Photo by Kenneth Locke
Orit Shimoni is a singer-songwriter in perpetual motion, with little slowing her down as she travels from city to city, gig to gig. But it was a 2008 first-time visit to Berlin that gave her uncharacteristic pause. She had gone to the German capital to check out the music scene, where, she said, “you can show up and let things happen… Berlin is a hot spot for people who are just hovering.” Yet she couldn’t ignore the fact that she was a Jewish person in Germany and consequently grappling with being both “comfortable and uncomfortable” there.
From this tension emerged an album’s worth of songs, which Shimoni recorded live and has just released as “Sadder Music: Live in Berlin” under her performing alias, Little Birdie. The 10 tracks on this, her third independently produced album, are fine examples of her intimate and direct style, regardless of whether you label the album folk or country. Her sound, which is hard to pin down, is actually a bit of both. Shimoni herself likes to refer to it as “dark country.” She sings lead vocals, plays acoustic guitar and is backed up by a band that includes violin, electric guitar, bass and percussion.