- LISTEN TO NPR/ WKSU Shuffle: Cleveland Musician Uno Lady Creates One-Woman Choir Out of a Suitcase
Cleveland’s Christa Ebert utilizes a microphone, mixer and electronic effects pedals to create a solo “ghost choir,” or lush layers of her vocals interwoven together, as the dynamic, one-woman project, Uno Lady.
The result is an eclectic blend of husky, a cappella jazz singing with doo-wop, pop and folk vocal elements that meld together to create a cohesive sonic collage.
The nonprofit provides resources to local creatives to hone their skills and perform new works for the community at the conclusion of their residencies.‘Instead of overplaying and playing out way too much to raise all this money, I can just focus on creating.’
Uno Lady performs out of a couple of vintage suitcases where her mixer board and pedals are stored.
“This is my second podium I created — it’s an invention of mine,” Ebert said. “It’s a vintage suitcase that expands with a scissor lift, and it has little hooks so that it can be at waist level so I can twirl the knobs and do things my feet can’t do with the pedals.”
The musician sings into a microphone and carries her vocals through several effects pedals. Then, the sound is run through a loop pedal.
She captures this existing sound, records over it, then records over it several more times to create a dense aural experience created solely out of the words and notes she sings.
Concluding her AST residency
Ebert said earning the Akron Soul Train fellowship has been beneficial for her as a solo artist, as it has allowed her the opportunity to take time off work to focus on her art, receive a stipend and gain access to resources that have allowed her to create a new body of work.
“So instead of overplaying and playing out way too much to raise all this money, I can just focus on creating,” Ebert said. “I’m grateful for the support they give me.”
Through the project, she plans to increase the reach and depth of her performances and invest in new equipment to better engage with the Greater Akron community.
Her performance at the end of the Akron Soul Train residency will include a visual aspect as well.
Ebert said she purchased a camera and plans to obtain a projector to layer footage of nature and her time spent visiting National Parks on a screen to match her songs.
“I hope that has a transportive, meditative effect on the audience,” Ebert said.
The final performance as an Akron Soul Train resident will take place Feb. 8 at Akron Recording Company.
Improvising aspects of her performance
Ebert’s live performances as Uno Lady weave listeners into a web of sound and include improvisational elements, as many of her sonic creations are developed on the spot.
She develops many of her songs in the moment for the audience, sending her live vocals through pedals and into a loop station where she can then record and layer each piece to build out an entire song.
Uno Lady is an EarthQuaker Devices featured artist and is unmistakable in her innovative use of effects pedals and her whimsical, eclectic rig setup.
She has played out across local DIY venues, libraries, museums and even inside freight elevators, pushing the boundaries of art and music with each performance.‘I hope that has a transportive, meditative effect on the audience.’
Evolving as a musician
Ebert is a self-taught musical artist. She grew up singing in choirs and became part of the Northeast Ohio music scene first as an attendee and avid listener of local bands.
She felt she needed to have her own outlet musically and creatively, and she began working on her craft at home alone. She taught herself how to use Logic Pro on a computer and soon began layering her own vocals.
Ebert was eventually asked to play a live show, and it was then she began experimenting with layering her vocals through different pedals.
“As I started to play, I realized I wanted to make it more engaging for the audience,” Ebert said. “So I started to loop and get a loop pedal and started to do more compositions that could be created right in front of the audience.”
Working on tracks for an upcoming release
Ebert has new material ready for an upcoming Uno Lady record. She is shopping around her album, “Osmosis,” to various labels.
Her prior releases include “Amateur Hour,” Taco Cat” and “I Really Like Genetics but I’d Rather Have a Good Time.”
- SUPER NO BUENO: A Chat with Uno Lady
By Ted Zep, AKRON, OH – “Simply described, Uno Lady is a one-woman choir. Using a mixer and loop pedals to layer her vocals, Uno Lady creates music that is vulnerable, affecting and thick with atmosphere. Her sound is sensitive and thrilling yet melancholy and oblique. She is a unique voice, even amongst the unique voices of the Cleveland music scene. I recently interviewed the singer in anticipation of her upcoming gig in Akron at EarthQuaker Day 2018.
Name? Christa Ebert
Age? Under 80
City of birth? Cleveland, OH
Current city of residence? Cleveland, I’m a 5th generation Clevelander.
Do you come from a musical family?
No, not really, some of my family appreciates music, but there aren’t other musicians or singers that I grew up with. A direct quote from my stepdad is “I hate music.”
When did you start singing? (Are you classically trained?)
I have been serenading anything that would listen for as long as I can remember. The first song I have a memory of writing was about the moon at age 6. I sang in choirs in school and church but was never classically trained. I took a handful of sight-reading and voice lessons for the first time, just a few years ago.
How do you describe the sound and lyrical content of your work?
You use a variety of EarthQuaker Devices pedals in your recording sessions and live shows. How have those units defined your sound?
The pedals have expanded my sound immensely. I feel like my sound library is limitless and I am constantly discovering new noises to explore. I use Disaster Transport Sr. in every song. I love the sound of its delay and reverb and that I am able to control the intensity. Afterneath’s reverb is creepy in the best way, like a witch in a cave. I use that in most songs. Bows is another pedal that I utilize often. Its preamp helps my main vocals stand out from the rest of the layers I create.
Describe “Uno Lady?” Is she simply a banner to perform under or more of a character/point of view?
Uno Lady is me but fancier. It is all an excuse to buy and wear dresses to punk shows.
What are the benefits and drawbacks of being a solo act?
Benefits of working alone include making my own schedule, timelines, not having to get others approval, and creating a sound that is truly unique. Cons include not having someone to bounce ideas off of, having to make the entire composition alone, and not have the creative fusion and new ideas that come with collaboration.
What type of music do you listen to in your personal life?
I grew up listening to a lot of oldies and that is still a staple in my rotation: girl groups, Motown, Doo Wop, soul, psychedelic rock, etc. I love garage, surf, punk, post-punk, new wave, alternative and experimental rock too. I’m not that good at talking shop about genres. If it sounds good, I’ll listen to it. I am typically not a fan of songs that use a lot of Autotune nor nu-metal.
You will be performing at the EarthQuaker Day festival on August 4 in Akron. Besides yourself, who are you looking forward to checking out?
I’m super stoked about the whole lineup! This Moment in Black History are my dudes and are amazing. Lisa Belladonna is a musical goddess and I am captivated by her skills every time I see her play. I’m stoked to see Houseguest perform again. This will be my first time seeing Shivering Timbers and The Man I Fell In Love With but I am looking forward to it.
Uno Lady will be performing at EarthQuaker Day 2018 in Akron on Saturday, August 4. Held annually by noted effects pedal manufacturer EarthQuaker Devices, it is a day filled with music, clinics, vendors and tons of other activities. Uno Lady takes the stage at 1 PM. Also on the bill: This Moment in Black History, Houseguest, The Man I Fell In Love With, Shivering Timbers and Lisa Bella Donna. It’s a stacked lineup. Clinics start at 11 AM and music starts at 1 PM. The event will be held on the EarthQuaker Devices compound located at 350 W. Bowery St., Akron, OH. 44307.
Visit UnoLady.com for more information about her work and upcoming appearances.
Click HERE for the full rundown about EarthQuaker Day 2018.
To learn more about EarthQuaker Devices, follow this link.
- Akron Soul Train: Full Steam Ahead
Akron Soul Train announces 2018-19 fellows; nearly doubles number of artists supported
CANVAS MAGAZINE, CLEVELAND – “After supporting a total of seven local artists since its inception in 2016, the Akron Soul Train announced its latest class of fellows would nearly double that figure.
Thirteen emerging and established artists will serve as Akron Soul Train fellows from September 2018 to August 2019, including the program’s first artist of color, first non-Ohioan and first two musicians, says Natalie Grieshammer, Akron Soul Train arts and programming manager.
The Akron Soul Train fellowship selection committee reviewed 70 applications. Each of the 13 selected will lead a community program during their fellowship as well as present a final exhibition or performance in Akron to share the artwork they created.
“Akron Soul Train is thrilled to be supporting so many new artists this fellowship round. Expanding the number of artists we support allows us to not only validate the role of excellent local and regional artists, but helps enrich the greater Akron arts landscape,” Grieshammer says. “Since each fellow will be creating and leading a community program, Akron area residents will have opportunities to engage with each artists’ unique creative perspective in ways that they may not usually get to.”…
Christa Ebert, of Cleveland, is a musician widely known as Uno Lady. She blends elements of jazz, doo wop, ’60s pop and folk through her voice, electronic pedals and unconventional instruments.” – By Marissa Nichol
- Uno Lady is an Akron Soul Train Fellow
I’m ecstatic to announce I’ve been named an Akron Soul Train fellow. It is a privilege and an honor to be a part of the fellowship program. Thank you for the opportunity to share my art and support my work.
“Akron Soul Train (AST) is thrilled to support 13 new local and regional artists from September 2018 through August 2019. The AST Fellowship Selection Committee reviewed 70 applications and selected a wide variety of excellent visual and performing artists, ranging from emerging to more established. Each artist will lead a community program during their fellowship as well as present a final exhibition or performance in Akron to share the artwork they created.” – Akron Soul Train
- May 20: One-Woman Band Uno Lady & Cartoon Music Sextet Play Ohio City House Concert
Cool Cleveland – “The Mechanic Street house concerts, held in the living room of Ohio City residents Joel Elvery and Lynn Phares generally feature Americana/roots-style artists from around the country, looking for intimate settings to play while on tour.
This week they’ll be hosting a pair of local artists they believe people ought to hear.
Christa Ebert aka Uno Lady constructs her intriguing earworms of tunes using by mixing and looping her own voice, adding layer after layer to create a billowing cloud of ethereal sound. She’s been developing her act for a decade, and won Cuyahoga Arts and Culture’s Creative Workforce Fellowship for her unusual approach to pop music.
By contrast to Ebert’s one-woman show, Powerhouse 5 features six noted Cleveland jazz musicians who will somehow shoehorn themselves into the living room to perform the music of Raymond Scott who composed classic cartoon music in the ’40s and ’50s and was a major influence on the entire genre with his offbeat, lighthearted compositions.
It’s a $20 suggested donation, all of which goes to the artists. To make a reserve and learn the exact location, email email@example.com. doors open at 6:30, music starts at 7pm.”
- Applause Performances: Uno Lady on WCPN Ideastream
“When she sings, she sounds like an entire chorus of voices. But in reality, she’s performing solo.
Thanks to the wonders of today’s digital technology, Christa Ebert – AKA ‘Uno Lady’ – is able to overlap her voice in real time, creating catchy yet haunting music that’s truly unique.
Recently she submitted her latest video for NPR’s Tiny Desk contest, and while she didn’t win, her performance stood out for us among all the other submissions from Northeast Ohio.
So we invited ‘Uno Lady’ to our Key Bank studio for our April edition of ‘Applause Performances,’ live on both 90.3 and our ideastream Facebook page starting at 12:40 p.m. ET.” – By Dave DeOreo & Dan Polletta
Continue reading →
- Cleveland Magazine: You Need To See This Vocal Looper In Action
Whoever said you needed more than one person to form a band forgot to tell Christa Ebert. Performing under the moniker Uno Lady, this one-woman choir uses a microphone, small mixer and loop pedal perched on a podium to create an emotional musical experience. Each performance is a little bit different as Ebert, 35, uses her pedalboard to layer haunting melodies with syncopated beats on top of rich soundscapes to create her distinctly transportive music. With a record on the way this year, Ebert continues to create new sounds to entrance and mesmerize her audiences. My earliest memories are of singing. I remember trying to organize a concert on the playground in the third grade. I have no choice but to sing. It’s a part of me.Uno Lady is basically myself, but a fancier version. I have always wanted to be in a band, but it just wasn’t happening. So I started to create music on my own. At my first gig at Pat’s in the Flats in 2007, I sang into my computer alongside a projection of an old drug education film to have a visual element. I would describe Uno Lady as a one-woman ghost choir, lush layers, captivating, mesmerizing, always spinning you into a musical web.My process has definitely evolved over the years. I started with a laptop and a microphone and then built my first homemade podium with a space for my computer and my loop pedals so I could build songs live and the audience could see me create.
Letting the audience see my process helps them get in the moment with me and be a part of a shared experience. Music is a way to connect with total strangers. It’s a way to find your tribe hundreds of miles from your home. I really appreciate when someone shares their attention and is open to experience the performance with me. It makes us feel like we’re in it together.
Sometimes after the show, people will share that I reached them or inspired them to create their own music.
I had a tough biker guy once tell me I made him cry. I had written a song called “Ash Wednesday” about a tragic fire that happened in Lakeview Elementary School in 1908. I told that biker guy, “I’m sorry, and you’re welcome.”
During a show, I get caught up in the moment, lost in the music, and I’m part of that place and time where everything floats by. Ideally, I reach a good flow and nothing is going through my head except the music. But it took a lot of work and discipline to get to that space. I used to have intense stage fright. Nerves are proof that I am challenging myself, trying something new and growing as a person.
At the end of a concert, I want audiences to know that they are not alone and that someone understands them. They can do whatever they want to do. — as told to Ken Schneck
- Uno Lady #15 of 20 Reasons Why Our Music Scene Rocks- Cleveland Magazine
- Uno Lady is Awarded 2018 Panza Foundation Grant
My face hurts from smiling. I love the Panza Foundation and am honored to be a recipient of their generosity. They provide something truly unique and very much needed in the Cleveland music community. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
CLEVELAND, Ohio – Cleveland’s non-profit Panza Foundation will give cash grants in 2018 to four local musical projects: Hip-hop duo FreshProduce., sludge metal act Pillars, avant-garde pop vocalist Uno Lady and indie rockers The Village Bicycle…
In addition to playing dozens of shows this past year, experimental “one woman choir” Uno Lady became an Earthquaker Devices artist, and now incorporates many of Akron-made pedals into her creations. She was also part of Dark Songs, a week-long collaborative songwriting festival at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay, WI which ends with a two day show at their local performance art theater, Third Avenue Playhouse. This coming year, Uno Lady plans to write and record a new album with the support of the Panza Foundation.”
- Read Katherine Cooper’s Review of the Transformer Station Uno Lady Show
June 9, 2017 – “The angel of illness arrives during the Lady Uno Concert. Her melodies come from whale songs. She says she casts spells and as I grow more nauseous I think she meant that literally. I excuse myself and go throw up. Food poisoning? Criticism should not acknowledge the limits of the critics body, I tell myself. But my body has a different idea. Uno Lady has a small podium with purple lights which she sits behind. The faint outline of a projector outlines the wall behind her.
She’s been doing this for a while, somebody whispers to me.
She describes herself as a “one woman choir” and the description seems apt. Have you ever had a moment when you know you’re watching a star? I don’t mean a celebrity. I mean somebody who pulsates like a light from a very long distance away which may or may not still exist. She loops her voice so tightly there’s almost no room for anything else, which works. The song “Underground,” feels like it could leap into a dance track at any moment but never does. Her lyrical imagery from the natural world combined with a stage presence which relies on skill over affect to compel you to watch join with her commitment to seeing a musical mood to its breaking point. Her material reminds me of a sonic world in between Joanna Newsom and Frank Ocean with a little bit of Joy Division thrown in there, but all happening on Venus. Or maybe just Cleveland in 2017.
I excuse myself, get info from the gallerist about what I’ve seen, and toss and turn under a spell, with a bowl next to my bed just in case it happens again, or I catch some starlight.” Full post here