Rachelle Garniez – vocals, accordion, piano, guitar, claviola
Native New Yorker multi-instrumentalist Rachelle Garniez has been described as a “diva with a difference” (Billboard Magazine) and a “certified free spirit” (The New Yorker). She is not formally educated in music, but was raised in a musical household by her mother, a classical pianist and music teacher who encouraged her to play by ear and also to experiment with all kinds of instruments and sounds. When she was seventeen she went to Europe and traveled around with a guitar for a year, busking in Venice and making music with Gypsies in the south of Spain. Upon returning to New York she picked up the accordion and spent several years playing on subway platforms and street corners of New York City, giving her the rare ability to connect with audiences of all ages and origins. Her performances are authentic, theatrical, spontaneous and fresh; stream-of-consciousness improvisations provide scope for the songs to evolve and develop continually as the spirit moves.
Her original lyrical and melodic story-songs have been described as “romantic, rhapsodic and casually hilarious” (The New York Times). Over the years she has played music in many bands of many kinds, including Rock, Blues, Tango, Country, Latin, Klezmer, Jazz and Tin Pan Alley classics. Her unique sense of song draws from all of these influences and “…wanders through genres, leaving behind nothing but sweet wreckage” (The New Yorker).
Rachelle has released five CDs of original songs on her own label, Real Cool Records, as well as two albums in Europe with Jaro Medien and in the U.S. with StorySound Records.
The latest, “Gone to Glory”, is a collection of songs by recently deceased artists including Prince, Bowie, Mose Allison, and Aretha Franklin, released on March 13th, 2020. In 2009, she recorded a vinyl single “My House of Peace”, produced by Jack White, one of the first releases on his Third Man Records label.
In Europe she worked live on three tours as a duo with Dave Hofstra and Tim Luntzel. She was also a member of the “American Songbirds”, who recorded three CDs for Jaro Medien and toured throughout Europe and Taiwan.
Together with singer-songwriters Amanda Homi and Terry Radigan, she is a member of Vicki Kristina Barcelona, a trio dedicated to re-imagining the songs of Tom Waits, whose debut album “Pawn Shop Radio” will be released in June 2020 by Jaro Medien and StorySound Records. Recently, Rachelle appeared as a featured performer on the acclaimed HBO series, High Maintenance.
She was a performing member and musical director of the Neo-Cabaret troupe The Citizens Band, and toured extensively with Roots-World ensemble Hazmat Modine. For several years in the early 2000s, Rachelle was a member of the TED house band led by Thomas Dolby; she was invited in 2019 to perform at a reunion of hand-picked TED alumni. Her songs can be heard on many television programs and have been recorded by singers like Catherine Russell, Karen Elson, and Ingrid Lucia of the Flying Neutrinos, to name just a few. Rachelle has performed/recorded with artists including Sven Ratzke, Weimar New York, the Marvin Sewell Group, Tigresa, Rufus Wainwright, Dan Zanes, and Mumbo Gumbo. In 2009, Rachelle composed the music for Taylor Mac’s visionary Obie-Award-winning epic five-hour theater piece “The Lily’s Revenge”, which has been presented throughout the United States, notably in September of 2012 by the American Repertory Theater at Harvard University in Cambridge.
Furthermore, Rachelle works together with Erik Della Penna and Ulrich Balß on the multi-media project : ” An evening in New York”. The story of the German bookbinder Theodor Trampler, who went to New York in 1928 when he became unemployed. A live program with historical photos from 1928, texts from letters and music by her, Erik Della Penna and some classics about New York. USA premiere has been postponed to 2021 due to the corona crisis.