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Aisha Burns, Balmorhea

Photo of Aisha Burns, Balmorheacourtesy of the artist

How would you describe your music?

Balmorhea is an instrumental band centered around acoustic instruments combining a strong classical presence with folk and rock elements.

What is your role in your band? In the studio? In business or marketing decisions?

"I am the leader of our string section, which in a performance, makes me something like a liaison between the string trio and the rest of the group. They are watching me for cues and rhythm and I am typically watching the pianist to make sure we are together.

In a broader sense, I'm responsible for writing my violin parts. In the studio, my job is to show up and perform well. I don't have a hand in production decisions, but I am always around during the mixing process to listen for any errors in the string parts. When it comes to all business aspects of the band, I am completely uninvolved. The two guys who lead the project deal with that on their own. "

Describe your gear.

My personal gear includes a violin, an L.R. Baggs pick up, an L.R. Baggs Direct Box and one pedal tuner.

Related Themes: Gear

Do you think being a woman and a musician is different from being a man and a musician? If so, how? Was there a moment that made a difference clear to you?

The difference for me is only evident in setting up for a show at a venue. Occasionally, there is a sound guy that assumes that because you are a woman (or perhaps because I look like quite a young woman) you don't really understand what's going on, or what equipment you really need. It is definitely a male dominated industry. In all realms of the process (studio recording, live shows, touring, management) we are out numbered for sure.

Related Themes: Cashing In

Do you see differences between generations of women musicians?

I do not. But really I don't know enough older women musicians to make a good judgment.

Related Themes: Off The Clock

Did anyone ever give you any valuable advice about making your way in the music industry? What advice would you give to a woman musician just starting out?

I never received any advice in particular. I sort of fell into this path more so than I deliberately sought it out. But to a woman musician just beginning in this industry, I would just emphasize how important it is to be confident. Don't let yourself be intimidated.

Related Themes: Advice

Why did you choose to play the instrument you play?

It was actually a bit of a fluke. My best friend in the 5th grade joined our elementary school's string program and I thought she was the biggest nerd for choosing violin. Probably in an effort to validate my notion of how simple and boring it was, I picked it up to see what it was like. All of a sudden, I found myself having fun, and even taught myself a few simple songs. I joined the class shortly after that. She stopped playing that year and needless to say, I was pretty hooked.

Related Themes: The First Time