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Genres You Will Love
World: World Traditions World: Eastern European Folk: Traditional Folk Moods: Mood: Dreamy World: Balkan

By Location
United States - California - SF

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True Life Trio

True Life Trio weaves sumptuous vocal harmonies and sultry rhythms from Eastern Europe, the Americas & beyond. This innovative trio explores the creative possibilities of cross-fertilization of different traditions with unlikely timbres connecting Bulgaria to the Bayou. TLT’s improvisation-laced repertoire includes original songs and folk tunes from far-flung lands such as Macedonia, Louisiana, Albania, South Africa, Ukraine, Mexico, Poland, Italy and Georgia. Featuring the powerful vocal talents of three dynamic performers whose musical collaboration was forged in Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble, the trio delves deep into a vast array of folk music that lends itself to three-part vocal harmony, massaging and expanding the boundaries of these traditional styles. The result is a sweet, sonic explosion that melts in the listener’s ear and that is uniquely True Life Trio.

True Life Trio is:
Leslie Bonnett: voice, fiddle, percussion
Briget Boyle: voice, guitar, percussion
Juliana Graffagna: voice, bass, percussion

Individual bios:

Leslie Bonnett’s artistic path has been marked by a rich diversity of musical journeys. Her primary instruments of expression are voice and violin, complemented by explorations into a variety of dance forms. She began with classical studies as a child but soon thereafter jumped off into the musical realms of Scandinavia, the Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Americas and beyond. Along the way she earned a B.A. in Music from U.C. Santa Cruz and sang with San Francisco Symphony Chorus and Savina. Leslie also sang for fifteen years with Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble with whom she had the great fortune of working with amazing master artists and travelling to far off lands for performance and musical/cultural study. She can currently be found performing with Balkalicious Fire Drive and True Life Trio.

Briget Boyle began her musical journey at a very young age. As the daughter of singer-songwriter Karen Tobin and recording engineer Tim Boyle, it is safe to say that she came out singing. At 13, she began writing original songs and playing guitar. In 2001 she was awarded Songwriter of the Year at the College of Santa Fe in the Contemporary Music Program where she majored in Music Performance and Composition. It was at CSF where she fell in love with Eastern European folk music and deepened her passion for singing in harmony. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2004, she has sung with various projects including Kitka Women's Vocal Ensemble, Brass Menažeri & Broken Shadows Family Band.

Juliana Graffagna began her musical career at a young age, singing in church choir and studying classical piano. She then ventured on to musical theatre, women’s glee club, Russian language study, and the discovery of her passion for traditional music. Juliana sang with the acclaimed Kitka Women’s Vocal Ensemble for more than two decades, serving as music director for 10 years, performing extensively throughout the U.S. and Eastern Europe and studying Eastern European vocal technique with master singers Tzvetanka Varimezova, Mariana Sadovska, Merita Halili, Donka Koleva, Carl Linich and Christos Govetas. Juliana founded the eclectic ensemble Janam/My Soul (“Transcendent Balkan/Appalachian/Near Eastern Blend”,, performs on film soundtracks, and teaches private and group piano and voice lessons (