Kalya Ramu’s sweet melodic voice paired with the bass timbre of Ben Dintsman will strike a unique and delightful chord. Together, Ramu and Dintsman perform as the folk duo entitled MERMAID & THE BEAR. Their lyrics convey stories in classic folk fashion through clever metaphors and images of life and personal experience. Their vocal strengths are built atop a wonderful collection of guitar compositions. Indeed, with the release of a self-titled debut album, MERMAID & THE BEAR have created a masterful fusion of styles ranging from Brazilian jazz to southern soul.
Listen to the quirky, jazz tune ‘They Say’ off of the self-titled debut album.
The opening guitar riff followed by a folk-style vocal scat flows into a jazz melody with bright lyrics and a fun tone – at the end of the chorus “they tell me that love, fades to gray, but it don’t wash away”. Among other sensations, their songs create a warm lakeside atmosphere as water based metaphors recreate feelings of continuity, belonging, and resolution. If you have the unpleasant experience of listening to the speculations and hypotheses from other people about your relationships – if what they say sounds like meaningless codswallop – might I suggest you listen to MERMAID & THE BEAR instead.
‘What We’ve Missed’ is a guitar fusion of Classical Spanish and American Folk. It is like a spring or summer breeze washing over you, lying in wild grass atop a cliff along the shoreline. Additionally, you may hear the soothing jazz breeze that is ‘Bedside Draft’ (listen to album stream below). The beauty of the guitar shines through the subtle complexity of the picking styles and chord progressions. ‘Puzzle Pieces’ contains quirky images of people as puzzle pieces as their personalities are changeful and stitched together. Peaceful images of rainfall are called forth in ‘Rain Song’. And to top it all off, Kalya’s vocals will lead you into a swinging rhythm through songs such as ‘Hammock Song’ and ‘Doo Wop Doll’. The album is an overall refreshing sound with a range of styles including Jazz, Brazilian, Blues, Folk, Soul, and Garage Rock.
Interesting fact: the album artwork is a collaboration featuring Kalya’s watercolour work and her sister Shen Ramu’s (Guru Studios, Toronto) illustrations. Besides her work as a musician, Kalya is also a visual artist working mainly with watercolour paintings, ink illustrations and some graphic poster design.
With current aspirations to expand into a five piece band, the Toronto based folk duo met as infants and grew up together as childhood friends before setting out in 2015 to create substantial artistic work. That journey ended with the release of their debut self titled album, but it launched an exciting new chapter. What started as initial joke songs about silly kid’s things, evolved into the desire to create something substantial.