She may be a
local talent, but Chava Mirel is aspiring toward an
international music career that will share her Northwest and
Jewish roots with the world.
celebrating the release of her first solo acoustic
album, Journey, recorded and mastered at Glenn Sound
in Seattle. The mix of original music, pop and jazz
standards, Latin tunes and Hebrew prayers sung to her
original music is dedicated to Temple Bnai Torah in
Bellevue and the students at the Jewish Day School in
Bellevue where she once taught.
Mirel sees it as
an opportunity to thank all the people who have made it
possible for her to pursue her dreams.
I really made
the CD for the congregants of Bnai Torah, because those
people have been so supportive of me, said Mirel in an
interview with JTNews from her home in Westchester
County, N.Y. Mirel was living in Manhattan for the last
myself from the communities that have supported me so much,
she said. This is a way that I can communicate with them in
my own way so they can see what Im doing with my life.
Mirel is a born
singer, according to her parents, Rabbi James Mirel, head
rabbi at Temple Bnai Torah in Bellevue and Julie Mirel, a
mezzo-soprano whose national career includes opera,
symphony, cabaret, musical theatre and Jewish music.
She calls her
style eclectic, warm, enveloping, calming, spiritual and
rhythmic. Her vocal style is reminiscent of Lauryn Hill,
Ricky Lee Jones, Joni Mitchell and Billie Holliday. A cover
of The Girl From Ipanema is delivered in impeccable
Portuguese, and a traditional Sephardic song, Adio
Queirida, is sung with all the depth intended in its
beautiful Ladino lyric.
My mission in
life is to soothe and relax people, said Mirel.
In addition to
Jewish and pop music, Mirel also performs and records
reggae-style material for Caribbean audiences in Jamaica
the U.S. Her newly released single just started getting
radio play on a Caribbean station in New York.
gotten involved in the reggae music scene, she said. I
have a Jamaican producer and Ive released a single in
Jamaica called Eyes of Jah on the Freedom Sounds label.
Its also being played in England and Japan.
Mirel has already
done two European tours and she says she would like to do
more touring. She also wants to do more recording with her
Jamaican producer and eventually produce a full album of
singer/songwriter can be seen performing live on the
Internet by going to Punkcast.com to view a video of one of
her shows. Just type in Chava Mirel or Dr. Ava.
Those are the
songs that Ive been performing in New York, said Mirel.
Its really hard to write a song without getting an
This album has
been a long time in coming. Mirel wrote the music for two
songs on the CD nearly 11 years ago. Fading, a soulful
take on loneliness, was written when she was 17. Looking
For Love, a facing the world out on your own sort of
lyric, was written when she was in Israel.
When TBT needed a
new melody to the Hebrew prayer, Maariv Aravim,
Mirel wrote it for them. She also wrote the music for the
Hebrew prayer Vayivra Elohim. Both are included on
industry doesnt really produce albums like this anymore
direct into the tape recorder, no dubs and when its done
its done, said Mirels Seattle producer, studio engineer
and owner of Glenn Sound, Glenn Lorbecki.
When I heard her
original songs and the way she put it together, I thought,
this is really unique. She draws you in. These are really
an engaging songs.
Mirel has been
performing since she was one-and-a-half years old. The now
28-year-old studied classical piano at the age of six, began
writing songs on the piano at the age of 11 and learned to
play the guitar at 13.
the California Institute of the Arts, where she studied jazz
piano, Latin jazz and composition, Mirel decided to trade in
the West Coast for the East.
memories of the family playing music together throughout her
childhood are imprinted deeply in her soul. Whether it was
with her fathers klezmer band in the living room or her
mother singing her an aria at bedtime, Mirel soon realized
how special that was once she struck out on her own.
It was obvious
from the very beginning that music was a huge part of her
life, said Julie Mirel, who is not only Chavas mother, but
her executive producer and art director as well. I knew
something was up when she was three years old, in the car,
and a song came on and she said, Mom, do you want me to
sing harmony or melody?
That was the
first time she realized her daughter might follow her
example and become an artist and performer.
I think I would
be very proud of her, said Julie Mirel, but I see the
dangers of being on the road and losing yourself in
performing everyday. But when people are driven to perform
In New York,
Chava also works as a movement and music teacher at Temple
Israel on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. She offers her
songwriting talents to families who are having a special
event and want a to capture the memory in music.
The Jewish part
of her life has always been nicely intertwined, said her
father, Rabbi Mirel. She loved music from day one. She just
came out singing and people should always follow their