Raven, acoustic rock with a dash of blues

by Jennifer Mann, Bulletin staff
published in The West Roxbury Bulletin, April 1, 2004

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 adn 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 occurence.

"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," seh 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."

Raven Sadhaka Seltzer will play at the Nameless Coffeehouse in Cambridge, April 3 at 8 PM.

Those interested in receiving further information regarding the performance of creation of a demo CD, can contact her at ravensong4@yahoo.com

Sample her music and buy her latest CD at CD Baby
More about Raven and her music

Return to Samizdat Express