On a cold, wintry Mondayevening, people gathered into as small, warmly lit restaurant for Eritrean cuisine and to listen to live music. Singer/songwriter Hannah Spiro performed at Dahlak Eritrean restau-rant in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 22 as part of a singer/songwriter collaborative group. She introduced songs from her upcoming CD, which will be released next year. "Bricks" is about a coffeehouse crush. Spiro is no stranger to coffeehouses and can relate to finding that special someone in such a setting. Coffeehouses are not just places to meet someone but they also encourage upcoming artists to bring forth their talent." "Playing Outside" had an upbeat tempo that felt like you were outside playing. Although Spiro's performance was limited to 30 minutes, she firmly established herself as a singer and songwriter. She defines acoustic music with enthusiasm and energy, strumming her guitar and pouring out her innermost feelings. She studies her craft, keeping up with the tradition of folk music. The musical road for Spiro began when she started performing in musicals at the Montgomery Playhouse and the Bethesda Academy of Performing Arts. At 9 years old, she learned to play the guitar. At 12, she started writing music. Spiro recorded her first album "Last Lights On In Town" when she was 15 and the CD was released when she turned 16. Hannah Spiro is a student at University of Maryland at College Park, majoring in philosophy and Jewish studies. In addition to music, she is part of Raqs West, a D.C.-based tribal belly dancing group. Although she wants to continue her music, her future plans are to do public service in the Jewish community and be a cantor. For upcoming performances, bookings, and music, visit Hannah Spiro's website at www.hannahspiro.com.
hannah spiro: Press
A youthful, simplistic and eclectic expression of song can be found coming from Hannah Spiro. Her clarity and spiritual love of music can be felt. You could only imagine her singing at the peak of the highest mountain. Singing to the world all of her soul's words, thoughts and passions. I enjoyed each song as I took a brief journey into her music. Very relaxing yet evenly upbeat arrangement.
As a singer-songwriter, Hannah has created a sound that is well beyond her years. She has a vocal range that allows her to sing both alto and soprano, and to be compared with Nathalie Merchant and Suzanne Vega. She takes considerable care to write lyrics that express a range of feelings, and is not afraid of taking on issues of fundamental significance, such as the Iraq War. Hannah has been performing at public venues since she was a freshman in high school.
RM senior Hannah Spiro recently played a gig at the Pourhouse in Westminster, a quaint little coffee shop with just the right ambiance and size for Spiro's alt-folk songs to be felt, as well as heard. For those who don't know, alt-folk is pop music with folk undertones.
The concert was engaging, especially when Spiro made an effort to talk to the crowd between songs. Though at times the comments and stories came out muddled, it was nice to see her involve the audience.
The show was also enjoyable because Spiro was able to turn potential problems into endearing moments. When she dropped her guitar pick not once but twice during the song "This Year", she was able to get a new one both times without missing a beat and even worked in a line about dropping picks.
Throughout the set her vocals were full of emotion, and while at some point she missed a note,it never detracted from the audience's enjoyment. The first chords to "Brick", her newest song, with its energetic vibe and syncopated rhythm easily made it one of the most engaging songs of the night.
When she announced to the crowd that the next song, "No Woman No Cry", was originally done by Bob Marley, I must admit I was skeptical. Apparently I was not the only one; a few seconds after the announcement she pointed out that another member of the crowd had raised his eyebrows.
However both of us were proven wrong. Spiro's rendition of was surprisingly original and truly reflected her unique style.
After a short break she returned with just as much, if not more, energy, although toward the end her voice sounded slightly strained.
The second half of the set included an excellent cover of "Semi Charmed Life" by Third Eye Blind. The crowd approved: some could even be heard singing along.
Toward the end she played "The Peace Song", a beautifully written piece addressing war and societal decay. As one fan said, the song is about the death of morals. The haunting chords and poetic vocals conveyed a strong sense of disillusionment.
I recommend that anyone interested in the alt-folk scene see Spiro at one of her many shows in the area.