"With her self-titled debut CD, Raven embodies
all the best attributes of independent music... Her songs move
seamlessly between straightforward Mississippi blues ("Necessary
Detours") to ethereal folk rock("Free")."
- Kristin Feeley for www.fmsound.org
Raven has landed on the New York scene after a long stint in Los Angeles, which included film school, writing scripts, developing scripts and directing films. She has been steadily making her way through the New York bar and club scene maze, honing her unique bluesy, acoustic folk rock style along the way. Her first CD gives us a sampling of five of original tunes: "Can't Resist It,"(rock), "Going Home" (ballad), "Television Dreams"(ballad), "Necessary Detours" (blues), "Free" (ballad).As a child growing up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Raven was greatly influenced by the sounds of the late 60's and early 70's heard on the AM and FM dials. She has always been partial to musical tales of tragedy with an American Gothic flavor which naturally lends itself to an underlying blues-style, evident in many of her songs.
Raven has her parents to thank for her storytelling skills and her Southern influences - both of sides of the family have roots below the Mason-Dixon line. Otherwise, she has been directly influenced by an eclectic slate of artists, ranging from the Beatles, Jefferson Airplane, U2, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, and Etta James to Sarah McLachlan, Cowboy Junkies, Bonnie Raitt, PJ Harvey and Mary Chapin Carpenter.
Though basically a solo act, she frequently performs with guest musicians and singers and was formerly a rhythm guitarist for a blues band in Los Angeles and a rock band in the Philadephia area. Raven currently performs in the New York Metro area.
Reviewer: Mary Elizabeth
Amazing diversity. Raven shows in her self-titled debut album how real music is not about genre, but sincerity, poetry, sensitivity and drawing on all influences. "Necessary Detours" has great, on tagret, concise blues lyrics and "Televison Dreams" comes back at you with wonderfully melancholic music and rich, original, poetic words. Great Buy.
Raven Sadhaka Seltzer is not ashamed to admit
her age. At 40 years old, after having moved from Philadelphia
to California to New York and finally to Boston, after
completing a bachelor's degree in Russian language and
literature and a master's degree in film production, and after
having embarked on several careers including roles as a
screenwriter, entertainment paralegal and story
analyst/development executive, she has found a certain rhythm
with the work that she has loved all along -- playing the guitar
and singing her songs.
"I have lived a lot of lives," she said, laughing. "But in retrospect, I learned a lot and got a lot out of it."
Raven Sadhaka (she dropped Seltzer when she began promoting her music), moved to West Roxbury from New York last June. Since the move, she has established a name for herself by participating in various open mic events at local bars and coffeehouses like the Midway Cafe in Jamaica Plain and Salon Sunday in Hyde Park. She plays at 8 PM this Saturday at the Nameless Coffeehouse in Cambridge.
"I feel like this is a kind of another career that I am starting. For a while, I was in a kind of denial, because there was his feeling of pressure to have the more practical job," Sadhaka said. "I love this, though... I can't believe I didn't start it earlier."
"I think many people get to a point in their lives and feel they can't start anything new," she added. "But it's never too late. You enver know what's going to happen."
It is a lesson Sadhaka realized by chance one afternoon when she was living in New York City.
"New York was where everything came together," Sadhaka said.
After moving from California, where she worked as an entertainment paralegal to help pay her tuitioin at the University of Southern California, Sadhaka spent time with New York companies Viacom and Showtime, working on contract law and licensing agreements. She also provided story-consulting services to fiction writers and continued to work on her screenplays, something she had continued since obtaining her master's degree.
Then one summer afternoon in 1999 she wandered into Washington Square Park.
"There is this big fountain int he middle, where all of these musicians hang out, and they just jam together," Sadhaka remembered. "And I just went up to them and started singing along."
It wasn't long before her presence there became a regular occurrence.
"I ended up being out there every weekend for six and eight hours at a time," she said. "They found out that I played guitar and so I started bringing that along too."
It was enough to remind Sadhaka of how much she had always enjoyed this music.
"I said, "This is great. Why don't I start doing this again?" she recalled thinking. The sudden realization in 1999 echoes the way that Sadhaka first discovered her passion for music. She was 13 and had received a guitar for her birthday and decided to teach herself how to play.
"I used a book and started teaching myself the chords," she said. "I went through a cuople books like that, and I sort of just added on as I went along."
"It was great fun and I realized I was actually quite good at it," she added.
It has become a part of her life's work int he past five years, the most recent of which were spent playing in the neighborhood venues of Boston. Having already launced a demo Cd in 2001, and her first professional CD, "Rites of Passage", last year, Sadhaka has spent some of her time touring, going back to places like California and New York to promote her songs.
She has also, however, worked to establish a base in Boston, senidng out demo CDs and performing at local venues as much as possible.
"The fall was kind of quiet because I was still trying to get to know everyone, and get everyone to know me," Sadhaka said. "But I've managed to start working with people within the community and it's really been going well."
IN addition to permformaing at local bars and coffeehouses, Sadhaka also helps other mucicians record demo CDs under her record label, Smartbird music.
Sadhaka carries copies of "Rites of Passage," which consists of ballads, blues and rock songs, to many of her local performances. Speaking of the album she noted, "it was a whole new part of the journey, you could say." The title of the collection came after looking at all of her chosen songs and thinking about what they meant to her, she said.
"Basically, it is that I feel like I am a
storyteller, and that sort of stretches across everything, from
my screenwriting to my music," she said. "Every song, even
though they tend ot be quite different form one another, they
all tend to represent some sort of rite of passage, both for the
characters and for me."
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