Harpeth Rising Biographies
”An Americana Sensation” – WSM 650
“The future of original string music…” Keith Harrelson, Moonlight on the Mountain
“The vanguard of a new species of progressive folk music.” Jason D. Hamad, The No Surf Review
Harpeth Rising chose to name themselves after a river because water is both dynamic and powerful. These words also describe the music created by the three women – Jordana Greenberg (violin, vocals), Rebecca Reed-Lunn (banjo, vocals) and Maria Di Meglio (cello, vocals). Unapologetic genre-benders, they fuse Folk, Newgrass, Rock and Classical into a sound that is organically unique.
“We don’t set out to create something different, we just write in a way that is true to ourselves while trying to always expand and explore the new influences in our lives.” says Greenberg. “We’re aware of genre divisions, we’re just not bound by them.”
Hallmarks of their music include expansive three-part harmonies, consummate musicianship and a deft yet soulful lyrical perspective. Harpeth Rising’s roots run deep – from their varied ancestry across Eastern Europe to the musical hotbed of the Mid-South they now call home, they weave together ancient and modern ideas, expressing themselves through the common thread of all peoples: Folk Music.
Born from the desire to write and create original music, Harpeth Rising began on a cross-country road trip. After spending a summer jamming at campsites and attending bluegrass festivals, Jordana Greenberg (violin) and Rebecca Reed-Lunn (banjo) decided to keep the adventure alive. They started writing songs and playing out 4 to 5 nights a week, developing their sound and honing their chops. But it was with the addition of Maria Di Meglio (cello) that Harpeth Rising truly found its sound. Despite the presence of only three string instruments on stage, the three women produce a profusion of sound generally created by a much larger ensemble. Di Meglio transitions fluidly between providing the bass line and taking the melodic lead, while Reed-Lunn’s highly original style of claw hammer banjo–learned mainly by watching YouTube–is both surprisingly lyrical and intensely driving. Greenberg takes on the role of concert violinist and accompanist with equal facility, and ensures that a lead guitar is never missed.
Their live performances are high-energy kinetic events in which both their abilities and their passion for performance are obvious. Harpeth Rising can create a listening room from a rowdy bar crowd, and can inspire even the weariest of audiences. After only a few months as a band, they embarked on a self-booked tour of England, which included a performance with The Bath Philharmonia. They were invited to perform at The Cambridge Folk Festival the following summer, and have since played folk festivals across England and the United States. Building their fan base in the tradition of all wandering minstrels - passionately and by word-of-mouth - they now perform to sold-out audiences internationally. They have released four albums in as many years – Harpeth Rising (2010), Dead Man’s Hand (2011), The End of the World (2012), a collaboration with master wordsmith David Greenberg, father of Jordana, and their brand new project, Tales From Jackson Bridge, which released October 1, 2013.
Meet the Band
A native of Ontario, Canada, Jordana Greenberg began her violin studies at the age of 8 at Indiana University. She has performed as a soloist in the United States, Canada, France, Japan, and throughout South and Central America. Following her solo performance at 17 years of age with the Indiana University Symphony Orchestra music critic Peter Jacobi wrote: “…what excitement she brought to the hall…what feats of magic she already managed to shape as she moved through all the intricacies of the piece, seemingly unfazed by the challenges…” Upon hearing Harpeth Rising nearly 8 years later, he then wrote "She is a superb technician and musician. Not only does she have great talent, but so do her colleagues." Through her classical training combined with a childhood surrounded by bluegrass musicians in rural Indiana, Jordana has developed a truly unique style of playing and songwriting. She has performed in Carnegie Recital Hall, played a concert as a special guest of Ziggy Marley at the Maui Arts and Cultural Center, and has soloed with numerous orchestras. Jordana lives in Bowling Green, KY with her husband David and their menagerie of 7 dogs, 4 cats and a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig named Scarlet.
Rebecca Reed-Lunn grew up listening to Mahler, Edith Piaf, and Bob Dylan in her hometown of Davis, CA. She began teaching herself the banjo by watching Pete Seeger videos on YouTube while studying the viola in graduate school at Indiana University. Rebecca started performing across the United States with Jordana Greenberg the following year, developing an inventive style of playing that integrates her classical viola training with her left hand and traditional frailing with her right. In the following years, she has also incorporated right hand techniques of other instruments such as ukelele and Spanish guitar (also learned by watching YouTube). Rebecca was Ms. February for the 2012 Women of Banjo Calendar. She continues to develop new techniques of banjo playing at her home in Nashville, TN.
Maria Di Meglio hails from Brooklyn, and currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee. She performs a wide variety of musical styles, including classical and folk music of Eastern Europe and the Americas, and contemporary music. Her performances have taken her throughout the United States and Europe, ranging from folk stages to Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall, and Carnegie Hall. She recently completed her masters degree at the Jacobs School at Indiana University, where she served as Associate Cello Instructor to Peter Stumpf. She also completed a Pilates Teaching Certificate through the Kinesiology Department, and presides as the in-house instructor for Harpeth Rising. Also an avid teacher, she maintains a teaching studio in Nashville for cello lessons, and also pens the Harpeth Rising blog. In her free time can be found buried in various cookbooks looking for new desserts to make.