A “Vibrating Voice to Shake the Soul”-NPR
Josephine Foster is a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and composer whose “music plays games with our ideas of time and space” says The Guardian. The Nashville Scene describes her work a”fusion of art song and American folk music” and there she walks a musical high wire. Byron Coley calls her “one of this generation’s great original voices”, and she is “known to breathe new life into archaic forms, embodying the cultural archaeology of Harry Smith’s old weird America, and has lent her characteristic warbling mezzo-soprano and interpretive wit to over two decades of recordings.” Blank Forms
Since abandoning the operatic studies of her youth Josephine has released some twenty albums, song cycles drawn from her own singular songbook, performed solo or leading various ensembles, occasionally under band guises: Mendrugo, the Supposed, Born Heller. Peripheral but not insignificant are her unorthodox arrangements of 19th century German Lieder, the folkloric collection of Lorca, or her musical settings of Dickinson and other poets. Foster is a poet herself, as well as visual artist.
She has collaborated on stage or in recording with Michael Hurley, The Cherry Blossoms, Victor Herrero Band, Keiji Heino, Gyða Valtýsdóttir, Sonny Simmons, Brian Goodman, Paz Lenchantin, Jason Ajemian, The Master Musicians of Joujouka, Daniel Blumberg, Shahzad Ismaily, Heather Trost, Chris Scruggs, Lorena Alvarez, Moon Bros, Alex Neilson, Ed Askew, Susan Alcorn, Michael Zerang, Eric Chenaux, Louis Landes Levi, David Pajo, Alasdair Roberts, Victoria Williams, Hamza el Fasiki, Ailbhe Nic Oireachtaigh, Les Fils du Détroit, and Kath Bloom.
Originally from Colorado, she lives between the US and her adopted Spain and she has performed around the world at venues such as Cafe Oto, Issue Project Room, Zebulon, MoMA PS1, Constellation, Museu Nacional de Arte Contemporânea, ODA, Tangier American Legation Museum, Paradiso, Tonic, Arkaoda, Chicago Cultural Center, Les Instants Chavirés, Beirut Art Center, Teatro Fondamenta Nuove, EMPAC, Trans-Pecos, Barbican, Monasterio de Santa Maria de las Cuevas, Troubadour, Andy Warhol Museum, ZDB, Palazzo Biscari, Trinosophes, Musée national Eugène Delacroix, Brown’s Diner.
Some past festival appearances include Le Guess Who?, London Contemporary Music Festival, Donau, ArthurFest, Liverpool Biennal, ATP, Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Etcetera, KRAAK, Million Tongues, Counterflows, Stockholm New Music Festival, Suoni per il Populi, Incubate, Green Man, Platform, Serralves, Mimi. Her music appears in film and television (appearing onscreen for a tiny cameo, in the 2021 HBO Perry Mason remake, which featured several traditional songs she recorded with the Victor Herrero Band.)
For her austere newest offering Domestic Sphere sees Josephine performs solely with her electric guitar and then subverts the usual range of her voice to embody other frequencies and sounds beyond the surface layer of the songs (out April 2023) .
Godmother (Fire) and Spellbinder (Takuroku) are two recent solo records that brought front and center for the first time Josephine’s own synth arrangements. Mystery Meet and What is it that ever was? , collections of improvised song experiments released as CD-R’s in 2006, are now available in their first vinyl pressings on Feeding Tube records.
“In its unusual futurist folk aesthetic, Godmother is akin to a Tarkovsky film, and is a thrilling polished return on Foster’s earlier experimental promise.” -The Wire