Tag Archives: about me

How Tribal Baroque was Created

Friday August 15th 2014

Thanks for the questions, guys! Here are the answers, plus some things you don’t know about me!

Susan asked: I am curious to know how you two met, how YOU learned to play the violin, how you and Thoth developed Tribal Baroque.

Timothy asked: How did TB come to be? Where did such a unique sound and style come from?

Chris asked: I was wondering LA, if you feel that you are also in a past or parallel life from the Festad. That was one of the most fascinating things about the Thoth film to me and also about Thoth’s music and language. When you two started to play together, it felt like you were also from that same world! You obviously connect to it wether it’s just through Thoth or on a personal level. Just interested to hear about your connection to it and was also wondering if the Festad is still the subject of TB’s music. Was the Festad theme just one opera? Thanks!

I’ll answer all of these together. I met Thoth on October 11th 2008 when I was moving to New York to study at Circle in the Square Theatre School. I had been looking forward to moving to New York and going to a conservatory, but I hated Circle. I felt really lonely and left out. I didn’t know how to make friends. I tried to dress normally at first, but it didn’t last long. I went to Central Park looking for the Angel Fountain. I remembered it from my childhood. ‘Where is that fountain with the angel on top?” No one knew what I was talking about. I eventually found it on my own. I would see Thoth going up the stairs or hanging around the tunnel. I recognized him from America’s Got Talent and had quite a negative reaction to him at first. I thought, “He thinks he’s so great. I could use that tunnel better then he can!” Isn’t that funny I would think that? I saw him several times before I actually saw him prayforming. I was walking through the tunnel on my way home and saw him standing in stillness. I stood waiting, curious to see what he would do. When he opened his mouth, my jaw hit the floor. He was a countertenor! And what a beautiful countertenor it was! I was very impressed. When he finished, I ran over and said, “You’re a countertenor! I love your voice!” He looked up at me somberly and said simply, “You’re intelligent.” I was amazed at the way he spoke. It was very deep, with no clear accent. “I’m coming back next weekend in costume!” I said. He gave me a look that suggested he didn’t believe me. I ran home and looked up every video I could about him. I watched his documentary over and over. The AGT clip made my blood boil. “What an amazing person! How is he doing this and he’s middle aged? He must hold some secret to lifelong creativity. I have to figure this guy out!” I said to myself. The next weekend my sister came to visit and I brought her to see Thoth. “Hello Zoe.” he said to me in that same somber, low voice as he came out from under his umbrella. Sis was enamored, too. A few days later, I ran down the stairs of the tunnel and fell on the floor at his feet and danced. He kneeled over me and sang to me. Every weekend, I’d go to the park and dance with him. I eventually learned all his songs, so I harmonized with him. People had a mixture of feelings about me. Some loved my voice, others thought I was intrusive. I started wearing a pink wig to school every day and was eventually outed for it in a group meeting. “We need to talk about the pink elephant in the room.” a student said. People’s comments eventually made me run out of the room crying. I went to the tunnel and told Thoth. “You’re not a elephant, you’re an angel. A Pink Angel.” Thoth said. That became my name. Pink Angel. I went home for Christmas and got my violin. When I got back to New York, Thoth invited me over to his house to see if we could play together. “This will work.” he said. He was suffering from nerve damage in both of his hands, which caused him only to be able to play with one finger. So I became his mentee. Things continued to evolve from there. We went out to play at the Angel Tunnel for the first time in March 2009, just 4 months after meeting. I was terrified those days. Thoth taught me various rhythms with my bells and ostinatos on violin and we had lots of deep, philosophical conversations. I discovered my personal style. I didn’t want to be just like him. I needed to find myself within his work. I eventually dropped out of theatre school to prayform with him full time. We were arrested summer 2009 in the Angel Tunnel for prayforming, which really bonded us. The name “Tribal Baroque” came to me one day when we were prayforming in the tunnel. The sound of our voices was very Baroque, but the bells and rhythms sounded Tribal. So I put the two together. It made sense. Our music just developed naturally. We were both heavily influenced by opera and classical music, yet we were both different and like to follow our own drum. We just meshed. I loved the idea of creating our own opera and our own story. I felt very connected to Thoth’s opera, the Festad. I tried writing my own story, but gave up because it was too much like his. The Festad is Thoth’s work, and it’s based on his opera. Our music isn’t based in the Festad, it’s based on our own story. I don’t consider myself to be from his world. I see more that we are from two worlds that integrate well together. Someday we will create our own opera with it’s own story. I think Thoth and I are twin souls, soul mates who have been working our whole lives to find each other. I had already studied voice and violin well before I met him. It’s like I was prepared to meet him. I consider myself more of a singer, as Thoth does about himself. Violin is just the supporting tool. I started studying violin when I was 7 and stopped when I was 16 because of tendonitis. I’ve been singing ever since I was 5, but started training when I was 11 or 12.  Everything came together for me when I met Thoth. Opera, theatre, costumery, singing, violin, dancing, creativity. I had always dreamed of singing with a countertenor. It was all meant to be.


Photo by Dan Rubin NYC 2013

I am a very reclusive person. That may seem odd, me being a public performer. Unless I am performing, I don’t like being social. I’d rather listen to music and dance around in my room. I like talking to maybe one or two people about something important, but talking to a bunch of people about frivolous things is tiring for me. I’ve become more introverted and reclusive as I’ve been prayforming with Thoth. Prayformance is so draining, I need to save my energy for it. I rarely leave the house when I have a day off. I have to recharge. I tend to be attracted to reclusive people, too.

I never get scared when I’m prayforming. I’m only scared when we’re threatened to be stopped by police or harassed by authority.

I have always been able to sing super high.

People all over the world compare my voice to The Blue Alien in The 5th Element. Others compare my voice to Ima Sumac’s.

I hate being compared to other people. People, mostly in the USA, regularly compare how I dress to Lady Gaga or Effie from the Hunger Games.

I am bisexual.

I am an eternal virgin.

Thoth is the only person I’ve ever been intimate with.

I love Cirque Du Soleil. Both Thoth and I auditioned for them at one point but were rejected. Him because he was too unique, me because I didn’t know how to sing in any other style but classical. I wanted to play ‘Zoe’ in Quidam. I was 19 when I first auditioned for them.

I hated school. I was constantly picked on and made fun of for being different. Rumors were spread me and my twin sister were lesbians though out our school years. It made it impossible for us to make friends. I became a loner through out most of high school and dressed as wildly as possible.

I used to hate my high school choir teacher. She invited me to be in the elite Jazz choir my sophomore year (unheard of for a soprano) then kicked me out the next year because “my voice didn’t fit in with the style.” My father fought her all summer to get me back in the class because I had all A’s. I was let back in by the school, but the choir teacher was humiliated so she took it out on me all year. She made me an alto and did anything she could to humiliate me. I dropped out Senior year and became a paid soprano section leader at St. George’s Episcopal Church. That was much better!

I won ‘Most Individualistic’ in Senior Superlatives in high school.

My parents got divorced when I was 14, both of them are musicians.

I’ve always been creative and weird.

I hate anything uncreative, especially sports.

My favorite thing ever growing up was Phantom of the Opera.

I am attracted to men who remind me of The Phantom. Thoth reminds me of him.

The Phantom is my biggest sex symbol.

I still get obsessive about Phantom of the Opera, even though I discovered it when I was 10 years old.

I didn’t always like pink. I don’t consider myself a super girly person, but I love dressing feminine during prayformance.

My favorite thing is singing, then painting, makeup and costume design.

I was first introduced to operatic music when I was 10 by a cousin. I’ve been in love with the style ever since and it influenced me to learn how to sing and helped make me into the person I am today.

I trained to be an opera singer.

Rigoletto was my first and favorite opera. My favorite operatic pieces are Don Giovanni, Die Zauberflote, Rigoletto and Tosca.

My favorite past time is listening to music really loud and rewinding my favorite parts over and over again.

I am a night owl.

I am sensitive.

My favorite singers are Lily Pons, Natalie Dessay, Philippe Jaroussky and Bobby McFerrin.

My favorite books are ‘1984,’ ‘Life of Pi,’ and ‘The Long Walk.’