"Alisa's voice is at once delicate and powerful, warm yet mysterious, but above all, it is an open invitation to musicians from diverse traditions to share in the discovery of something new", says Alex de Grassi.
Alisa has just completed work on a new CD, one which marks a radical, but also natural, departure from her contemporary personal music. Along with producer Alex de Grassi, Alisa has collected and arranged these traditional Jewish lyrics in a lush setting of world-music instrumentation to showcase the deep musical roots of her cultural heritage.
"Alisa's CD is a marvelous addition to the contemporary voices who continue to give life and vitality to the Jewish tradition. Alisa's heart is as warm as her superb voice," says Peter Yarrow.
"Very cool mix of the Jewish Diaspora," says Laney Goodman of NPR's "Women in Music."
It has to do with generosity. What makes Alisa's songs stand apart is her own sense and gift of generosity.
- Robin Roberts, The Open Road,
KUSP, Santa Cruz, CA
"National award winning singer-songwriter Alisa Fineman has earned renown for her world-class alto voice with it's dusky tones and original songs." (The Times Independent). She is past winner of the Kerrville NewFolk award at the Kerrville Folk Festival in Texas, has played at numerous festivals across the country , and her songs appear on many notable CD compilations from across the county. Her newest CD release, "Closing the Distance, Poems, Prayers and Love Songs", is a natural extension of her musical and humanitarian sensibilities.
Alisa Fineman grew up in California's San Fernando Valley, born to a family rich in musical heritage. Her great grandfather played first trumpet with the New York Philharmonic under the legendary Toscanini. Her grandmother, a concert pianist, gave Alisa her first piano lessons. At the age of eleven Alisa began learning guitar, and a year later she was writing her first songs. Early inspirations, both musically and lyrically, include Joni Mitchell, Odetta, Willa Cather, Kate Wolf and Mary McCaslin. As with these artists, Alisa's repetoire of songs speak of love, of a sense of place and an appreciation for the earth's beauty and fragility, and of life's sometimes-difficult choices. Her long time love of Jewish and world music began at a summer camp in the Santa Cruz mountains she attended most summers through her teens as well as from an experince working and studying on a Kibbutz in Israel when she was 14.
While studying Environmental Studies and Natural History at the Univeristy of California at Santa Cruz, Alisa spent her summers as a fire lookout in the wilderness of Idaho's Salmon National Forest, and after graduation she moved to Big Sur to help manage the University of California Big Creek Nature Reserve. During this period of her life, while living in almost complete seclusion, she began writing the songs which in 1988 would Cup Of Kindness, her first recording.
Fineman's resonant voice gives her songs a depth of feeling
and experience that the lyrics only hint at.
- Santa Cruz Sentinel
The enthusiastic response to Cup Of Kindness motivated Alisa to devote herself more fully to writing and performing. Her growing connection with the music community soon led her to become host to a radio show on KAZU in Pacific Grove, CA which showcased fellow singer/songwriters from around the country. She was voted "Best Folk Musician" four years running by the Monterey Bay's Coast Weekly and in 1991 she won top honors at the Kerrville Folk Festival's NewFolk Showcase for her songs, One Lone Bird and I Could Not Ask For More, both of which were included on her 1993 release, Better With Time.
Alisa's concerts are like Babette's Feast. She gives herself completely.
- Lyn Golliher, Learning Center, NYC
"Alisa is easily among the best of the next generation of singer-songwriters."
- Tom Paxton
Since then, Alisa has toured extensively, appearing at such festivals as California's Strawberry Festival, the Napa Valley Festival and the Kate Wolf Memorial Festival, Austin's South-By-Southwest, The Kerrville Folk Festival, The Connecticut Family Folk Festival, and Spokane's Columbia River Festival. She has performed at the National Songwriter's Academy showcase atThe Troubadour in Los Angeles and in the Treestar Concert Series in New York. In 1992 and '93 she was Artist-In-Residence at the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY. In addition to her solo work and work with her partner and fellow-musician Kimball Hurd, she is also a former member of guitarist Martin Simpson's highly acclaimed Band Of Angels, and a frequent guest-artist at performances by Trapezoid founder Paul Reisler.
Warmth, beauty, fresh themes, vivid-word pictures. Alisa is a class act.
- Rod Kennedy, founder, Kerrville Folk Festival