ABOUT KATIE & TAERI OF POPOKI HOUSE
Born into a family of musicians, singer-songwriter Katie Blanchard’s relationship with song began with the vinyl records that were played by her family to pass the time as they waited for prematurely-born Katie to grow well enough to leave the hospital. Her mother loved musicals and jazz, while her father preferred country music, and her brothers playing those albums in the hospital helped to settle the crying baby enough that she was soon healthy enough to go home.
By age three, Katie was singing pop songs from memory, and performed at school functions, choirs, and her brothers’ garage band rehearsals, where she was further introduced to a wide range of influences including The Beatles, Nat King Cole and Roger Miller. For her fifteenth birthday, Katie was presented with a guitar. “Never forget, your guitar is a drum,” her brothers reminded. The rest, as they say, is history.
Katie has performed in venues ranging from road houses to concert halls. She has studied opera and classical voice technique, with her vocals described as, “soaring, with an Ann Wilson quality.” Katie’s guitar playing reflects the eclectic nature of her family’s musical tastes while developing her own style of performing. Her dreadnought acts as her second voice, thundering and roaring, moaning and singing while pounding out the groove and exploring her unusual interpretations of melody, riffs and chord inversions. Think Brian Setzer meets Ricky Skaggs, with Bonnie Raitt and Indigo Girls as the opening act.
In her other life Katie is an accomplished concert, theater, and nightclub audio engineer and sound designer who has worked with everyone from Debbie Reynolds to Ann Margaret; from Jake Shimabukuro to Albert Lee.
Singer-songwriter Taeri Schiffman is what happens when a classically trained, queer "deadhead" musician rediscovers her Hawai'ian roots. Born on O’ahu but raised in the homeland of Napoleon Dynamite — the wilds of Cache Valley, Utah and environs — Taeri applied her skills as a multi-instrumental band and musical theater geek to her Native ukulele. “I was horrified at the prospect of playing one note at a time on a horn the rest of my life! And the spit! Ugh! With the ukulele I get actual CHORDS! Imagine, four notes - at the same time - with no spit! Six strings seems extravagant, and since I’ve got four fingers...”
Not content with playing to a cliche’ — a Hawaiian woman strumming her uke — Taeri brings her training as a sight reading devotée of music theory to bear, covering multiple styles including jazz, folk, blues and rock. Her voice is a lush lyrical contralto whose influences range from Amy Winehouse and Billie Holliday to Indigo Girls. Taeri delivers cover songs and original compositions with equal passion and a sincere depth born of her devotion to the art form.
Whether performing a bluesy Grateful Dead jam or adding a touch of jazz to Americana roots music, Taeri joyfully uses her decades of experience to bring her love of music to appreciative audiences.
Taeri’s eclectically diverse musical influences range from the Grateful Dead, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole, Weird Al, Tom Lehrer, John Prine, Robert Hunter, John Perry Barlow, Sting, George Harrison, ELO, the Indigo Girls, Doobie Brothers, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Billie Holiday, as well as Bach, Beethoven, and Tchaikovsky.
In addition, Taeri earned her bachelors degree in psychology from Cal Poly-SLO, and her masters degree in social work from USC (Fight on!). Today she chooses to devote herself to music full time, following her bliss and utilizing her experiences as both a social worker and student of human behavior to influence her songwriting writing and performing.
DESERT VALLEY (original) by POPOKI HOUSE
LIVE AT KULAK'S WOODSHED, FEBRUARY 25, 2020