Charming Hostess


About Charming Hostess
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-- Listen to KQED review by Steve Hochman
or read the transcript...

-- SF Bay Guardian review by Caitlin Donohue

-- ZEEK review by Joanna Steinhardt

-- SF Chronicle architectural review by John King

-- Vox Tablet podcast by Julie Subrin

-- Habitus interview by Michael Berk


Trilectic is an album to file between Meredith Monk and Sweet Honey In The Rock. That's some space to occupy, but New Yorker Jewlia Eisenberg, now based in Oakland, California, covers a lot off stylistic ground, fronting the a cappella outfit Charming Hostess in a dazzling display of vocal agility, wit, emotional flexibility, and imaginative depth.
-- The Wire UK

Jewlia Eisenberg’s work is irreverent and ambitious. Charming Hostess radiates female energy and her singing transforms the spirit.
-- The San Francisco Chronicle

Jewlia Eisenberg unleashes music brilliantly conceived and performed…The sound of these powerful voices coming together is truly uplifting and even implicitly political.
-- San Francisco Bay Guardian

The songs on Jewlia Eisenberg’s album, “Trilectic,” are blithe and frisky. She sets lyrics about politics, jealousy and pizza to a world of styles, from klezmer to pygmy-style counterpoint, humanizing a great thinker while having plenty of fun.
-- New York Times

Jewlia Eisenberg’s new record, “Trilectic,” kicks brainiac ass.
-- Village Voice

Eisenberg’s songs are hilarious and touching, and they run the gamut from hard-edged and powerful to sweet and soulful.
-- New Yorker

Charming Hostess is the finest anarchist-feminist-polyphonic-polyrhythmic-polymorphously perverse-balkan-blue-ish-Jewish-freak-funk-punk band working in America today. Their live shows are as fabulous and eccentric as their music.
-- Los Angeles Weekly

Charming Hostess makes music like no other... Thrown in with lively North African wedding songs and Eastern European folk songs are originals that display a proudly feminist, radical-Jewish, pro-sex sensibility. The blend lets listeners discover whether they can think and dance a the same time.
-- The New York Times


Thoroughly delightful...Ethereal melodies shift elegantly with precise rhythmic accompaniment, and the overall effect encourages an urge to dance and drink vodka.
-- The New Yorker



Reviews & Interviews

BBC's The World
- by Benjamin Temchine

"The subject of today's Global Hit is a trio of women who call themselves "Charming Hostess." The name summons up a particular image -- proper, oh-so-refined, and careful not to ruffle any feathers. That's not exactly the way you'd describe Charming Hostess. They're sensual, they're smart, and they're radical... ( listen read )


The New Yorker
The Bay Area vocal trio Charming Hostess has a sublime new record, “"Sarajevo Blues",” that's a joint effort between the bandleader Jewlia Eisenberg and the Sarajevan exile poet Semezdin Mehmedinovic. It fuses Mehmedinovic's funny and bitter verse ("Death Is a Job"” concerns war photographers) and Eisenberg's intricate, pan-ethnic vocal harmonies, which career from Sufi to Motown to Sephardic.

SF Chronicle-
San Francisco- Andrew Gillbert

The brainchild of Jewlia Eisenberg, Charming Hostess has evolved from an art-rock big band into an all-female vocal trio with a dazzling diverse palette of influences drawn from the Jewish and African diasporas, with Andalusian cadences and Pygmy polyphony thrown in. . . the music pulses with so much life and soul...

New York Observer
- by Joseph Hooper

" From Ms. Monk, Ms. Eisenberg inherits a disregard for song conventions and an ear for the priestessy, other worldly sound of the trained soprano voice. But whereas Ms. Monk, the good Buddhist, is all about moving beyond words and ideas to get at some core essence, Ms. Eisenberg can't get enough of talking and thinking; she's practically drunk with feminism, Jewish consciousness, left-wing intellectual history...

Boston Phoenix
- by Jon Garelick

Jewlia Eisenberg says that when she visited Eastern Europe to document women’s folk music in Bulgaria and Romania, "I realized I didn’t want to be an ethnomusicologist; I wanted to be a rock star." In fact, this vocalist and composer became a bit of both by founding Charming Hostess...

"At the 23rd annual Festival International de Musique Actuelle, Charming Hostess did exactly what their name implies. . . ( read more read more )
-- Montreal Gazette covers Charming Hostess at the Festival of New Music in Victo.

Tucson Weekly
- by Gene Armstrong

Straight outta Oakland, the three brainy, sexy and musically adventurous women who comprise the band Charming Hostess want us to feel welcome in their universe. Chilling harmonies, sensual rhythms and radical politics orbit the group's center, which...

Expose - by Mike Grimes
Cover story on the "Charming Hostess Tale" from "Eat" to "Sarajevo Blues" and "Punch" it's all laid out in "Sarajevo Punch". As Mike writes "Many songs interlace intricate and complex 3-part vocal harmonies often related to each other in ways that would surely shock your average college harmony-voicing instructor. The tunes are at times soothing and at times downright frightening." A must-read for the Charming Hostess history buff. Also in same Expose issue, a review of "Punch" by Mike Grimes: From whispery quiet to in-your-face loud, the lyrics and music both have a wide dynamic range. With elements of klezmer, Balkan,punk rock, country, and more in their music, Charming Hostess doesn't really sound like anyone else. "Punch" kicks.

New York Press
- by Molly Sheridan

Eisenberg pushes harder, musically and intellectually...her reading of the Bosnian poet Semezdin Mehmedinovic's portrayal of life during wartime in Sarajevo Blues became the focus of Charming Hostess's most recent release ...

The Forward
- by Seth Rogovoy

On Charming Hostess's new recording, "Sarajevo Blues," a capella girl-group harmonies blend with hip-hop beat-box techniques and Bosnian war poetry... a dizzying cosmopolitanism, an engagement with contemporary culture and politics, and indisputably Jewish outlooks and melodies...


Downtown Music Gallery - New York - Red Pocket's Thick
Second superb Tzadik release from that fabulous & feisty Charming Hostess singer/composer/bassist Jewlia Eisenberg with 2 Foot Yard's cello wonder Marika Hughes also singing and Nels Cline's Singers drum wiz Scott Amendola on percussion and electronics. Both listening to Charming Hostess and Jewlia's 'Trilectic' (Tzadik) releases on cd and in concert have shown us just how immensely talented and strangely charming Jewlia and her friends can be. Her new trio Red Pocket once again an infectious blend of wickedly incisive and hilarious lyrics...


Boston Phoenix - by Douglas Wolk
"Jewlia Eisenberg is a straight-up nerd and proud of it. The heart of her recent Trilectic (Tzadik) is the kickiest a cappella song cycle ever written about early-20th-century radical Marxist philosophers. It had its origin on, of course, a bookshelf. "I was browsing through a friend's library," she recalls...

Klezmer Shack
- Sarajevo Blues

If Zap Mama included Jewish and Balkan musical influences in their repertoire they'd probably sound almost as good as Charming Hostess. But that would just be the sound. Try to imagine Zap Mama's material if their song selection criteria included a desire to match voice to unconventional song texts to convey poetry and prose to the ear. Sounds intellectual and intimidating, especially when you consider...

Klezmer Shack
- Trilectic

"Trilectic is an amazing and interesting album. I was already a fan of Eisenberg's work in the Charming Hostess, but here she takes vocal traditions and history and weaves something uniquely worth listening to. Imagine...

Also, RealAudio Clips of EAT

Speaking Freely
- KQED interview

"A transplanted New Yorker, Jewlia Eisenberg and her band Charming Hostess have captured the attention...

Salon Review
- by Douglas Wolk

" You couldn't invent a band more conceptually busy than the Oakland, Calif., group Charming Hostess if you tried. The short version is...

East Bay Express
- by Katy St. Clair

"Now John Zorn's label, Tzadik, has released Eisenberg's solo effort, Trilectic, as part of its Radical Jewish Culture series. The record is a sweeping romp through many genres: doo-wop, prison work songs, Ituri Pygmy chants, and a variety of female vocal traditions...

Boston Herald
- by Bob Young

"It's not every band that inspires its audience to shout out for songs about esoteric political theories or Eastern European poetry. But not every band is like Charming Hostess . . .

Beyond The Chron
's E Doc Smith writes on Red Pocket & Charming Hostess. Jewish Journal of LA "Punk Princesses: Jews with Attitude" by George Robinson.

International Press

Bosnian Weekly "Dani"

Review of Sarajevo Blues by Eldin Hadzovic and article by Semezdin Mehmedinovic. Translated into English by Sanja.

The Wire
- by Julian Cowley

"Trilectic" is an album to file between Meredith Monk and Sweet Honey In The Rock. That's some space to occupy, but
New Yorker Jewlia Eisenberg, now based in Oakland, California, covers a lot off stylistic ground, fronting the a cappella outfit Charming Hostess in a dazzling display of vocal agility, wit, emotional flexibility, and...

The Prague Post
- by Kristina Alda

The band, which released a new album this year titled Sarajevo Blues, incorporates Jewish, African and Balkan musical influences, using vocals along with vocal percussion. Eisenberg, who has studied musical ethnology and traveled extensively throughout Eastern and Central Europe, says she's really looking forward to visiting Boskovice. "I'm inspired and moved by the fact that Jewish cultural preservation in Boskovice was sustained by both Jewish and non-Jewish people"...

- by Gidi Avivi

"Meet Jewlia Eisenberg, the leader of the Charming Hostess band, and a unique creative presence in the American- and world- music community. It's hard to compete with her eay ability to blend so many musical influences into a personal style...

Musica Jazz
- by Alessandro Achilli

"Anche in «Sarajevo Blues» la musica è costruita su poesie, benché le squisite armonie vocali delle Charming Hostess siano così trascinanti che potrebbero tranquillamente fare a meno della parola...

Jerusalem Post 3.1.04


Copyright 2006 Charming Hostess

Last updated February 7, 2013 Charming Hostess