About

photo: Ricky Kim
Copal sets an evocative tone; lavish voices of violin and cello flicker against a twilight scape of electronic swells and plush textures, impelled by a driving rhythmic sense, and original melodies steeped in global musical traditions. NYC-based, Copal is lead by violinist/composer Hannah Thiem surrounded by an impressive cast of ever-talented collaborators. The band’s sound is a steampunk melding of styles set on a world stage. Nordic melodies ride Middle-Eastern rhythms into the halls of a remembered past, Hungarian riffs blush hotly against Spanish cadences, opulent harmonies from far-gone depths. Copal has rocked the house beside such talented and diverse groups as Vagabond Opera, Delhi 2 Dublin, Luminescent Orchestrii, Haale, and Sxip Shirey.

Copal’s 2010 aptly named ‘Into the Shadow Garden’, is a moody arabesque of cultural influences and sonic textures. The music here is darkly intimate, compelling on multiple levels. Violin and cello swell with minor keys inviting a temperament of opulence and sweet decline which permeates throughout. Exotic percussion, drums, bass, and the occasional vocal highlight ride atop electronic sonic elements and Fender Rhodes to create an all-enveloping sound. The music inspires visions of forested paths and mystery pools–it’s a journey from dusk to dawn through the shadow garden and out the other side into the light of morning. “Evocative” (Blue Railroad) and “artistically beautiful yet darkly tantalizing” (Maximum Ink), like lucid dreams, the sounds of Copal will take you away.

Starring:

Hannah Thiem — is the violinist/vocalist of Copal and violinist of Nyxyss, and solos with DJs in New York, Boston, and San Francisco. Hannah accompanied hip hop icon Kanye West in New York (Madison Square Garden) and in Boston where they opened for The Rolling Stones. She is a resident at NYC’s Church and Alex Grey’s Chapel of Sacred Mirrors (CoSM). Hannah studied classical, world, and jazz, with emphasis on Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Nordic, and Spanish Gypsy traditional styles at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA; as well as field studies in Spain, Morocco, Greece and Germany. In studio, she recorded with Grammy nominated Irma Thomas, rising stars Beats Antique, and Mark Saunders (multi-platinum producer: Cure, Cyndi Lauper, David Byrne). With her bands Copal and Nyxyss, or alongside DJs spinning dubstep, glitch-hop, or brokenbeat, Hannah’s inspired melodic sense stirs both deep emotions and dancefloors.

Isabel Castellvi (cello) — is a versatile musician performing and composing a broad range of music including classical and contemporary classical, rock, jazz, world, free-improvisation, experimental, electro-acoustic, hip-hop and theatrical performance art. Currently she is the cellist for the contemporary classical ensembles: ai ensemble, dal niente, MIVOS quartet, NYSound Circuit, ThingNY, and Wetink, for bands The Bell Cycle, CelloVox, and Copal. Multidisciplinary collaboration is an integral part of her work, which has led to various projects with composers, dance, theater and visual artists. Isabel received a Master’s Degree in Contemporary Music Performance at Manhattan School of Music, and B.M. from DePaul University. In addition to an active performance career as a cellist she is studying Hindustani classical music, is active as a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. Isabel is dedicated to sharing music with diverse audiences, expanding consciousness and promoting peace.

Rob Chamberlain (drum kit, electronic drum samples) — had the good fortune of being born into a prestigious lineage of musicians and wizards. Directly descended from Lord Reginald Chamberlain, first Duke of Boston, Rob developed a drumming style that balances traditional military marching percussion techniques with the subtle nuances of drum set playing commonly found in early-to-mid 90’s grunge rock. Pursuing his formal education at the illustrious School of Hard Knocks in western Massachusetts, Rob earned an advanced degree in Rocking the F. Out in percussion, with a minor in Straight Killin’ It on acoustic guitar. He has made his career in Brooklyn, NY as so many of his ancestors have, composing music for modern dance, backing worldbeat electronica groups, and busking in streets and subway stations, gracefully negotiating the age-old balance between starving artist and legitimate hobo.

Collaborators:

Karl Grohmann (performer/co-writer on Into the Shadow Garden)Composer/songwriter, performing musician, and an innovative educator living in the Boston metro area. He has performed, recorded and toured with such national acts as Copal, Beantown Swing Orchestra, Brad Byrd, and Lovewhip, and has produced and recorded original music for his upcoming LP release. Currently working towards his Masters in Composition from Longy School of Music, Karl is working to fuse elements of modern classical composition with songwriting, deeply affected by the sounds of the soul. As an educator, Karl is on the faculty of a private school in the Boston area where he teaches music theory and ensembles, holds a private practice, and is producing web documentary videos showing his approach to creating music.

Chris Brown (performer/co-writer on Into the Shadow Garden) – Across 5 continents Chris has moved fluidly between musical worlds, creating with artists including Black Dub (Daniel Lanois, Brian Blade), John Mayer, The Wooten Brothers & JD Blair, Eddie Bayer, BJ Cole (Sting, Bjork), Keppie Coutts, Incus, Bethel AME Church Boston Worship Team, Memphis Gold & Charlie Sayles. He performed with Copal from 2007 to 2009 playing bass & laptop as well as creating sound design for the album “Into to the Shadow Garden”.  His signature subterranean bass sound was once perfectly described by Tony of Jaggery as “the sounds the Earth makes inside” and combined with lush, evocative multi-layered sonic backdrops with cutting edge digital processing from his Ableton enabled laptop. Since moving to Washington DC in 2009 he is musical director and bassist for the Moonshine Society as well as working as a producer, engineer and sound designer. Hopefully paths will cross again in the future…

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