Charming Hostess


About Charming Hostess
bullet Jewlia Eisenberg
Jewlia CV
bullet Jason Ditzian
bullet Marika Hughes
bullet Cynthia Taylor
bullet Charming: Big Band
bullet Red Pocket


The Ginzburg Geography is drawn from the life and work of Natalia and Leone Ginzburg, Italian Jews famous for anti-fascist resistance and intellectual brilliance. It is a sonic map focusing on where they lived together: Turin, Pizzoli, and Rome. Our map refers to specific physical locations, but also resonates with the actions and relationships associated with those places, allowing a sense-memory of places in time. Much of the information in our map comes from the Ginzburgs’ writing on place.

ChoHo Plays

tThe map of The Ginzburg Geography is new and traditional music drawings from the Italian regions of Piemonte, Abruzzo and Rome; from Italian Jewish liturgy, the oldest and most remote in Europe; and from Italian anti-fascist songs–work chants and resistance anthems. This iteration of The Ginzburg Geography is in concert form. It will soon be presented as an immersive performance that maps not only the journeys of the Ginzburgs, but also those of visitor participants, creating a sonic forest of maps to walk among, listen to, and add to. ween text and the sounding body and The Bowls Project continues this endeavor.

CDs for theTzadik label's Radical Jewish Culture series include The Bowls Project, on Babylonian women's amulets, Sarajevo Blues, which sets Bosnian resistance poetry, and Trilectic, a look at the political-erotic world of Walter Benjamin. The Tzadik CDs are part of the Nerdy-Sexy-Commie-Girlie genre. Big band Hostess CDs include Eat and Punch, both part of the Klezmer/Punk-Balkan/Funk genre.

Charming Hostess: Jewlia Eisenberg, Jason Ditzian, Marika Hughes, Cynthia Taylor, Laura Inserra and often Ganda Suthivarikom. Read more about the Hostesses.

Jewlia Eisenberg is a composer, extended-technique vocalist, lay cantor, and the founder of Charming Hostess. She is interested in the particular emotional, erotic and spiritual terrains that the voice can traverse. Her work explores the intersection of text and the sounding body, pushing for translation strategies between verbal and non-verbal languages. Collaborators include anarcholits Fantom Slobode, choreographer Jo Kreiter and filmmaker Lynn Sachs. Commissioned work includes Harmonices Mundi, an opera about Kepler’s mother, and Red Rosa, a song cycle based on the letters of Rosa Luxemburg. She has been an Artist-in-Residence at MIT and University of Denver; she has studied with sozanda Muna Nissimova, Fred Frith and Daniel Boyarin. Hobbies include class war, knitting, and smashing SUV windshields. Brooklyn born and bred, she now calls San Francisco home. >> Complete CV


Jason Ditzian is a multi-wind instrumentalist/composer who performs on single reeds, double reeds, flutes, and jaw harps. He has composed and performed numerous works for dance, movie and theater, including an Isadora Duncan Dance Award winning collaboration with butoh maestros Koichi and Hiroko Tamano, and touring as co-composer/band leader for the Tony Award winning San Francisco Mime Troupe. Jason is horn section leader for soul band, Lord Loves a Working Man; leader of klezmer ensemble, Kugelplex; and clarinetist in the Georges Brassens cover band, Les Croque-Notes. Upcoming projects include composing for Featherlead productions play, The Breeze at Dawn (November 2007) at the Traveling Jewish Theater and co-composer for The Misadventures of Flapjack, a new series on the Cartoon Network (winter 2008). Jason has played and/or recorded with folks such as Faun Fables, Kunst-Stoff Experimental Dance ensemble, Myra Melford, Yuko Kaseki, and eXtreme Elvis. When he’s not tooting on his clarinet, Jason can be found doing publicity for the San Francisco Mime Troupe, working as a freelance writer, and importing beautiful bansuris and harmoniums from India.


The life of Marika Hughes has always been characterized by the seamless merging of disparate worlds. Granddaughter of the legendary cellist Emmanuel Feuermann, Marika began playing the violin when she was 3 and was soon seduced by the sonorous sounds of the cello. She grew up playing classical music and listening to jazz at Burgundy, a club her parents ran in NYC. Since earning a double degree at Juilliard/Barnard College in cello performance and political science, both pursuits have maintained an important role in her life.

After college, Marika moved to the Bay Area. She has played with the Santa Rosa Symphony and Quartet San Francisco, and has recorded for Tin Hat Trio, Santana and Mr. Bungle. She formed the band Red Pocket (Tzadik) with Jewlia Eisenberg. Marika is best known for her work with singer-songstress Vienna Teng (Rounder) and with the fabulous 2 Foot Yard (Tzadik) where she creates her own niche as both chamber-musician and bass-player.

Cynthia Taylor was raised in the foothills of the Santa Cruz mountains at Garrod Farms Stables & the Cooper/Garrod Vineyards where she learned from Mother Nature, while coaching & competing in horse vaulting. She began music early-- from lullabies with her mother to public school classical violin, choirs & musicals, and some fiddling chops, to opera at SFSU. She holds a Creative Arts BA (Music Performance/Arts Administration). She has performed in R&B, jazz, & techno rock bands locally and in Germany and loves working with composers. She also performed for a decade with the Oakland Opera Theater and produced her own Lullaby CD. As an arts administrator/educator she’s worked with SFJAZZ, Oasis For Girls (executive director), UNESCO via ‘06 ZeroOne San Jose international art & technology festival (education director). The program she curated at YBCA, Young Artists at Work, won the Coming Up Taller Award, from The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts. Cynthia is currently consulting in executive & organizational leadership with organizations related to the arts, youth, race/gender/class, community activism and good people.


For 8 years Charming Hostess was a rock band that blended eerie harmonies, complex rhythms, and a playfulness about gender. Charming Hostess drew on women's vocal traditions (primarily from Eastern Europe and North Africa), and integrated them with American folk forms both white and black. Charming Hostess was founded in the fertile anarchy of Barrington Co-op, and nurtured by the West Oakland arts community, along with other coeval bands such as Fibulator and Eskimo. Half of Charming Hostess was also in Idiot Flesh/Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. The final effect was of a hoedown where bodacious babes belted the blues in Bugarian while a punk-klezmer band rocked out in accompaniment.The genre of this incarnation of ChoHo was KLEZMER-PUNK/BALKAN-FUNK. Recordings of Charming Hostess Big Band include "Eat" (Vaccination, 1998) and the new "Punch" (ReR, 2005) Charming Hostess Big Band was: Jewlia Eisenberg (voice, direction), Carla Kihlstedt (voice, fiddle), Nina Rolle (voice, accordion), Wes Anderson (drums), Nils Frykdahl (guitar, flute, saxophone, percussion), and Dan Rathbun (bass). Read more about the Hostesses.

Red Pocket's Thick

Where can you find the dark underbelly of the Supremes? With Red Pocket a bottom-heavy girl group where cello, bass, and drums groove under sassy vocals. Red Pocket’s genre-bending tunes will guarantee a soul-filled hoedown at the release party for their new CD, Thick released on Tzadik!

Jewlia Eisenberg plays bass and sings. Experimental vocal technique meets freak of the week. After years of leading avant-pop girlcore extravaganza Charming Hostess, the songs she writes for Red Pocket are filled with the joy of romance.

Marika Hughes plays cello and sings. Classically trained, she now prefers to rock the low end: Her cello parts incorporate lyrical melodies, funky bass riffs and rhythm guitar punch. Outside of her work with Red Pocket, she plays with Two Foot Yard, Etienne De Rocher, Eric McFadden.

Scott Amendola is an amazing drummer who plays with everyone (Nels Cline Singers, TJ Kirk, Scott Amendola Band) because he is so damn good. Incorporating live electronics and hand percussion with the genius of the great funky drummers, Scott holds the estrogen in Red Pocket together.

>> See more about Red Pocket.

Copyright 2006 Charming Hostess

Last updated January 26, 2014 Charming Hostess