Ida Jo

Ida Jo

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Folk - General | Madison, Wisconsin, United States
Total Song Plays: 113   
Member Since: 2010
   Last Login: over 30 days ago

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Ida Jo

Joy. Anger. Truth. Ida Jo's second album, Singer In the Band, finds the singer with her heart on her sleeve. She has plenty to say regarding finding happiness, life's daily battles, and her own stumbles on the path to success.


Ida Jo's musical style builds on a long history of blending rock, folk and gospel music. (Think of artists like Janis Joplin, Aretha Franklin and The Band.) Energetic and rhythmic, but also heartfelt and soulful. Add to that Ida Jo's lifelong background in classical violin and you can start to see the roots of her expressive and graceful style.

"Singing is very emotional for me," Ida says. "It is the best way I know to be myself and let my feelings out." Drawing inspiration from singers like Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples, Ida Jo's voice is "powerful and soulful." (Emmie)

On her second full length record, Ida Jo continues to push the musical and lyrical boundaries of pop music. In a world where most pop music marries predictable chord structures to even time signatures (4/4), Ida Jo embraces quite the opposite. Five out of the twelve songs on Singer In the Band are in 5/4, an odd time signature usually reserved for contemporary jazz or electronic music. Ida Jo uses the rarity to her advantage, creating a groove and flow you never hear in pop music. Poetically, Ida Jo writes about pushing forward. Her songs are about recognizing and overcoming obstacles rather than dwelling on heartaches of the past. Perhaps less discussed in popular music, issues such as such as judgment and inadequacy ring true in everyone.

On violin, Ida Jo employs a seldom heard technique that is the combination of a folk fiddle style called "chopping" and her extensive classical training. She plays the rhythm, the harmony and sometimes even the melody at the same time. What it ends up sounding like is beyond explanation and without comparison, somewhere between an acoustic guitar and an orchestra. She is one of only a handful of violinists in the world to play in the style. It has been praised as "masterful and unexpected" (Emmie Music Magazine), "inventive yet accessible," (AV Club - Madison) and "avoiding rootsy fiddle or orchestral indie clich├ęs" (The Isthmus).

Already making the rounds as a theme of the current political struggles in Madison (where Ida Jo lives) is the song No (We Won't Take It). Ida Jo dresses up the feisty and soulful tune with street-protest inspired bucket-drums and cowbells. (The song is currently available in a limited "Protest Edition" from which proceeds go to the Community Empowerment Movement, an organization that works to bring political education to small communities.)

Ida Jo plays on a Jonathan Cooper violin. For more information visit www.jcooperviolinmaker.com.