Loire Cotler is a vocal artist unlike any other. Her range and repertoire expand across cultural and stylistic definitions.
Don't ask. Just listen. Because you have to hear it to believe it.
One day, in New York City...
I ran beneath a bird formation along the Hudson River.
The beating of their wings, the pulse of my feet and the rhythm of my breath carried me in a new direction. In that moment, the Rhythm Vocalist was born.
"Ta Ka Di Mi Doo-dn Be-Op Di Mi Ta Ka thom doom DHUM Jaah nu sah pah…"
Don't ask. Just listen. Because you have to hear it to believe it. It’s a staccato swing that’s alive– essential and timeless – passionately explored by an artist named for a river that has spawned centuries of accomplishment and creativity.
For Rhythm Vocalist Loire Cotler, life has always been about the natural rhythm of the universe which has propelled her into a life, like her music, that is defined by pure cadence and pulse. Loire has now done no less than create an entirely new genre using the intimate power of her voice as a rhythm instrument.
She calls upon a distant past of sacred ritual and echo vocal traditions (the Jewish nigunim, Middle Eastern taksim and Konnakol Indian drum language). Improvising compositions that are both hypnotic and playful, she’s an artist in total command of her unique craft. Phrases like “Peerless artistry” (The Jerusalem Post), “Astonishing” (Chicago Tribune), “Jaw dropping dexterity” (Chicago Classical Review) are commonly used to describe her.
Becoming a Rhythm Vocalist wasn’t the point at the beginning. Loire’s childhood break from the constraints of rote learning like the Suzuki piano method into early study of Music Therapy and eastern philosophies led beyond western discipline and into musics of the world. There was no way to keep a classical leash on her training. An incredible solo by the legendary Cuban percussionist Cándido when she was eleven actuated her own sense of timing and space, launching lifelong karmic encounters with master drummers and percussionists all over the world.
But her work today is a culmination of so much exploration and acclaim: WNYC, PBS, CBS, Italian and Spanish National Radio– Loire is accomplished in all genres. Her first jazz mentor as a teenager at the Long Island HS for the Performing Arts, Dave Burns (Trumpeter with Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington, Thelonius Monk), quickly recognized her innate ability and introduced her to the art of scat-singing.
Creating herself as a world class Rhythm Vocalist only happened as a result of first mastering a bold, eclectic repertoire from Medieval to Be-Bop and World Music to Avant-Pop. She sings from the Great American Songbook with a jazz style all her own, and often bridges both in the same performance. She is as adept with piercing Konnakol as she is with, say, her own original compositions or a dreamy interpretation of the Carmichael/Mercer jazz standard “Skylark.” The New York Times has called her work “explosive.”
On then, to collaborations with Grammy Award winners Glen Velez, Howard Levy, Eugene Friesen, and performances with Chitravina Ravikiran, Nina Stern, Kepa Junkera and Milica Paranosic. These iconic artists have helped create the perfect combustion to ignite the multi-directional textures of her work that include recording for film and TV with film composers Robert Miller, Edward Bilous, sound designer Bill Chesley and film editor Bruce Ashley.
Loire refers to her unique vocalizations – in the spirit of John Coltrane – as her “call to prayer.” and her live audiences all over the world dutifully assemble. The Het Parool Nieuws exclaims “ … The lament of Loire goes through the body and the bones.” The Taipei Chinese Orchestra, National Chinese Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Parco della Musica Contemporanea Ensemble, Fulcrum Point New Music Project and a live festival audience of over 150,000- can all attest to her peerless virtuosity as a soloist. She has also been receiving rave reviews for her leading role in THE NEWS Techno-Video-Pop Opera (2012-present) by composer JacobTV.
Her mission then was established- to show the world the power of the voice as a rhythm instrument, and its super-human capacity to deliver to unimaginable. A toddler anywhere in the world instinctively knows what to do with a wooden spoon and an upside down soup pot. She conjures this primal need to connect through sounds and rhythms that have no language barrier. In performance she seeks your eyes and energy and with impromptu call and response, inviting audiences to join her mystical world of complex rhythm and chant.
Loire’s profound interest in the instinctive rhythmic-interconnectivity of migrating birds plays a vital role in her teaching. Birds traveling in a “V” formation all ride the wind vortex they create together – generated by the upward and downward wash of the wings, allowing maximum distance with a minimum of energy. She applies this natural efficiency to her students who replicate the flying motion in time with their arms, while vocalizing a rhythmic phrase together. Result: a deeper groove; a stronger synchronization between their breath and pulse. “Loire’s interactive presentation is one of the true milestones in the development of our students’ musical consciousness. They walk out afterwards forever changed in the way they hear music. She has truly expanded the musical world for hundreds of young Juilliard students.” (Ray Lustig, DMA, Professor, The Juilliard School)
She has been invited to present at conservatories throughout the world, including regular master classes at The Juilliard School and The Academy—a program of Carnegie Hall. Loire has a Bachelor Degree from Berklee College of Music and a Master Degree in Music Therapy from NYU. She was a Professor of Music Therapy at The New School (2001-2007) and worked extensively as a Music Therapist in hospitals and clinics around New York City. She attributes much of her rhythmic approach to the groundbreaking Handance Method by Percussive Arts Hall-of-Fame member Glen Velez. “One day in New York City… I ran beneath a bird formation along the Hudson River. The beating of their wings, the pulse of my feet and the rhythm of my breath carried me in a new direction.” -Loire Cotler
Bio written by Drew Dix