Emmy Raviv is the kind of person who can cause a room to hush simply by being quiet, not loud. She is a gentle spirit, and when people hear her soft soprano cooing they bend their ears to listen. I have heard each one of these songs live a hundred times, in many different settings. Her meandering melodies, sentimental poetry and pleasantly pensive guitar always remind me of Joni Mitchell, with hints of Feist and Natalie Merchant.
Raviv is one of a few people that I almost had a band with. We learned each other's songs, played a few gigs together, had a great time singing harmonies together on old jazz standards... and then that was that. I wish that she still lived in this country, but alas, Emmy Raviv has moved away to Israel, where she's studying opera. You're only chance of catching her on this continent is maybe in the summertime in Maine, and even then, she is elusive. But she left us this recording of some of her original songs.
If you're lucky enough to catch her at the Burdock Gathering, don't bother singing along at the fire; Raviv keeps you guessing and she may never sing one of her songs the same way twice. Each performance is an exploration, a new discovery. I think people sense this and that is why they listen so intently with held breath; Raviv can quiet the crowd just as easily around a campfire, at a cool cafe or a busy bar. I can only imagine what she will do with her incredible voice after several years of classical operatic training!
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Peter Hazen is a writer & musician from New York State. He lives and works in Portland, Maine.