Once again, I have dropped the ball and didn’t quite make my November artist feature. However, I have managed to put together this month’s feature on the amazingly talented violinist, pianist, and composer Dana Lyn. I have known Dana for over a decade and for a short period we were also housemates. (Dana taught me how to truly appreciate vegetarian soup!) I have seen and heard incredible music whenever Dana is involved.
Dana moved to NYC in 2000 and has gone through some interesting transformations during her 15 years here. When I met Dana, I knew her only as an Irish fiddler, which was her main focus until about 2007. After that, Dana began performing music by Bach, writing string arrangements for various music groups, and composing string quartets and other original music. Dana’s vast artistic versatility has made her an incredible force in the NYC music scene.
Dana’s main current musical project is her band, Mother Octopus, which performs Dana’s original compositions. This band has been in existence since 2011 under other names such as Yeti Camp and Aqualude but the members have always been cellist Clara Kennedy, guitarist Kyle Sanna, drummer Vinnie Sperrazza and multi-wind instrumentalist Mike McGinnis. Another important project is her duo with Kyle Sanna. A new recording of this duo will be coming out in the near future following their debut recording called, “The Hare Said a Prayer to the Rainbow and Followed the Fox Down the Hole” (2011). This last CD is a wonderful listen and a top pick for my husband. Another recording worth mentioning is “Bach Reformed” by Dana and Rob Moose (who plays tenor guitar and mandolin on it). The repertoire comes from J.S. Bach’s Suites for Unaccompanied Cello and the Sonatas and Partitas for Violin Solo, with the material arranged as duets.
Dana also has a project with actor Vincent D’Onofrio called “Slim Bone Head Volt”. This work is based on D’Onofrio’s journal entries which Dana creates music for. This duo will be releasing their first recording on March 3, 2015.
The string quartet Brooklyn Rider commissioned Dana to compose a work called “Maintenance Music” for their Brooklyn Rider Almanac. Dana also wrote eight string quintet arrangements of traditional Irish fiddle music for the Apple Hill Quartet which has a recording due out next year.
One more thing to mention is that this past summer Dana was musical director of Family Album, a musical by the Tony award winning team Stew and Heidi Rodewald.
You can see Dana perform with Mother Octopus Sunday, December 14th, 8:00pm at the Firehouse Space in Brooklyn. She will also be at The Living Room with Matt Kanelos on December 17 ay 8:00pm. Slim Bone 7ead Volt will be at Joe’s Pub on December 20 at 7:00pm to close out Dana’s performances for the year. If you have the opportunity to check out Dana’s performances, I recommend that you go and see all the shows to really experience the breadth of Dana’s musical talent. You will not be disappointed.