a strong man to carry it for you." Ew. Just ew. These comments seem harmless, but they did make me feel very anxious to go out with my instrument, feeling everyone's eyes on me.

Nearly two years ago my boss and I attended a music industry conference to listen to panelists, network with others, you know, the typical conference spiel. I noticed there weren't too many women at this conference -- virtually none my age -- but I had a great time schmoozing anyway. That was until I was asked not once but three times by other male attendees if I was my boss' wife. I must admit that I was disturbed by this unusually popular question. Not because my boss is some kind of square (actually he is, albeit a totally cool one), but because to these industry men I could not possibly be at this conference for career or networking purposes. To them, I could only be there as merely some guy's plus one. After the conference, I told my boss over huevos rancheros at the nearby greasy spoon about how uncomfortable that made me. He assured me not to worry about it; they were just trying to be nice and include me in the conversation. Oh ho ho, did I disagree. To me, sexism is not created by the speaker's intent alone. Just because you "mean well" does not mean you are innocent. Of course these guys were not outwardly rude to me; they could not even see how their assumptions labeled me as a subordinate and were just plain inappropriate. Ugh. Kinda depressing that this type of thinking is so ingrained and automatic. There was some hope though as these guys were all quite a bit older than I. It must be a generational difference, I told myself. Surely no guy my age would leap to those assumptions...

Cue to a recent gig. I was asked to join a recording session on the north side of Chicago for an artist I had never met previously. I got to the studio and noticed I was very outnumbered, about seven dudes and just me. The typical recording studio sausage fest of twenty-somethings, a real pack o' franks.* Everyone was friendly and laid back and keenly listening to the current tracks being recorded. I felt surprisingly comfortable. Until another hired musician stepped out of the booth and into the main room. He introduced himself... to all the guys first. Then looked at me and said the words I absolutely dread: "So, are you like a band member's girlfriend?"

My heart sank. I blurted out what came to mind first, "How insulting!" The room got quiet. Everyone looked at me. "I'm the cello player," I said, pointing to the giant case next to me, "I'm recording tonight too." He shrugged, looking unfazed, "Oh, cool." I eventually laughed it off, and it in no way affected my performance that evening, but I have thought about it a lot since. It all boils down to the fact that everyone wants to be respected and taken seriously (ok, not too seriously) by others. Now I know that respect is earned, but it is more difficult to earn it when you start at a disadvantage because of assumptions. I work hard practicing, lugging that heavy cello case on trains and buses, enduring the stares of others. If I am anyone's girlfriend, I am my cello's. And I am totally her bitch. And she is seriously high maintenance.

*I hereby coin the phrase "pack o' franks"

Monday, July 26, 2010

Sweet Review in!

Since I didn't have this blog back in December, I never got a chance to write about this adorable review I got in See, they love me in Canada too!

Glen Yamashita contacted me on YouTube and interviewed me for this article. I think it turned out great and I am most appreciative! Check out the write up here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Review In Art Nouveau Magazine!

I just got a delightfully unexpected write up in Art Nouveau Magazine! The review is for my cover of Khia's song "My Neck, My Back". Check it out here!

Thanks to Kendrick Daye and the folks at Art Nouveau for writing this article, it is super appreciated.

And, as always, you can check out my videos on my YouTube page.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Thursday Night: Margaritaz and Rapz

It's official! Dirty Rapz night is a monthly event at Lizard's Liquid Lounge. Come out this Thursday, July 22 at 8pm for a set of acoustic jams and dirty rap covers!

Remember, Thursdays are $4 margarita night too! So have some dranks and chill out! Literally, because Lizard's has AC, woohoo! After my set Adam Johnson will play his covers of the country classics.

Lizards Liquid Lounge
3058 W. Irving Park Road
Chicago, IL 60618

Monday, May 31, 2010

Sage Francis And The Best Birthday Ever

Sage Francis is one of my most favorite artists. He is definitely my favorite rapper. And you know what? He was in town on my birthday, playing a show at the Bottom Lounge. Hell yeah.

Sage is a unique rapper. First of all, he's a tubby, bald white dude. You wouldn't look at him and say, "Damn! Who's that rap superstar?!" But then again you probably wouldn't look at me and assume my love of hip hop. Sage hails from the hardcore, menacing streets of Providence. That's right, the oft-talked about rap epicenter of Rhode Island. He got his start as a slam poet, a fact that you can hear in his rhymes and speech patterns. His lyrics reflect on childhood scars, relationships, socio-political turmoil, and farts. Yeah, farts. He's well rounded, both physically and artistically.

Sage Francis has been a favorite of mine since my friend Christine put two of his songs on a mix tape for me when we were in high school. And over the years my fandom has grown and grown. You see, this time last year I had a terrible bout with depression. I could not sleep, clumps of my hair fell out, persistent anxiety ruined every aspect of my life. It truly sucked. And I listened to his album Human the Death Dance nearly every sleepless night. Especially the song Hell Of A Year. At a time when everyone and everything felt so distant, I felt his songs pull me back to reality. Yeah, it sounds cheesy. Whatever.

Last August, Sage posted on his Twitter page that he was in Chicago and wanted to meet all of his fans at this bar called The Bad Apple. Even though I was nervous, I went all by myself to this new bar. I got to meet him (see the picture above!) and got a huge bear hug. Two hugs, actually! We hung out in a group talking about festivals and sharing veggie burgers. I offered him cello recordings and he told me I needed to play live more. And, well, I did. Once in awhile I email him, and he always writes back. Even if he secretly thinks I am creepy, he doesn't show it! Seeing him earlier this month on my birthday signified the close to my "hell of a year". I took a look back and saw how much I have changed. I am happy, confident, open to new things, and most importantly, making music. It was a lot of work, and Sage Francis was unknowingly a huge part of it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tomorrow at Lizard's!

Come hang out and drink $4 margaritas tomorrow at Lizard's Liquid Lounge at 3058 W Irving Park. I will be doing a set of covers, mainly dirty rapz. There is a new dirty rap to honor the summer-like weather of this past week. Don't miss it! No cover!

Lizard's is always a good time! See that picture? That's what it was like the last time I played there. This event starts at 8pm and I am followed by Adam Johnson at 10pm playing classic country songs!

RSVP to this show here!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

MachineGun Mojo's Woman

Last week I was in the studio adding some cello to the song "Woman" by MachineGun Mojo. It was a lot of fun. It is a rare occasion when bands give an outside musician free reign to do whatever she wants to their song. Some people jump at the chance. However, coming from a classically trained background, it has generally scared the crap out of me. You don't have sheet music? You want me to make up something? Terrifying.

Becoming more open to improvisation has been a difficult process. I envy the musicians who are able to play as if their instrument were an extension of their own bodies. The ease and comfortableness that comes to them so naturally has taken me years. And I'm still not all the way there, not even close. But things are beginning to click. Within the first listen of Brynn Mawr's song "Heartbreaking" the cello line came to me immediately. And in an hour it was recorded. A few listens of "Woman" and I had already figured the two separate cello tracks I wanted to record. I guess they aren't shitting you when they say the only way to get used to something strange is to keep doing it.

Six hours, five pizzas, and three cases of beer later we had successfully added the lush bottom lines that they needed. And yeah, those guys are awesome. They made me feel totally comfortable in the studio, and we had never even met before that night. There will probably be more cello added to this current project soon. Can't wait!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Brynn Mawr at Manifest!

This coming Friday I will return to my alma mater to accompany the fantastic Brynn Mawr at Columbia College's annual Manifest Festival! I will be playing some cello and singing back up with her. Piers Telford and Joe Korbee are also joining us!

Brynn appears as a special performer for the Acoustic Kitchen showcase. Join us from 3pm-6pm on the second floor of the UC building at 525 S. State St in the South Loop of Chicago. There will also be a parade, art installments, film showings, and music showcases all over the South Loop at Columbia's many buildings.

Click here for a full program of Manifest events!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Bringing you the rocketsauce!

Welcome to my new site and blog! Come to Subterranean on May 13th if you want to hear some lush harmonies and hot vibrato-heavy cello. I will be playing with the awesome Chicago band Hey Rabbit. It's a special CD release show for Ben Keeler and the 500 Club's new album, so get ready to party!

It is $8 and starts at 8:30, so that is easy enough to remember! See you there!

Venue information:
2011 West North Avenue
Chicago, IL 60647-5413
(773) 278-6799
Click here for a map!