Bio

erika may, the jazzy gypsy mama / featuring – vocals, flute, & cello

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Musical Work Experience:

erika may’s first gig was on the cello at eight years old. The performance, solo cello with an ensemble of violins, was for the King of Norway!

erika may and her cello
erika may and her cello

Plus she grew up performing in the family orchestra. Her mother, a professional violinist, arranged hymns and classical pieces for the family to perform. Concerts (gig) were at churches, on an ocean liner, and in private homes.

The Randolph Players
The Randolph Players on the Ocean Liner

A highlight of her career was performing Bach’s ‘Mass in B Minor’ with the St Louis Symphony Orchestra under Hans Vonk, and Goehr’s opera ‘Arrianna’ with the St. Louis Opera Theater directed by David Loebel.

It’ always fun to jam out on the blues. On this gig, erika may joins the MudCats on their set at the Silver City blues Festival.

erika may performs with the MudCats at the Silver City Blues Fest
erika may gigs with the MudCats at the Silver City Blues Fest

Missouri:

During a recent extended stay in Missouri, erika may completed an artist in residency for the Steelville, MO Arts Council culminating in a performance featuring original songs written for voice, cello, and flute with belly dance as well as Astor Piazzolla’s Tango Etudes for Solo Flute.

erika may and Salwa
erika may and Salwa

During her stay in Missouri, erika may went into the recording studio with Bliss Hippy, adding flute to several tracks on their cd “Buddha Face” as well as performing with them at The Squirrels Winery, Focal Point, and for the cd release party.

She also performed with the Farshid Etniko band –  Autumn Leaves in concert at the Chapel in St. Louis, Aalim Dance Company, Jamie Zane Smith, guitarists Tim Fisher, Randy Bahr, Tom Byrne, Carol Eder, and more, at concert venues, wineries, restaurants, clubs, and private parties. check out this video: Well You Needn’t flute and guitar duo with Tim Fisher.

erika may and Farshid sound checking at Gallery Zeke in Steelville, MO
erika may and Farshid sound checking for the gig at Gallery Zeke in Steelville, MO

Favorites:

It’s with great pleasure that erika may performs with great friends and musicians. Carol Eder, jazz guitarist, Farshid Soltanshahi, a middle-eastern latin jazz guitarist. She performed for many years with Zambra, a Sephardic band led by her wonderful friend Rabbi James Stone Goodman, listen to “Yom Zeh”. Performing with The Speckled Band, a fun and danceable English Country Dance band fronted with the inimitable Paul Stammler, brought a love of Celtic music.  While living in Santa Fe, she performed as a duo with classical guitarist Javier Padial. Romps through jazz standards with the Tina Jones Trio and erika may’s own jazz quartet, Rouged. She often performed with Juliane Horvath in a classical flute – piano duo, as well as many solo and sideman gigs.

A recent side project was to perform with master herbalist and singer-songwriter Stephen Harrod Buhner (http://gaianstudies.org/Stephen.html) providing backup vocals and flute accompaniment. you can hear a sample at www.reverbnation.com/erikamay and listen to the track Summertime.

erika may w/Stephen Buhner in Nelson, Canada
erika may w/Stephen Buhner gig in Nelson, Canada

Another super fun gig was Zoe’s Birthday Party. Ken Field came from new Orleans, and we improvised while Zoe danced!

erika may w/Ken Fields and Zoe
erika may w/Ken Fields and Zoe

The tradition of making music as a family continues. The Ozark Gypsy Band includes erika may’s son Jamie Zane Smith and his wife, Colleen Rabbitt Smith. The Littles are starting to play too!

Oca plays flute
Oca plays flute
Ozark Gypsy Band
Ozark Gypsy Band gig at the Traveler’s Table

She uses her experiences and degrees to teach and taught as an Adjunct instructor at WNMU Music Department as Choir Director, taught Music Appreciation and individual voice coaching. Currently erika may provides private instruction in flute and cello.

Enjoy youtube videos, the original songs: No Goodbye, and Remembrance, the strong Tell it Like it is, and her sensitive rendition featuring flute and cello of the beautiful folk song, She Moved Through the Fair.

Discography:

Cat in a Hat: erika may – vocals / flute, Dave Black – guitar, Willem von Hombracht – bass, Paul DeMarinis – saxophone. a romp of jazz songs including three original songs.

In Billy Engel's recording studio with Dave Black, Willem von Hombracht and Paul DiMarinis
In Billy Engel’s recording studio with Dave Black, Willem von Hombracht and Paul DiMarinis

Scenes in Dreams; erika may and Friends: erika may vocals / flute, Farshid Soltanshahi – guitar, Billy Engle – side guitar, a set of heartfelt original songs.

La Luna Ladina: erika may – vocals / guitar, lovely songs from the Sephardic tradition, medieval Spanish, and the Renaissance sung in Spanish, ladino, and Latin.

erika may’s cds are on rotation at KOOT FM 88.1 in Silver City, NM.

Awards:

ACLU song competition finalist for the song “Borderland”

Independent Singer-Songwriter Association (ISSA) Honorable mention for “A Scene in your Show”

Education:

Attended Webster University of St. Louis Mo. and studied Jazz Studies with Paul DeMarinis, Flute performance with Jan Gippo and Janice Smith of the St. Louis Symphony, Voice with Pat Mankowitz of the St Louis Symphony Chorus, and obtained a Bachelors of Music degree in Jazz Studies and Flute Performance May of 2001. Obtained extensive knowledge of music theory, especially jazz theory, scoring and arranging, and music history.

Attended the Baroque Performance Institute and studied early music on recorder and voice.

She also studied with Robert Dick, the pre-eminent avant-guarde flutist, and Betsy Feldman, a noted contemporary classical flutist.

erika may studied voice with Jackie Eckgren, at the Musick Institute of Oslo while living for a year in Norway.

erika may studied cello with Mr. Gabriel Morales, former cellist with the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington DC, while living in Las Cruces, NM. and with Eilif Gunstrum in Oslo Norway.

Press:
“erika may’s tone is warm and rich, her improvisations wild and free. I’ve worked with her in contexts ranging from Baroque music to vintage dance, to jazz to street bands, and I truly believe she can sing and play anything and give it class” Paul Stamler, radio programmer KDHX, St. Louis

“Thank you for your singing and playing at my wedding, it was so special for me” – KH St. Louis

“Your music brings beauty and blesses our Christmas and Easter services” Santa Clara Catholic Church, Santa Clara NM

“strong mature vocals – the exotic “searching for the silence” is my favourite” J. E.
“I love your soulful and jazzy vocals. Great work! Much Love, K. :))”
“Great voice! Keep on doing what you’re doing!” B. A.
“Lovin’ what you’re doin’! Beautiful voice! “Highway one” grabbed me right off! Much success to you!” Z. B.
“Smooth, full-bodied, smart music loaded with style…I enjoyed listening and will be back for more! Latte love, AZW ;)” A.W.
“I love the freedom of your songs and lovely guitar and vocals. Your music creates a warm atmosphere in a class of its own. Best wishes” M-A. F.

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