REGINA SPEKTOR

7 August 2010

[Picture of Russian Sonstress, Regina Spektor]Regina Spektor seems to be everywhere these days. Her music is used extensively in TV commercials, movies, trailers and campaigns, and she’s done all the big European festivals like T in the Park and Glastonbury.

Her album “Far” is actually pretty good.  It is very New York East Village, very girly, and all that.  She is quirky, plays the piano and has some orchestration. That sounds like so many others, doesn’t it?  It moves on the Kate Bush, Joanna Newsom, Tori Amos thingy, and sits well with St.Vincent — or even Emily Simone.

If you listen a wee bit more closely, you hear that she does crazy things while singing — odd noises are emitted form her mouth, buzzes, rasps, tuts and heavy breathing!  She has a broad range too.  This moves the music up a notch from the usual girly wistfulness to something else.

But it doesn’t stop there.  Oh no.  There’s the “Back-Story”, and what a tale to tell — what a soap-opera!  You couldn’t make this up!  I’ll try to be brief and still do this fascinating tale some justice.Where to begin?  Well how about a few weeks ago?

OK, it’s the 7th of July 2010, at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Montreux, Switzerland. Regina was set to perform, but was reportedly distraught, shaken and in tears most of the time.  She had to stop several times simply to regain her composure — all because the day before, her cellist, Dan Cho, drowned while swimming in Lake Geneva near Chillon Castle. But the show went on, and she pulled it off.

Flashback: to 1989, the USSR during the period of Perestroika, the Spektor family (including a nine-year-old Regina) emigrate to Austria and then Italy. She is completely fluent in Russian and reads Hebrew.

They were admitted to the USA as refugees with the assistance of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, and settled in the Bronx in New York where she studied classical piano with Sonia Vargas, a professor at the Manhattan School of Music, until she was 17.  She did a four-year studio composition program of the Conservatory of Music at Purchase College graduating within three years.  In the summers she worked at a Butterfly Farm and even worked in Tottenham, London. Otherwise she was gigging to sell her home-burned CDs and gain a reputation.  She started getting recognition by performances at the East Village’s Sidewalk Café, CB’s Gallery, the Living Room, the Knitting Factory, Fez and Tonic that led to signing with Sire in 2004.

She was on Loose Women (Housewife Daytime TV show in the UK) back in 2007 — and later that year — during a sound-check for her gig at Ryman Auditorium, Nashville on 14th November that year, she collapsed due to intense vertigo as a result of an inner ear infection, and was rushed to hospital, cancelling the concert.  I can relate to that as I was suffering a similar state of affairs at that time too.

I take my hat off to her; she’s not had it easy, she’s a grafter, and she’s done a lot already with her life.  She’s definitely one to keep an eye on; some people just attract happenings and events!

[Embedded videoclip from YouTube: Spektor’s “Samson”]

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p62rfWxs6a8]

[Embedded videoclip from YouTube: Spektor’s “Machine”]

[Youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thQd1KYCgKU&]

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One Response to “REGINA SPEKTOR”


  1. […] music from all sorts, Deadmau5, Magnetic Man, The Radio Department,  The Thermals, Ratatat, Regina Spektor, Midlake, Rumer, Joshua Radin, Larry Carlton and Steely Dan, Eli “Paperboy” Reed, Mike […]


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