The following description comes from the event organizer."Maria BC is a classically trained vocalist, a dexterous guitarist, and a songwriter with an innate gift for vast, stately melodies, but the defining strength of their music is the mood: an overarching melancholy that shadows everything like heavy storm clouds."
Ohio-born, Oakland, CA-based artist Maria BC (they/them) has slowly opened up their process over the years, moving from the one-room recording process of 2021 EP Devil’s Rain—careful not to disturb their roommates or neighbors—to the untreated apartment wanderings of Hyaline (2022, Father/Daughter) to the home of a family friend featuring an out-of-tune baby Steinway piano where they recorded their Sacred Bones debut, Spike Field.
Hyaline, was a 2022 ambient-folk highlight. It found the singer-songwriter crafting haunting tracks that played like they were beamed from the heart of some mystical, cobwebbed attic. Spike Field pushed their gauzy formula into increasingly manicured terrain, capturing the sound of a young artist who has quickly honed a singular voice. Strings, plucked guitar and buzzing swells accompany their classically-trained mezzo-soprano voice soaking their arrangements in a denser and more kaleidoscopic way than any of their previous work. Maria BC describes it as “filling out the sonic space,” as Spike Field builds on the intimacy of Hyaline through liberating instrumental embellishments.
Dao Strom is an artist who works with three “voices”—written, sung, visual—to explore hybridity and the intersection of personal and collective histories. She is the author of the poetry collection, Instrument (Fonograf Editions, 2020), winner of the 2022 Stafford/Hall Oregon Book Award for Poetry, and its musical companion piece, Traveler’s Ode (Antiquated Future Records, 2020); a bilingual poetry-art book, You Will Always Be Someone From Somewhere Else (AJAR Press, 2018); a hybrid-form memoir, We Were Meant To Be a Gentle People, and song cycle, East/West (2015); and two books of fiction, The Gentle Order of Girls and Boys (Counterpoint Press, 2019, 2006) and Grass Roof, Tin Roof (Mariner Books, 2003). Her works also include interdisciplinary music/poetry performance, public art, and visual-poetry installations. She received a 2020 Oregon Literary Arts Career Fellowship and a 2016 Creative Capital Artist Award. Her work has received support also from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, Precipice Fund/Warhol Foundation, Oregon Arts Commission, National Endowment for the Arts, and others.
Strom is the co-founder of two collaborative art projects: She Who Has No Master(s), a collective of women writers of the Vietnamese diaspora; and de-canon, a literary + social art + publishing project highlighting books and works by writers of color.
Born in Vietnam, Strom grew up in the Sierra Nevada foothills of northern California and is a graduate of the Iowa Writers Workshop. She lives in Portland, Oregon and teaches with Pacific Northwest College of Art’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing.