Bio

mh-smiles Marika is a cellist, singer, composer, song-writer and teacher. A native of NYC, Marika was exposed to a varied creative life from an early age. Her parents owned a jazz club on the Upper West Side and she was fortunate to enjoy an exciting classical music life as the granddaughter of the great cellist, Emanuel Feuermann. She was a regular on Sesame Street, was a member of New York Youth Symphony, spent summers at the chamber music camp, Greenwood, was a student at festivals in Europe and busked in NYC with her high-school string quartet. Marika received her B.A. from Barnard College in political science and cello performance at the Juilliard School, where she studied with Ardyth Alton.

Shortly after completing her studies, Marika left NYC and moved to San Francisco, CA. It is there that she began to explore a musical life outside of the western classical tradition of her childhood training. In addition to playing in the Berkeley and Santa Rosa Symphonies, she joined Quartet San Francisco and enjoyed performing and recording for a host of artists and films including, Tom Waits, Mr. Bungle, Xiu Xiu, Santana and Finding Nemo.

Marika joined Carla Kihlstedt and Shahzad Ismaily in 2 Foot Yard. The band released two CDs; 2 Foot Yard (Tzadik, 2005) and Borrowed Arms (Yard Work, 2008). She founded the band Red Pocket with Jewlia Eisenberg and they released their CD, Thick, on Tzadik’s Oracle Series. She also joined Jewlia’s a cappella trio, Charming Hostess. She is a featured singer on that band’s release, Sarajevo Blues (Tzadik 2005). Marika began her compositional work here, writing string arrangements and songs for all of these groups.

In 2006, Marika moved back to NYC. She has enjoyed playing with many local musicians she has long admired as well as some superstars. She has performed and/or recorded with D’Angelo, Whitney Houston, Mary J. Blige, Sean Lennon, Valerie June, David Byrne, Lou Reed, Ani DiFranco, Imani Uzuri, Charlie Burnham, Anthony Braxton, Toshi Reagon, Adele, Aruan Ortiz, Nasheet Waits and Henry Threadgill. She has appeared on The David Letterman Show, The Jimmy Fallon Late Night Show as well as Saturday Night Live.

Upon returning to NYC, Marika began to write for her own groups. She has written songs steeped in instrumental composition and lyrical content. In the last few years she has enjoyed writing entirely instrumental tunes for her new string quartet of cello, upright bass, violin and acoustic guitar (with Rashaan Carter, Charlie Burnham and Marvin Sewell respectively). She has released three records of original music under her own name; Afterlife Music Radio (2011) with pieces written specifically for her solo cello by artists including Nasheet Waits, Carla Kihlstedt and Eyvind Kang, The Simplest Thing (2011) an album of original songs and most recently, New York Nostalgia (2016) with her band, Bottom Heavy.

Marika has worked with Triad Trust, a Boston based NGO for 10 years. The ImprovED program which Marika helped to create (in rural South Africa and Haiti) utilizes a unique improvisation technique that provides students a stage to rehearse critical moments in their young lives. Thru original song and dramatic sketches, the local ImprovED troupe teaches ideas and practices related to self care and HIV?/AIDS testing/prevention/ treatment in the communities where they live.

In addition to her cello duties, Marika enjoyed being a guest host for Terrance McKnight’s radio show, All Ears on WQXR, she has been a featured storyteller on The Moth and was a cast member of Stew’s play, Family Album produced by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Marika lives in Brooklyn, NY.