You can\'t label her, pin her down, or fit her in a box. But that doesn\'t keep people from trying! Composer, improviser, chanteuse, and multimedia artist Tamara Weikel originally pursued singing as her mode of artistic expression, but while attending Seattle\'s Cornish College of the Arts, she had the opportunity to work with artists Rinde Eckert, Meredith Monk, Jay Clayton, Janice Giteck, Christian Asplund, and William Duckworth. These people encouraged her to reach into the unknown and forge her own path as a multimedia artist. She began to explore improvisation by singing with local DJs, in clubs like the Alibi Room and events like the Pangea Project series, expanding as she developed her own DJ career and traveled, and collaborating with groups like New York\'s SoulKids in the 90\'s. More recently, she has been singing free jazz and out rock with Seattle\'s Monktail Creative Music Concern related ensembles.
At Cornish College of the Arts, she continued to explore performance art and contemporary music, creating the role of Helena/Miss Branch-Hunt in the world premiere of Asplund\'s \"Floralesque\" at Seattle Experimental Opera, and creating and performing her own evening-length performance art piece called \"Semantics\". She also had the opportunity to write a piece for a reading by the Seattle Philharmonic Orchestra under the direction of Marsha Mabrey, which inspired her to seriously pursue her own composition practice and began a tempestuous love affair with orchestration, an obsession with multi-instrumentalism, and a burgeoning collection of instruments.
Meanwhile, as a pioneering female DJ, Tamara appeared at clubs, events, festivals, and on the radio all over the world for over a decade. Favorite stops include Australia, Canada, Barcelona, Paris, Prague, London, most major US cities, the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas, Red Rocks in Denver, and most frequently NYC to enthusiastic response at Kung Fu Lounge, Roulette, Galapagos, Direct Drive, Drinkland/Testpress Sundays, Liquids, Orchard Bar, La Mama, and the legendary Konkrete Jungle. She held down residencies with Uniting Souls in Seattle and Ohm Resistance in Washington DC, and as one of the original crew and a longtime resident of ORGANIC, she helped make Friday night at the Art Bar a Seattle drum and bass staple and Seattle a recognizable place to be for the international community in that genre. She currently holds a residency at the classy, classy Triple Door in Seattle.
She also appears regularly on the web, earning herself a large international following. When Groovetech opened its first internet radio station in Seattle, Tamara was invited to start a weekly show. From the first week, HEADSTRONG broadcast regularly, including live sessions from Groovetech bases in London, San Francisco, and NY. Her dedication to giving recognition to the artists who make the records she plays was manifest in a weekly playlist and e-zine with over 1000 loyal subscribers which evolved into a loyal fan base which followed her into her more esoteric musical pursuits.
Tamara was invited to join Ani Difranco and Maceo Parker on their 1999 summer tour, and in February of 2002, the Pacific NW Branch of the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences asked Tamara to host a workshop for their GRAMMY in the Schools program, teaching high school students about working in the electronic music industry.
An original member of the Cathedral Band, an experimental music group based in New York City, Tamara frequently plays live with musicians like Stuart Dempster (Deep Listening), Abel Domingues (Blondie), and \"Blue\" Gene Tyranny (the Stooges) in concert halls as well as virtual settings. Held together by the DJ, a custom-created virtual instrument called the Pitchweb, and almost magical improvisation, the group was formed in 1999 to realize in tangible space and time composer William Duckworth\'s ongoing piece for the web, CATHEDRAL. Winner of a 2001 ASCAP Deems Taylor Internet Award, the project continues to expand, and Tamara\'s tools have ranged from turntables and cd players to effects and a microphone. Encountering problems with the ethics and logistics of manipulating other people\'s intellectual property, she now mostly sticks to original works and live vocals when with the Cathedral Band. Her source material includes her own compositions, Duckworth\'s Cathedral themes, and samples gathered from live recordings of her dedicated community of improvisers. A notable exception was October\'s \'Sounds Like Now\' festival at La Mama in New York, where she drew from the sounds of the festival and included recordings from other participants, like Pauline Oliveros, Jin Hi Kim, Roscoe Mitchell, Morton Subotnick, Alvin Lucier, and many others to the delight of the performers and the audience.
With a renewed focus on composition, Tamara no longer limits her process to the pleasures of writing at the piano with pencil and paper. Excited by the technical possibilities, she has extended her palette to the utilization of computers and electronics, while maintaining her richly melodic sound and style. Her first drum and bass venture, \"Otaku\" is currently smashing things up on dubplate, with an electro remix by Volum due soon. Tamara has paired up with Brazilian jazz legend Jovino Santos Neto to remix Stravinsky\'s \"Rite of Spring\" for a Bluebird Jazz compilation, and she\'s part of the writing team behind the creation of Wu Man\'s new world music album on Naxos. Her love of organic music and improvisation, her affinity for doing not only crosswords but counterpoint with a pen, and her sampling self are all trying to meet somewhere in the luscious middle.
In 2004 she formed the chamber quartet \'The Excogitants\' and \'Tamara Weikel and the Seattle Improvisational String Orchestra\' for collaboration and performance of her acoustic compositions, enjoying large group improvisations and world premieres at places like the Coffee Messiah, Polestar Music Gallery, and Seattle Chamber Theater. Most recently, inspired partially by an impromptu session with Tyranny, cellist Loren Dempster, and Flux Quartet violinist Tom Chiu at Julliard (and partially by a couple of challenging grant applications), she has set off on a year-long project with the lofty aim of reconciling her three selves in a series of pieces for, by, around, about, and through the ISO and other improviser friends.
... Stay tuned!