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Amy's Angels
by Haven James

Artist: Amy Fradon & A Flock of Angels

Just last week we spoke of the re-emergence of one half of the Amy & Leslie duo appearing in Rosendale and here we are back with news of Amy Fradon and a new group booked for this weekend in Kingston. A bit of a different twist this time, Amy Fradon, Katie Taylor & A Flock of Angels will perform in concert a capella at the Deep Listening Space Friday evening at 8 P.M.

"It's a group, it's not my group," says Amy but clearly much of the motivation to undertake an a capella venture rests with Fradon. Referring to her lengthy partnership with Leslie Ritter, Fradon reflected, "My favorite stuff that Leslie and I ever did is when we would just sing together, we did a capella pieces in our show and that was always the highlight for me in the show." Previous to that era, Amy sang with the Phantoms and did a capella doo-wop stuff. All of this has led her to the unequivocal statement, "I love the voice unaccompanied... It's so powerful."

As of late, Amy has explored vocal spaces with a variety of female singers and has discovered a particular synchronisity with Katie Taylor. "We started singing together which sort of lit a fire under both of us." Both Sarah Kramer Harrison and Ilfra Holly have been singing with Fradon in her band for some time and two of her students, fifteen year old Amanda Rothenberg and Russian born Mourka have recently joined in to complete the Flock of Angels.

"We're young, it's our first time out," Fradon explains but qualifies, "We span the ages," both in years and dimensionally in terms of the material. "It's got a lot of variety in it; kind of my favorite thing you know, variety, I get so bored with homogeny." Amy smiled and continued, "I would say that it has a spiritual/political bent to it, our music. There's some traditional kind of gospel stuff, some hymns, Ilfra is deeply involved with the Lakota and will be singing a couple of pieces in that language [and] Mourka is Russian so we do a Russian piece." They'll also do one in Bulgarian, some Celtic flavor stuff and traditional Old English, and, the group is doing some original material.

Mostly written by Amy and Katie, Fradon commented, "Original music is a lot harder to get together." There will be a few performed this Friday with more in the works for the next time. And, there will be a few tunes with "mild instrumentation" as she put it. "We have a couple of pieces, Katie plays a recorder, Ilsa plays harp, and I play the guitar, just a few little appearances of instruments."

This whole vocal thing stretches a lot deeper for Amy Fradon than simply performing. She has evolved what she calls Transformational Workshops dealing with the voice as a method of healing and self-realization. Pressed to explain she responded, "[They're] like so many other workshops that are out there about self-discovery and going to very deep emotional places, the only difference is that I use the voice to get there so its like a vehicle to find your "voice", and I put /voice/ in quotes; finding who you are through using your voice, and that's how I work with people." She does both individual and group sessions and has just begun a year ling training program. "I really love teaching more than I do singing, singing has been a pathway for me... My voice has taken me to so many amazing places in my life, I keep being amazed where I find myself because of it."

All this considered, an a capella venue is perfect for Fradon. She confirms, "A lot of people are afraid to do that but I feel more fearful when I sing with musicians than when I sing alone." Alone and with sister singers, Amy Fradon, Katie Taylor & A Flock of Angels will be at 69 Broadway at the Deep Listening Space for your enlightenment and pleasure.

Haven James has been a consistent contributor to the Music & Arts scene around the Hudson Valley and beyond for almost a decade through his column, Werewolves of Woodstock, published weekly in the Woodstock Times

A writer, musician, philanthropist, and Mac addict; he lives reclusively, high atop Overlook Mountain with his son and a menagerie of animals, both wild and domesticated. Though currently unmarried, rumors abound as to his intimate relationships with Madonna, Sandra Bernhardt, and Eli Bach; though he insists these notions to be pure hearsay. His identity has remained a mystery to all but the closest of friends as he often travels in disguise and appears unannounced and undercover at concerts and venues in a dedicated effort to get the real story.

Go to the Werewolves of Woodstock page for more articles by Haven James.
Haven James can be contacted at

Posted on May 29, 1998

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