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Mirah [rank: 214]

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"Mirah Yom Tov Zeitlyn (born September 17, 1974, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), is an American musician. She has released five albums under the K Records label. She is close friends with and has collaborated with Phil Elvrum of The Microphones. She has worked extensively with The Black Cat Orchestra. Mirah is the youngest of three children and lived in Bala Cynwyd, a suburb of Philadelphia, for most of her childhood. She then moved to Olympia, Washington and attended The Evergreen State College. Mirah is Jewish, and her middle name means 'good day' or 'holy day' in Hebrew."

[reproduced or excerpted from the Wikipedia article "Mirah" and its use is thus licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License]


Bandega Interview with Mirah (November 2008)

Turn the lights out and behold the darkened scrim.

Q: How have your shows changed over the years? Has your perspective on performing live changed?
A: I actually think my shows, and my presentation of myself, has been fairly consistent. I even play the same guitar as I did when I first started out. I only own two guitars, my Gibson and a little acoustic which I keep by my bed or bring on trips to the coast. I never dorked out with audio equipment and started playing with a loop pedal or a computer. I'm actually really sensitive to the proximity of technological foreign objects to my physical body. I mean, I'm kind of a naked person and sometimes I just can't stand the feeling of a guitar cable under my bare foot or the feeling of a headphone wire brushing against my shoulder. So for me, the simpler the better onstage. Just me and my guitar, and sometimes just me and my voice, my favorite instrument. I've started playing with different configurations of a "band" in the past couple of years, and that's been really fun but for this solo tour, I'm going back to my original comfort zone.

Q: Describe the most memorable live show you've played.
A: There was a moment at the Sasquatch Festival the summer before last when I glanced over my right shoulder during a song and suddenly had to keep from crying because it was so beautiful. That festival is at The Gorge in Eastern Washington in a really breathtaking spot, and when we first arrived I figured I must have been too overwhelmed with the weirdness of being around so many people with their ten dollar beers in a festival setting to be touched by the beauty of nature. But then it happened, when I wasn't expecting it, right in the middle of a song. I was glad I got hit with it like that, even if just for that one moment, I really was feeling where I was.

Q: What venue do you consider to be your "home", where you feel most comfortable, with the crowd and the place itself?
A: The Olympia All Ages Project is a new organization promoting all ages shows in Olympia Washington. One of the venues they've been using is the old Dub Narcotic studio space where I recorded the bulk of my first couple of records and where I've spent countless hours rehearsing for various projects I was involved in while living in Olympia (The Transfused and The You Move in a Fashion Show . . .). There have been weddings and birthday parties and art shows there, I've slept there a bunch and woken up to the sounds of the seagulls congregating on the rolling black tar rooftops, Ace Investigations used to be right there, my going away party was there. So in a true sense, that venue, which isn't even a venue, but rather just a big empty room where K doesn't live anymore but which is still a place where things happen, is my "home". I hope I get to play there again.

Q: Describe the most enjoyable show you've ever experienced as a fan.
A: Well, I'll just describe my most favorite recent moment, at an Antony and the Johnsons concert with the Oregon Symphony. The first song was done entirely in the dark, with the symphony behind a darkened scrim and Antony in the front with only the faintest outline of him visible, no lights on, just the soft glow of exit signs, all of us sitting in the hush of the darkness. It was really beautiful to be with so many people, so many hands making music, a full house of ears and the darkness allowing us to forget our bodies, our eyes, our other senses, listening, focused on only one voice. It was like a dream. The lights came on bit by bit throughout the show, finally revealing the orchestra. At one point those floodlight style lights lit the audience up while he sang Beyonce's "Crazy Right Now". The whole experience, starting with being in the dark together, and then in the end being all lit up together was really well-conceived, and the music was impeccable.

Q: You said in a 2004 interview with Downhill Battle: "I would like to make music for the rest of my life and I'd also like to make a living for the rest of my life. I try not to worry myself too much about whether or not these two things continue to align themselves." Has your outlook changed any in the last 4 years? What would your dream job be that would pay the bills and allow you to create music on your own time?
A: Well, I'd still like to keep making music. I really love to sing, just love it, and I still have a lot of projects and ideas which I would love to create. But I also would like be able to make a living without going on tour very much, not that I don't like touring, but I really really really like being home and those two things just don't dance very well together. My new idea is to start doing voice over work, doing character and narration jobs, so I'm taking a few classes and am trying to make some connections with that. We'll see how it goes.

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