Womens Musicians Network Concert

Mitzi Dorbu
March 2, 2010
Jenna Bollard
Rachel Borovik
Julgi Kang
Tais Alvarenga
Nadia Washington
Lisa Forkish
Karien De Waal
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist
Photo provided by the artist

Female Berklee students from countries around the world—including Russia, South Korea, the United States, Brazil, and South Africa—will showcase their formidable songwriting, arranging, performing, and producing skills at the 13th annual Berklee Women Musicians Network (WMN) concert, Thursday, March 4. The show features 12 exciting and diverse acts across a wide spectrum of genres, including fusion jazz, world, funk, Brazilian, country, rock, and r&b.

This year’s concert features a special music medley from guest artist City Music Voices of Mercy. City Music is a nonprofit Berklee education program that uses contemporary music to reach underserved 4th- to 12th-graders. Voices of Mercy is an ever-evolving, diverse collection of Berklee students, faculty, staff, and alumni. The group was originally created to perform songs from the CD We Are All Connected: Berklee College of Music Reaches Out to the Women of Darfur, produced by the Berklee community to raise awareness of the plight of women and children affected by the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Darfur. Together the two make City Music Voices of Mercy.

The Women Musicians Network concert is $10, all ages, and begins at 8:15 p.m., at the Berklee Performance Center, located at 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston, MA. Call 617 747-2261 or visit berkleebpc.com for more information. 

The concert shines a spotlight on female musicians, bandleaders, composers, and sound engineers, but not to the exclusion of men.  Says associate professor Lucy Holstedt, “If a woman is leading a band that also has guys, terrific. This show is about inclusion. The bottom line is great music.”

WMN, under the direction of Holstedt and voice instructor Christiane Karam, is the only annual concert at the Berklee Performance Center presented by a student club. In addition, City Music Voices of Mercy performers include Tais Alvarenga, Hannah Barakat, Sonia Belousova, Jenna Bollard, Rachel Borovik, Lisa Forkish, Karien DeWaal with Ayumi Ueda and Women of the World ensemble, Julgi Kang Jill Peacock, Ann Driscoll and Mrs. Danvers, Aslihan Niksarli, and Kata Kozma.

About the artists
Jenna Bollard is a 20-year old singer/songwriter from Connecticut currently studying music therapy. Jenna hopes that her songs have a positive affect on listeners and makes music with the goal of making a positive impact on the world. Bollard has not yet defined her musical style, preferring to explore genres ranging from blues to soul to pop, jazz, and folk.

Sonya Belousova is a 19-year-old Russian composer and pianist, who has won international contests in both arenas and the most prestigious award offered by the Russian Ministry of Culture. Since the age of 7, she has performed consistently in the largest performance halls in St. Petersburg and Moscow. Miss Belousova’s individual style is a synthesis of Russian national traditions with contemporary techniques.

Singer/songwriter/pianist, Rachel Borovik is a 19-year-old graduate of Interlochen Arts Academy currently studying voice and piano, and dedicated to connecting with others through music. Borovik headlined and produced her own show at the Traverse C Michigan. In the summer of 2009, she and select Interlochen alumni toured the Midwest and recorded live sessions for NPR and IPR once a week with guest artists such as jazz pianist Bob James.

Julgi Kang was born in Jinju, South Korea, to a musical family. She began playing violin and studied classically at age 6 and at 10 started winning first place prizes on a regular basis at competitions. Kang was accepted to Berklee on a full scholarship. Her most recent performance was the first movement of a double violin concerto with famed fiddle player and violinist Mark O’Connor.

Jill Peacock was born in Toronto, Canada. She started music lessons at age 8 and became an associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in piano performance at age 19. After high school, she pursued literature and later moved to Japan to teach English. While there, she applied and was accepted to Berklee College of Music. Since being at Berklee, she has been able to hone her craft as a songwriter and developed a love and fascination with world music.

Music has always been a major part of Tais  Alvarenga’s life. She agrees with Beethoven’s comment that music is the voice of God talking to us. In her native Brazil she worked as a professional actress as well as a singer, dancer, percussionist, director, and production assistant. The artists she’s met in her professional career have helped her understand the connections between music and other arts, such as theater, dance, and painting.

Dallas, Texas, native Nadia Washington is a 21-year-old jazz vocalist attending Berklee on full scholarship and is the recipient of many other awards. She has made a mark on both United States coasts, playing notable clubs. Washington has appeared as a guest vocalist for notable festivals and events, recorded several regional and national jingles and commercials with clients such as Frito Lay and McDonalds and worked with Destiny's Child, Terence Blanchard, and others.

Hanna Barakat is a 20-year-old first-generation Lebanese-American. Her passion about her Lebanese heritage led her to spend last summer on a trek around Lebanon to immerse herself in the culture, language, and most importantly, the music. While at Berklee she has focused on incorporating Middle Eastern aspects into her musical style.

Singer-Composer Lisa Forkish is originally from Eugene, Oregon. She spent four years as a vocalist, music director, and arranger for the University of Oregon’s internationally acclaimed women’s a cappella group, Divisi. In 2009, Forkish won Portland Songwriter’s Association’s Performing Songwriter of the Year award. She is preparing to release her second record, an EP With Her Heart In Her Mouth.

Ann Driscoll is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Cincinnati who produces and plays all the instruments on her recordings. A passionate political activist, Driscoll wrote, recorded, and edited a music video for Vic Wulsin, an Ohio Democrat who ran for Congress in 2008. The YouTube ad garnered significant media attention in Ohio. Her songs “Novelty” and “I Need a Reason” are mainstays on the iLike charts of “fastest spreading songs by unsigned artists.”

Karien De waal was born in Cape Town, South Africa, and grew up in Johannesburg. Her mother was a classical pianist and teacher and her father played guitar and was a race driver. She started playing piano at an early age and took up playing bass at age 16. After completing a degree in marketing and advertising, she returned to studying music and is a dual major in contemporary writing and production and film scoring.

Women of the World, founded by Ayumi Ueda, is an ensemble of exceptional women from all over the world. These singers create rich tapestries of culture and sound as they perform both original and traditional songs. "They are the living and vibrant proof that the people of the world can play, sing, and work together in love and peace," said Larry Bethune, Berklee vice president for student affairs/dean of students.