Grade 13: Sidewalk Chalk

In Music on January 20, 2009 at 9:18 am


Crowds packed into the Cakeshop  anxiously awaiting show time.  A white projector screen was pulled in front of the stage and a music video for “Utopia” played while the girls were hyped and ready to perform for their doting fans.  The party had begun.  

blame-the-patientBlame The Patient, an indie pop group of high school teens opened the show.  Sophie Kapur’s voice is like butter and “cotton candy clouds” over the intelligently skilled instrumentalists.  Their original songs are catchy and their cover of Gramercy Arms’ “Shining Bright”, which is a UK hit, was brilliant. Keep your eyes open for these young new yorkers.  They are worth the attention.

Grade 13 is a group of 6 girls between the ages of 15 and 18.  They were brought together through a performing arts organization, ViBe Theater, that empowers teenage girls in the New York City area by encouraging their creative originality.  We had the privilege to speak with the immensely talented girls right before their CD release show at the Cakeshop, January 18th.  ViBe Theater has clearly inspired and built confidence in these young women to go after their dreams.  Shanae Esquilin wants to continue on in the music business while others like Alexandra Olivier and Sabrina Lopez want to head on to college for Journalism and English.   Monae Priolenau, a ViBe Music Makers alumni from 2005 commented on the all girl organization, “being with all girls is unique because there is no competing and you feel like you can be completely yourself.”


In less than 6 months Grade 13 wrote and recorded, Sidewalk Chalk, an album of 11 tracks written solely and completely by the girls.  Their favorite part of recording?  “Definitely the Tai food.”  Each wrote an individual song with personal depth and meaning, speaking sincerely and uninhibitedly about poverty, war, self-awareness, and sexual identity.   Mawia Khogali’s song “Soul Genocide” is a striking track  and is the bands top pick for their best single.  Our favorite track is “Concrete Maryanne,” written by Ricky Suarez, which has more of a rock vibe than the albums other tracks.   The group emanates a camaraderie; they clearly have each others’ backs on stage and off.  Union Pool will host the girls on January 22nd.  Head on over and be prepared for an inspirational performance of wit, energy, and soul.


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