(HUDSON, N.Y.) – Singer-songwriter and visual artist Natalia Zukerman premieres her new multimedia program, “The Women Who Rode Away: Songs and Portraits,” at Club Helsinki Hudson on Sunday, October 22, at 7pm. The event is part of the monthly Rogovoy Salon music, literary, and art series curated and hosted by music journalist Seth Rogovoy.
In “The Women Who Rode Away: Songs and Portraits,” Zukerman features a new body of work in which her songs and paintings engage in a dialogue. Some of her artwork is inspired by her songs; some of her music is inspired by her paintings; and in this project, both are inspired by women who define and defy boundaries. Both aspects of Zukerman’s art will be on display during the evening: her songs and her paintings.
The project began with Zukerman’s song “Jane Avril,” about the French can-can dancer made famous by Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec through his paintings. “The song came from a challenge from a friend. We each gave each other the assignment to write a song in a week with the words ‘feather boa’ in it,” says Zukerman, who lives in Brooklyn and frequently retreats to Columbia County for peace, quiet, and artistic inspiration – and to visit her mother, world-renowned flutist Eugenia Zukerman, known locally as artistic director of several music series, include Leaf Peeper Concerts and Classics on Hudson.
“I immediately thought of the great Toulouse-Lautrec prints of the Moulin Rouge and this amazing tiny lady, Jane Avril, who lived a life outside of conformity and within her own magnificent design,” says Zukerman, who will also dip into her singer-songwriter repertoire from her seven albums, including “Gas Station Roses,” “Brand New Frame,” and “Come Thief, Come Fire.”
Natalia’s other portraits in song and on canvas include “In the Long Mirror,” about black feminist poet Audre Lorde, and “The Mountain” about the great American artist Georgia O’Keeffe.
‘Jane Avril,’ from the song ‘Jane Avril.’ Song and painting by Natalia Zukerman
Natalia Zukerman comes equipped with a triple-threat toolbox: she’s an incisive songwriter with the vocal phrasing of a jazz-blues singer and a phenomenal instrumental talent on anything with strings. She’s a master of guitar, slide guitar, Dobro, lap-steel guitar, and banjo – anything with strings. She’s even been seen to pick up a violin on occasion. Why not, when your private teacher is the world-renowned violinist Pinchas Zukerman (her father)?
Drawing upon these influences and talents, Zukerman is a compelling storyteller whose compositions capture moments of intimacy with the soul of Bonnie Raitt and the heart of Shawn Colvin. Indeed, she’s accompanied and opened for some of acoustic music’s greats, including Janis Ian, Willy Porter, Susan Werner, Erin McKeown, Shawn Colvin, Ani DiFranco, Richard Thompson, Tom Paxton, and many others.
Seth Rogovoy goes on to explain what first drew him to the music of Natalia Zukerman. “Natalia writes some of the sexiest, downright torrid love songs, and there’s a bedroom whisper in her voice that puts them over the top, as in ‘What Comes After.’ And, of course, as in ‘Gas Station Roses,’ my personal favorite and perhaps her ‘greatest hit,’ in which she sings, ‘I’m looking for someone to come unlock me / Someone to come around and spin my little wheels.’ Just listen to the way her slide guitar replies to that line – conjuring up musically exactly what she’s singing about. Muddy Waters ain’t got nuthin’ on this blues mama when she’s hot and bothered.”
‘Audre Lorde,’ from the song ‘In The Long Mirror,’ song and painting by Natalia Zukerman
“My other favorite Natalia song is ‘Brooklyn,’ with a hook and melody so instantly recognizable it always makes me think, ‘Damn, I don’t understand why this song didn’t win a Grammy Award.’”
Upcoming artists in the Rogovoy Salon series include author-poet Taylor Mali (November 12) and funk- poet Everton Sylvester (December 3) with his band, Searching for Banjo.
For reservations, call 518.828.4800, or visit Club Helsinki Hudson.