Bay Area musician brings ethereal sound to NC house concert |

Bay Area musician brings ethereal sound to NC house concert

Irina Rivkin walks onto the stage — small and so unassuming that she almost seems shy, but for her easy smile and banter. She grabs two microphones and stands in front of a peculiar electronic gizmo with pedals and sings a pretty tune in a pretty voice. So far so good. She taps a pedal to finish the live loop recording and adds a catchy, vocal percussion riff. Then she sings along with both, adding harmonies. On top of that, she layers more clear, pitch-perfect vocals. Rivkin’s lyrics are poetic, powerful. Her music is multi-layered, complex, both ethereal and earthy; sometimes catchy, often heartbreakingly beautiful.

This is OutMusic awardee Irina Rivkin, who, according to the SF Chronicle, “. . . performs her own breathtaking act as a ‘live one-woman choir,’ using digital looping technology to astonishing effect.”

By day, she works in the Bay Area helping people climb out of poverty, guiding them through mazes of education, social services, and careers. In her free time, she makes music the likes of which most people have never heard. It’s a wonder to watch this music created on the spot: nothing but Rivkin’s voice, a digital recording device called a “loop station” and, sometimes, her exquisite keyboards.

This Saturday, Rivkin will be play a benefit dinner/house concert in Nevada City with guest appearances by singer-songwriter Diane Miessler and local band Purdon’s Crossing (“Fine Music Without the Dignity”). Dinner at 6 p.m. will include fettuccini alfredo with seasonal vegetables and salad. Dessert, coffee and music begins at 7 p.m.

There is a suggested donation of $10-20; proceeds beyond travel expenses go to Calworks, a poverty-to-employment program.

For information, directions, and reservations, call (530) 263-3423. For information about Rivkin, visit

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