Ari & Mia, Boston's Americana sister act, are a soulful and spirited acoustic accompanied duo exploring the traditions of Southern Appalachia, Northeastern fiddle music, and the realm where their own compositions cross paths with older traditions. Their hearts also lie with early American swing and jazz music. Combine this with their bold approach to song and tune-writing and their interpretations of traditional music and the result will open hearts and dance floors. Ari & Mia's "intricate arrangements, soaring harmonies, infectious grooves and intuitive improvisations combine an old-time sensibility with a truly adventurous spirit," says Hankus Netsky of New England Conservatory. Their new album, "Unruly Heart," ranked high on the national folk radio charts for 2011.
"Ari and Mia's new debut CD Unruly Heart is a thoroughly enjoyable recording that marks another young group venturing off into eclectic acoustic material, about 180 degrees from the contemporary commercial pop one associates with Friedman sisters' generation. Like their slightly older contemporaries, Crooked Still, Ari and Mia mix cello with Appalachian-folk-influenced music with clawhammer banjo, sometimes Gospel-like textures, and throw in jazz and even classical influence. Sometimes, their music can remind me of classical composer Aaron Copeland's approach to traditional American folk music. The result is eminently listenable and quite appealing."
-George Graham, from The Graham Weekly Album Review on WVIA-FM.
Ariel Friedman, a classically trained cellist from the Boston area, is one of few musicians to be challenging the boundaries of cello-playing. She graduated from Northwestern University in 2008 where she studied cello performance with Hans Jorgen Jensen, and received a masters of music in Contemporary Improvisation from New England Conservatory in 2011. A winner of ASTA's 2009 Alternative Styles Award, she is in current exploration of American roots traditions, early jazz and standards, and in composing songs and pieces influenced by her diverse musical tastes. She tours internationally with Scottish National Fiddle champion Hanneke Cassel, plays with New England's highly acclaimed fiddle band, Childsplay, and has taught at fiddle camps from New England to New Zealand.
Born into a musical family, Mia started playing violin and singing at an early age. She has her roots in Americana and old-time Appalachian traditions, and blends this with contemporary experimental music in her compositions. Mia just completed her undergraduate degree at the New England Conservatory, having studied with Anthony Coleman and Carla Kihlstedt, and is an active composer and performer. Her song "Across the Water" won the 2011 John Lennon Songwriting Contest in the folk category. She tours around the United States with Ari & Mia, performs with Merryville Grammar School, and has her own solo act.
Featured guests on their new album, "Unruly Heart," include grammy-nominated Sarah Jarosz, fiddler extraordinaire Eden MacAdam-Somer of the band Notorious, Rebecca Wudarski and Owen Marshall on guitar, Ben Krakauer on banjo, and Ari and Mia's sister, Shoshana Friedman.