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The Pre-War Ponies was formed in 2007 by Daria Grace, who wanted to put to use her growing collection of sheet music and repertoire of not-quite hits from the 20s, 30s and 40s. She quickly recruited her old friend, trombonist and soprano uke player J. Walter Hawkes to be a part of the madness, and they have become the core duo of the band.
As for the band’s mission, we see no reason to re-hash standards that have already been done so beautifully so many times. We like to dig a little deeper. You have likely heard of Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and Johnny Mercer, but you probably haven’t heard some of their under-rated chestnuts like “Pardon My Southern Accent” or “Find Me A Primitive Man.” We don’t just stick to the famous songwriters, either. There are plenty of gems from that golden era by the likes of Fred Ahlert, Joe Young, Chas Tobias, and Eddie Jones, none of whom are exactly household names. But maybe they should be…
A stunning song siren – award-winning electronic jazz singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Mary Alouette is one to watch. Her voice bears both tone and control earned through opera training and the emotional connection of a jazz and soul singer grounded in her work performing as a Gypsy jazz singer. Her songs, full of infectious melodies and dangerous rhythms, have laid the groundwork for a fresh, distinctive, and unforgettable sound. She also composes and performs electronic music under the name Alarke.
“Her performances draw you in with their soft, hypnotic qualities, turning each song into a dialogue between her and the audience.”
– Brooklyn Exposed
Her Gypsy jazz singing brought her to stay in a Gypsy caravan in France, but before that she’s headlined at venues including 30 Rockefeller Plaza’s SixtyFive Bar, the Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage, Blues Alley, and Terra Blues; sung at Carnegie Hall; competed in the Apollo Theater’s tour; performed the US National Anthem for major league baseball teams; studied opera singing at the American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria and the Schlern International Music Festival in Italy, as well as received a Bachelors of Music in Vocal Performance from McGill University in Montreal, Canada; and worked in the studio as an audio engineer. She’s won the Grand Prize in the Washington Area Music Association’s (WAMA) Professional Artist Support System Songwriting Competition, placed as a finalist in the Mid-Atlantic Songwriting Competition, won New Artist of the Year (2013) and Best Debut Album (2013) with WAMA, and has twice been nominated by WAMA for Best Jazz Vocalist. She was an Artist in Residence at Strathmore Center for the Arts in Maryland and her performance has been highlighted in the New Yorker. From releasing two EPs of original music that combine Gypsy jazz and electronic music to composing and performing live film scores at Nitehawk Cinema in New York City, her creative muscles have flexed a complex vibrancy reflected from her formative years in Montreal, Canada.