Jewlia Eisenberg

Jewlia Eisenberg

Jewlia Eisenberg is an American composer. As founder and bandleader of Charming Hostess she coined the term "Nerdy-Sexy-Commie-Girly" to describe her genre of music which spans an electric range of styles.

Originally from New York City, Eisenberg became an integral member of the San Francisco Bay Area and the New York Downtown music scenes in the 1990s.

Her music is both physical, using voices, vocal percussion, handclaps, heartbeats, sex-breath and silence and also intellectual, exploring such topics as Bosnian genocide in Sarajevo Blues (2004) and the political/erotic nexus of Walter Benjamin and his Marxist muse in Trilectic (2002). Both of these works were released on John Zorn's Radical Jewish Series on Tzadik.

She has been commissioned from such sources as by the Sloan Foundation and the Goethe Institut SF and has received numerous awards, including: Trust for Mutual Understanding grant for collaboration with poets in ex-Yugoslavia, the Puffin Foundation grant for her Red Rosa project, a Katzenstein Fellow for collaboration with experimental architects and engineers as an Artist-In-Residence at MIT, a Rockefeller Foundation Multi-Arts Production Fund Grant for 'The Grim Arithmetic of Water, with aerial dance choreographer Jo Kreiter, a Goldman Fund Tikea Fellow for project-based radical film and music work with youth, and a Weisz Fellow for field research and recording among Jewish women in the Gondar region of Ethiopia. Eisenberg enjoyed a retreat as part of the Djerassi Resident Artists Program in October-November 2006.

Early work

Eisenberg's music got a kick-start at University of California in Barrington Hall. It was there that she founded the first incarnation of Charming Hostess. At that time the West Oakland scene was also home to bands such as Fibulator and Eskimo. Half of the members of Charming Hostess were also in Idiot Flesh and Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. Eisenberg has described the genre of early Charming Hostess as "klezmer-punk/balkan-funk". Members included Jewlia Eisenberg (voice, direction), Carla Kihlstedt (voice, fiddle), Nina Rolle (voice, accordion), Wes Anderson (drums), Nils Frykdahl (guitar, flute, saxophone, percussion), and Dan Rathbun (bass).


I realized I didn’t want to be an ethnomusicologist; I wanted to be a rock star.
--from Boston Phoenix, Jon Garelick, (April 1 - 7, 2005)

Discography as leader

  • Punch, as Charming Hostess. (Recommended Records, 2005)
  • Sarajevo Blues, as Charming Hostess. (Tzadik, Radical Jewish Culture, 2004)
  • Thick, with Red Pocket. (Tzadik, Oracle Women’s Series, 2004)
  • Trilectic, (Tzadik, Radical Jewish Culture, 2002)
  • Eat, as Charming Hostess. (Vaccination Records, 1998)

External links


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