Born to bohemian parents who named her after an Edgar Allen Poe short story, Lygia spent part of her childhood in Tehran, Iran and part in Berkeley, California. Early musical sensibilities were shaped by her parents' collection of Persian music and Billie Holiday records. At age sixteen she lived in New York City's Hell's Kitchen and made ends meet by passing out flyers for the Woman's Martial Arts Center.
here she won a dance scholarship to the East Harlem School of Music and spent additional years studying music, art, and acting. Later, adrift between East Hollywood and a coffee farm in Hawaii, Lygia worked as a go-go girl, karaoke hostess, lingerie model, and fortune teller.
A wide-ranging vocal stylist, Lygia's gigs have included performing in Dahran, Saudi Arabia while wearing red spandex; singing Tina Turner covers in a bar in Macon, Georgia; a one-woman show at the Alliance Francaise Art Festival in San Francisco; and performing at a drag bar in Provincetown, MA. More mainstream gigs include a duet with Jerry Garcia, a stint at CBGB's in NYC, a set at the 1994 JVC Concord Jazz Festival with Miles Davis, and a recent benefit in Los Angeles where she shared the stage with Sheila E. and Brenda Russell.
Aside from numerous children's music tracks for Music for Little People; and a variety of commercial-radio and movie soundtrack productions, including vocalese and singing in five different languages. Lygia was one of 20 finalists (out of 800 submissions) at the 1999 San Francisco Lilith Fair Talent Search contest Album credits include Santana's Milagro (Polygram) and, most recently, the Berlin-based Yulara's Cosmic Tree (EMD/Virgin/Higher Octave).
Strange Peculiar is a thouroughly grass-roots project involving more than 25 musicians, both well-known and unknown, including Micheal Manring (Micheal Hedges, Primus), Micheal Masley (Garbage, Ry Cooder, Tom Waits), Eric Bebow
(SwitchBlade Symphony, Paula Cole), Cameron Stowe (Poe, Donna Dolorean), Van Sprogins (Paula Cole, Missing Persons), Quique Cruz (Jackson Browne, Sting), and Gigi Gonawi (Mariah Carey). Most of the mixing was done by Erik Hawkins (Digital Underground, Jupiter Sons) and the mastering was handled by Eddie Schreyer (Fiona Apple, Eric Clapton, Ben Harper).
The making of Strange Peculiar was truly a labor of love. For over a year, Lygia traveled back and forth between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, from one makeshift studio to another, carrying an old ADAT 8-track recorder in her backpack and a picnic basket full of tapes. Lygia wrote, arranged, and produced all 13 songs, working one-on-one with different musicians and engineers, and crashing afterwards wherever she could find a spot to roll out her sleeping bag.
The finished songs boast a wide-ranging, eclectic blend of instruments, from the usual bass, drums, and guitar to the more unusual, such as cymbalom, bass kalimba, dobro, cello, viola, ukelele, mandolin, Hammond B3, and gobek (a percussion instrument that combines a miniature dumbek with an East Indian gopichand).
As Lygia says in the title track, "It's a curious ride/when you dare to break the rules/and normal just won't do."