Marika knew she had to play the cello when after 9 years of playing the violin, she held a cello for the first time and played the C-string; the lowest string. She was 12 and in the NYC shop of Mosa Havivi, a former student of her grandfather, the great cellist Emanuel Feuermann. That low end seduced Marika, she switched to the cello and ended her violin studies.
Growing up in NYC, Marika was exposed to a varied creative life. Her parents owned a jazz club on the Upper West Side, she was a regular on Sesame Street, was a member of New York Youth Symphony, spent summers at the chamber music camp, Greenwood, was a student at festivals in Europe and busked in NYC with her high-school string quartet. After completing her studies at Barnard College in political science and cello performance at the Juilliard School, Marika moved to San Francisco, CA.
Marika spent her early twenties serving coffee and exploring the northern coast of California, all the while playing in local symphonies. Eventually she was able to leave the service of coffee and fine dining behind and began to teach private lessons at private and public schools in the Bay Area. She also enjoyed three years as the cellist for the grammy nominated, Quartet San Francisco.
Realizing that the symphony life was not for her, Marika sought out new musicians, some from the classical tradition, some not, to expand her repertoire and ears. Marika joined Carla Kihlstedt and Shahzad Ismaily in 2 Foot Yard. The band released two CDs; 2 Foot Yard (Tzadik, 2005) and Borrowed Arms (Yard Work, 2008). She founded the band Red Pocket with Jewlia Eisenberg and they released their CD, Thick, on Tzadik’s Oracle Series. She also joined Jewlia’s a cappella trio, Charming Hostess. She is a featured singer on that band’s release, “Sarajevo Blues” (Tzadik 2005). She toured regularly throughout the United States and Europe with 2 Foot Yard and Charming Hostess. And she toured extensively with singer/songwriter Vienna Teng. Marika recorded for many artists in the Bay Area including Honeycut, Etienne de Rocher, Mr. Bungle, Xiu Xiu and Santana. She also recorded commercials and film scores.
In 2006, Marika decided it was time to come home. Since moving back to NYC, she has enjoyed playing with many local musicians she has long admired. In addition to joining NYC based bands the Neel Murgai Ensemble, Imani Uzuri and Charlie Burnham’s Hidden City she has performed with Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige and Sean Lennon and has recorded for many artists in NY including Lou Reed, Ani DiFranco, Iron and Wine, Dar Williams, Eric McPherson and Jolie Holland.
Marika has two solo CDs released in early 2011. Highlighting her stylistic versatility and virtuosity, Afterlife Music Radio – 11 New Pieces for Solo Cello (DD Records), features new works written for her by her friends/colleagues including Nasheet Waits, Trevor Dunn and Carla Kihlstedt. The Simplest Thing (DD Records) celebrates Marika’s debut leading her own band and singing her own songs. Produced by Kyle Sanna, the CD features special guests Charlie Burnham, Jenny Scheinman and Vienna Teng.
In 2008 Marika visited the Nkomazi region of South Africa for the first time. Over the next two years she visited a few more times. She has been working with a group of young artists/activists in South Africa. Through the non-profit organization TRIAD Trust (www.triadtrust.org), each member of the 7 member troupe is employed to create and present programs using music and drama to teach life saving HIV/AIDS prevention/education to orphans and vulnerable children in the Nkomazi – a region with a documented 41.3% HIV Positive Rate. On January 1, 2012 Marika successfully completed a fund-raising campaign to complete the album by the ImprovEd singers and songwriters. The recording project began in South Africa in 2010. The Triad album will be released in late 2012.
Marika lives in the countryside of Brooklyn, NY.
When & Where
Common Ground Community Concerts
Common Ground Community Concerts is a grassroots music production and event planning organization based in Westchester County NY. For the past 13 years, Common Ground has produced its flagship Common Ground Coffeehouse series, sponsored by (and hosted by) The First Unitarian Society of Westchester, in Hastings-on-Hudson NY.