Born: December 13, 1962 Primary Instrument: Vocal
Born in New York City in 1962, I spent my early childhood in Montclaire, New Jersey with my parents and growing family. My mother, Johanna, immigrated to America from Holland when she married my father, Arthur, a Jewish business executive originally from the Bronx. My brother John was killed in a car accident when he was six and I was three. That was the worst thing that ever happened to our family. When I was seven, my family of seven moved to Albuquerque, New Mexico, where we lived for the next seven years, returning to the East Coast to live in New York City in 1975, when I was thirteen years old.
Attending the Spence School for girls by day, I graduated with honors when I was 17. I alternately sold clothes and served cookies during that time for spending money. By night and mostly without permission, I attended jazz concerts in the East and West Village. I learned about and heard many of the jazz legends, most of whom have since passed away. Hearing live music at the heights of achievement, and observing the mostly forsaken circumstances under which these geniuses lived out their lives, was the beginning of a life- long fascination with music, culture and society, and each of our places in it. I began writing poetry and keeping journals, which I now wish I still had. I threw them all away once, in a fit of self-hatred.
After an un-inspired summer semester at New York University, I left school and home, and began to attend what I called The School of Life. This involved moving down to East 3rd Street, and in with the alto player who would be my partner for the next eight years. I worked as a professional model for a little while, and went to Barry Harris' Master Class on Monday nights at the Jazz Cultural Center. I fiddled around on the piano and the flute and sang some songs, but never felt as comfortable as when I had a pen in my hand and words just flowed onto the paper. My first publication credit is an interview I did of my partner and took around to the publisher of The East Villager. We bought one way tickets to Amsterdam, Holland in 1984, and travelled around Europe for the next six years, following a sort of jazz circuit from Amsterdam to Valencia, to Paris, where our daughter Crystal was born. By the time we landed in Munich it finally became evident to me that these were not ideal circumstances for parenting or nurturing my own talents. I returned to the East Village with Crystal in 1990.
Soon after my return I started a little event called Sunday Afternoon Stories that I hosted at a little french restaurant in Soho called La Poeme. After awhile that became an open mic, with more poets showing up than storytellers. A train ride to the WBAI Radio Station with the intention of promoting my event on the air, turned into a ten year stint as a volunteer producer and on-air host. While there I wrote and produced several live radio dramas, and also interviewed many interesting authors and musicians. Even though I was mostly broke I got the chance to attend many cultural events as a reporter, which broadened my education in many ways. I also did some work for Steve Cannon at A Gathering of the Tribes, where I wrote some grants and was the associate editor for a couple issues of the magazine by the same name. My open mic series eventually became Listen & Be Heard Open Mic, a weekly event that moved from the University of the Streets to the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, and helped me to hone my skills over the next five years.
I wrote a collection of biographical stories entitled Dreamscape, Real Dreams Really Make a Difference, that was published by Tenth Avenue Editions. I was invited to perform them at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in Scotland. That marked the beginning of my collaboration with Sabine Worthmann, which formed the basis for the group I called Po'azz Yo'azz. We performed at arts festivals in the US, UK and Europe and recorded a CD together. Remixes from my cd have also been released as dance music. The one I still hear about from fans today is Living It! I also started out as a web publisher with PlanetAUTHORity.com, and learned web production on my seat at my day job with Grey Advertising in their new Web department. Some of my poetry and stories are published by Writers and Readers, in a volume entitled When the Body Calls. After workshopping about 53 episodes of Mission of Love during the open mic, I reworked it as a two act tele-video play in iambic pentameter, and produced it at Club Vinyl. That's when I became pregnant with Ben, an event which motivated me to leave New York City and move to Vallejo, CA.
Soon after moving to Vallejo I started up Listen & Be Heard Open Mic again, at Rafael's, as a way to meet new people. I did in fact meet my future husband there, Tony Mims, a poet also. He inspired me to start Listen & Be Heard Weekly, a print newspaper we published together for three years. We went from 100 copies to 6,000, and distributed around Solano County and the Bay Area. That publication continues today, in its fifth year, with a more worldly focus at listenandbeheard.net. You will find my weekly Letter from the Editor there, and some of my latest poetry. My husband and I also opened Listen & Be Heard Poetry Cafe together in downtown Vallejo where we were the hub for culture, live music and poetry for three years. We have two more sons together, John and Lewis.
Life has indeed schooled me. I have never stopped studying or quit my quest for knowledge, and continue to write daily. I still love the spoken word as much as the written word and love to improvise as much as to get every word and syllable just right.
This is a good marriage of spoken word and drum n' bass. It's fresh and definately a new take on things. DJ Marquess Wyatt, MIXMAG USA, Feb./March 1998 DMA
Living It, The Remixes featuring Martha Cinader Liquid Sound Lound Lounge Recordings You know, if it comes from Jeannie Hopper, I absolutely KNOW it's gonna be good-that girl's definitely got her finger on the pulse. First she sends me the original set of mixes on her very own LSL production Living IT (see review in Feb/March '98 DMA) which totally blew me away; then she turned me o to the smooth Philly soul assemblages of King Britt's Sylk 130 When the Funk Hits The Fan LP on Ovum/Columbia Records (see review of the album elsewhere in this issue). Now she slams me with two more goodies, the Victor Simonelli remixes of Living It and the Burnin' EP from German house producers Ruffcut. On the Living It remixes, Victor Simonelli gives a classy minimalistic interpretation that clearly places Martha Cinader's philosophical word- smithing in the centerstage; it bumps along at a lively 122 BPM pace with mellow synth sstabs, subtle funky key work and a thick atmospheric texture. Simonelli also includes a beatless acapella and a bonus beats-only track so those whar are inclined may work their own turntable magic. Also included on this 12 is Birth of Cool's Deep Dub, a continuation of their Dub mix from the original 12 that goes straight for the funk in a fluid, energetic U.K. deep house fashinon. URB Magazine
Martha Cinader Living It (Victor Simonelli Remix) (LSL) Simonelli's mixes transport this trippy spoken poem into the dreamy, drugged-out state it should have been presented in. Taken in with a blunt or in a smoky dark club, I think the effect will be the same, at least in theory. The VJS a cappella, with 808 sounds, harp and oscillating vintage keys, is dope. Kicks are to be had on he vox mix; they are as sedate as Simonelli's original designs, but the ethereal mood vanishes a bit. The Pseudo a cappella is the joint. €DJDK Dance Music Authority
LIVING IT DJ JeannieHopper and Sabine Worthmann Featuring Martha Cinader You know in this job as a reviewer, I listen to a LOT of vinyl, and it's actually VERY rare when something really jumps out and grabs me as much as this piece did. DJ Jeannie Hopper and the LSL crew really caught my attention with this very creative project that marries some interesting spoken word- smithing with various jazz-rooted remixing styles. On the A side, even the drum n' bass oriented Original mix appeals to me (usually not a genre that I would be drawn to), with its snappy drum programming, subtle booming bass, and sparse, dreamy instrumentation; John Ward (of Sub Dub fame) then offers his trippy Sub -Freak version, an eclectically sound -effected jazzy dub rendition that suits the philosophical musings of Martha Cinader quite well. But for a more uptempo dancing experience, I'd flip on over to Lars lb Behrenroth and Michael Carstensen's deeper Birth of Cool House and Dub mixes. Swirling, dreamy atmospheric synths, bumpin' key stabs, meandering jazzy vibe riffs, bubbling samba-ish bass lines and syncopated (at times) percussion over a pumpinhouse track-very well produced, giving Cinader's poetic rambling a totally different framework in which to flow. I absolutely love this piece, and I hear Tony Humphries is also a fan of the BOC mixes. For more info, check out Hopper's LSL website at www.liquidsoundlounge.com. -Margaret Coble Dance Music Authority March '98
If you're a fan of Dana Bryant or Me'Shell Ndegeocello this is for you. Pure poetry in motion - quite literally; DJ Jeannie Hopper has teamed with 'wordologist' (sic) Martha Cinader in a journey through life - mixing poetry with improvised-jazz, house-beats, techno-chords and drum n' bass arrangements. Similariy the four remixes are equally eclectic moving from dub to trip-hop and house, and all working well within the song's framework. Original and highly innovative. (LD) BLUES & SOUL Feb.'98 issue 758
Performance VOICE CHOICES, Village Voice May 21, 1996 SURF REALITY Martha Cinader & Po'azz Yo'azz Whether debunking loser men or rejoicing in Living It, poet Martha Cinader takes you over continents and through waterways to open third eye chakras with sexy rhythms. Cinader and bassist /toymeister Sabine Worthmann collaboraters at last year's Edinburgh Festivalrework this hour-long program of urban poetry and storytelling, unearthing secrets from inside Amsterdam cafes to the floor of the Atlantic.
VOICE CHOICES, Village Voice, December 13, 1994 University of the Streets Po'azz Yo'azz The Listen and Be Heard series mixes acid jazz (The Liquid Sound Lounge provided by WBAI DJ Jeannie Hopper) with spoken word (hosted by poet Martha Cinader) in a campaign to free your mind and your ass simultaneously. (McDonnell)
DREAMSCAPE - Edinburgh, Scotland Poetry and jazz have been blowing up a storm together since Allen Ginsberg and beyond. These days spoken word albums have become commonplace. Storyteller Martha Cinader and double bassist Sabine Worthmann aren't as confrontational as latterday noiseniks, coming on instead like a hip beatnik Sesame Street for grown-ups. Cinader is cool, sensual and assured as she translates myth into sexually evocative oral glimpses into the lives of forgotten icons of the feminine and feminist persuasion. Alongside this are raps by Lenny Bruce contemporary Lord Buckley and an improvised baass solo to die for. With four different programmes to choose from, you're bound to dig something. Neil Coooper, The List
To the deep, soothing accompaniment of an inventive double bass score, New Yorker Martha Cinader tells tales of exceptional people in a lyrical, jazzy style that is just right for this morning slot. Her stories vary from day to day, but you might catch the one about Emperor Nero, here transformed into a fat cat with some bread who gets his kicks outa crucifyin'Christian brothers; or hear how Queen Boadicea refused to take those Romans lying down...she was bad, know what I mean, and she couldn't be any other way. Skipping a few centuries, Cinader moves on to tell how one green George Orwell got himself tangled up in the Spanish Civil War...in Barcelona he found there was no first class, no second class, no any kinda class-now, that, that was a situation worth fightin' for.
The poem-narratives are not hugely momentous in themselves; in fact they tend to be inconclusive, and only very loosely linked by the idea that their subjects wereliving it to the full. But Cinader's use of language is so seductive and her rhythmic, rapping voice so carressing, that you really don't want her to stop. Catherine Fellows - The Scotsman