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Spiritual songstress: Malia performs at St. Joseph’s

Malia will perform at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center, 410 South Church St., Grass Valley, with special after show guests Dakini Star and DJ Delphi of the Goddess Alchemy Project.

Tickets are $20 advance, $25 at the door and are availanle through http://www.brownpapertickets.com, at the BriarPatch Co-op and the Cultural Center office. Call 530-272-4725 for information.

For more information on Malia, go to http://www.tinamalia.com.

Just try pigeonholing Tina Malia.

A quick perusal of her oeuvre finds her performing an old Leadbelly tune with Kenny Loggins. Chanting mantras with Jai Uttal. Playing the guitar and singing a love song in Spanish.

In a video for her new album, Malia is swathed in a couture ball gown and sounding every inch the electro-pop chanteuse.



The multi-instrumentalist’s catalog is unusually diverse, leading her into styles as wide-ranging as pop to world devotional to electronic.

Malia, who will be performing at St. Joseph’s Cultural Center in Grass Valley Oct. 19, promises to put on a show that will span the gamut of her work.




“I’ll be coming with my four-piece band,” she said. “I will be playing acoustic, I’m really mixing and fusing a couple of different styles right now, a little more pop electronica, while my other albums were more acoustic. But I want my fans to know I still want to play them their favorite songs — it will be an eclectic mix.”

As a child, Malia was tutored in classical piano and voice by her mother, a concert pianist and opera singer.

Her father bought her a guitar when she was 14 or 15, and she began listening to “everybody to Ani DiFranco to Joni Mitchell, every female icon in between that you can think of who picked up a guitar,” she said. “It got me through my teenage years … Those female icons, they were my teachers. Any woman with a beautiful or interesting voice — they all have a unique way of putting together music. I just soaked it up like a sponge.”

But Malia found herself venturing ever further through various styles of music.

“My love of music is so expansive,” she said. “My favorite singer in world is Allison Krauss. I love bluegrass, folk, electronic — all kinds of world music.

“I love Justin Timberlake,” she added with a laugh.

Malia’s self-produced debut album, “Shores of Avalon,” appeared in 2000, and was steeped in Celtic, Pagan and Native American lore. Not long after the album’s release, Malia met pioneering world devotional artist Jai Uttal, who recruited her to sing in his ensemble, the Pagan Love Orchestra. It was through Uttal that Malia had her introduction to the rich spiritual tradition of Sanskrit mantra chanting.

Malia’s 2005 album, “Jaya Bhagavan,” fused Afro-Caribbean rhythms and world/folk textures with Indian musical traditions. It was followed in 2006 by “The Silent Awakening,” more of a pop singer-songwriter disc. In her newest offering, “The Lost Frontier,” Malia weaves flavors of pop, world and electronic music together.

For Malia, the common thread in these eclectic explorations is what she calls “soul depth.”

“There’s a depth of soul that I really love in different kinds of devotional music,” Malia explained. “These days, I’m playing music I’ve written myself. I’m not doing as much of the sacred world music as I used to … I try to incorporate that into my own music that I write.

“I love the healing qualities of music,” she continued. “It can just be about music that makes you feel good or makes you move. Music has many different levels of healing, but I like to listen for that reason, and, therefore, I like to create music for that reason — its ability to lift us out of the normal humdrum of life. Music for me, personally, music is the way that happens.”

To contact City Editor Liz Kellar, email lkellar@theunion.com or call 530-477-4229.


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