The Viola Should Never Be Called a Violin

Christen Lien is a classically trained violist who uses guitar effects and live looping to expand the expressive power of the instrument and create original compositions that transcend genres.  And she can play.

The viola is typically seen as a bridesmaid to the violin, but with her debut CD: Vol. I: Battle Cry, Christen makes us forget all about the bride.  Ian Gray said it best in his review:

I’ve always felt a little bit of sympathy for the viola. The violin, in spite of its rather thin voice and high screech potential, always gets the limelight, while the richer, sonorous voice of the viola gets relegated to harmonies and pizzicatos. Well, I can feel a little less sympathy after listening to Christen Lien’s new CD Vol. I: Battle Cry. Lien definitely gives the instrument its voice back, and lets it say all the things it has the beauty and the power to say when it’s in the right hands.

Christen is working on a followup, and splitting her time between Los Angeles and DC.  She will be appearing at the Sitar Arts Center in Washington DC on Friday, December 10, 2010 from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM.  It’s a free show, but seating is limited.  Check her site, winner of a 2010 Fammy Award (best URL) for details:

Christen will also be performing at “For the Love of DC 2.0,” an event that showcases DC’s creative community and benefits Dreams for Kids’ Holiday for Hope, the world’s largest holiday event for homeless and underprivileged kids.  For the Love of DC 2.0 will be held on December 15, 2010 — check here for more details.

Your Free Friday download is “Unconditional” from Vol. I: Battle Cry.

Vol. I: Battle Cry - Christen Lien

photo credit: tracy clayton