Church Of Betty Globestra | The Lazarus Rose

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The Lazarus Rose

by Church Of Betty Globestra

Centuries-old Sephardic Jewish songs arranged for and performed by modern world chamber ensemble, featuring instruments from India, Spain, the Balkans, the Middle East, and a chorus of soaring international voices
Genre: World: World Fusion
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Alta Es la Luna
2:58 $0.99
2. Ya Viene el Cautivo
4:34 $0.99
3. La Adultera
3:57 $0.99
4. Una Matika de Ruda
3:35 $0.99
5. Adon Haselichot
3:26 $0.99
6. Ventanas Altas
5:07 $0.99
7. Ven Chika Nazlia
3:27 $0.99
8. La Rosa Enflorese
3:12 $0.99
9. Tres Hermanikas
2:47 $0.99
10. Landariko
2:31 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
The Lazarus Rose is the brainchild of Chris Rael, leader of the pioneering New York Indo-pop band Church of Betty. In his 40s Rael discovered long-lost Spanish family in New Mexico and Colorado, sparking an interest in tracing back the family's Spanish Sephardic heritage to Andalusia, Spain, where he discovered traditional Sephardic songs baring striking sonic resemblances to the world-mashup compositional style he had developed over 20 years with Church of Betty. He thus took on this set of Sephardic songs, arranging them for the Church of Betty sound palette and transforming something old into something distinctively new.

Rael corralled numerous Church of Betty band mates, tabla partner Deep Singh, Bulgarian chanteuse Vlada Tomova, Spanish flamenco percussion star Nacho Arimany, and Grammy-winning bansuri flutist Steve Gorn to form the Church of Betty Globestra (pronounced "glow-biss-truh" like orchestra, not "globe-straw"), his band's world chamber orchestra incarnation. The Lazarus Rose is utterly unique, unlike any other modern rendering of the Sephardic repertoire and offering a specific combination of sounds never previously attempted.


"Rael has consistently blended rock and Indian classical music better than any Western guitar guy, ever." - Village Voice

"Sliding, scalloped phrases shape Hindustani music to the concision of pop hooks... irresistible." - New York Times

"Musical and cultural fusion of the first order." - Boston Herald

"Entrancing, a brilliant, tuneful set." - Billboard

"Purveyors of urban psychedelia, with a voice sweeter than Prince." - Magnet

"Rael achieves what George Harrison's raga noodlings only hinted at." - Creem

"Church of Betty mixes Indian and Western music into a spicy, always surprising blend that sounds like neither style alone but expands the boundaries of both." -

"Church of Betty squeezes the expansive soul of raga into the tight curves of rock, to create a complex and surprisingly harmonious hybrid." -

"Church of Betty search for ecstasy, but contribute movement, sweat, physical expression and the possibility of joy to their sensorama of sound." - Gay City News

"A must for those in search of something totally new." - Toronto Now

"Najma's passionate singing and Church of Betty's modernist psychedelia allow one to imagine Judy Garland backed by the Strawberry Alarm Clock." - New York Newsday

"Church of Betty recall an era where experimentation with exotic sounds was the norm and not a novelty, without coming off like drippy neo-hippies." - Cover

"For once, here's a band with not only the will to experiment, but the skill to pull it off." - Splendid

"Chris Rael worships the sacred in the secular, and vice versa... a rocking adventure in the canyons of your maya." - Village Voice

"Rael's compositions are singular and shimmering. Sincere, brilliant stuff." - Good Times

"Every note and nuance clear; lyrics witty, soulful, riddling; musicianship from on high, and YES, IT ROCKS!" - The Splatter Effect

"Conjures and cleanses, swoons and seduces. If otherworldy rock exists, surely this is as lofty as it gets. A rich, brimming, brilliant record." - All Music Guide

"At once pure, devotional, improvisational and profanely urban, a fascinating listen." - All Music Guide

"Weaving dulcimer, bassoon, accordion and strings seamlessly with the usual rock tools, they make a sound that's gently and seductively charming." - Cover

"A thrilling work, overflowing with vision." - All Music Guide

"After freefalling kicking and screaming into their world, you come out the other side and land firmly right back where you begin, safe but uneasy." - Circus

"A juicy primer to a world of music that is still underappreciated for its sheer creative audacity... comports itself with an air of cultural surrealism." - Jazz Times

"Brims with intrigue and romance, with influences that range from James Bond to bluegrass and far beyond... a hip introduction to the wonders of filmi, from Indian cinema's Golden Age." - RhythmMusic

"This record is not joking, and it issues a very serious challenge to all other purveyors of psychedelia." - Sound Views

"True sonic adventureland, impressive and intense." - New York Review of Records

"A culturally rich explosion, a vast garden of brilliant colors and exotic species." - Good Times

"A culture bender of avant angles and reverential sitar and sarod strains." - College Music Journal

"What is most impressive is the sense that something absolutely new and original is being attempted, which is certainly rare in the music biz these days." - The Splatter Effect

"Chris Rael succeeded where Terry Riley failed: he came back from the Himalayas singing Indian-style over a rock background and made it enchanting." - Village Voice

"The world of Betty is one previously uncharted, where sitars, Indian horns, and more westernly instruments comingle to produce music that would sound exotic in any planetary locale." - College Music Journal

"If you have a penchant for bizarre, intriguing arrangements or just plain brilliant artistic experimentation, this is the place for you." - Good Times

"Chris Rael is a musician of astonishing breadth and expression." -

"Chris Rael is a genius. He travels on a trip of movement, sweat, physical expression and the possibility of joy in a sensorama of sound. Be Here Now never felt like so much fun." - Listen Up

"Moving beyond the mere meeting of East and West... the audience is extremely integrated because the music has a universal appeal." - India Abroad

"Chris Rael, the sitar playing mastermind behind Church of Betty." - Billboard


Founder of the pioneering Indo-pop group Church of Betty and indie music label Fang Records, Chris Rael is one of New York City’s most prolific veteran composers. Critically acclaimed throughout his recording and nightclub career, Rael now writes music and prose for film, theatre, and world music orchestra.

As a young man in Maryland, Rael made weird, simple conceptual songs. Arriving in the East Village in 1986, he sought out kindred spirits and formed the independent musicians’ co-op Fang Records, releasing the underground classic Acorn by the Mommyheads, 101 Crustaceans’ Songs of Resignation, and dozens of other intrepid titles.

In 1988 he traveled to India for the first time, discovering a love for South Asian music that colored Church of Betty’s sound palette thereafter. He returned to Varanasi annually during the ’90s, studying Hindustani classical singing with the late Balchandra Patekar and sitar with Rabindra Goswami. His organic integration of these influences with progressive rock n roll broke new ground in world music composition and shaped his soaring acrobatic vocal style.

Church of Betty’s early incarnation included pianist/guitarist Ed Pastorini of 101 Crustaceans, the late Jan Kotik of the Mommyheads on drums, bassist Cindy Rickmond, and bassoonist Claire de Brunner. Later Kotik moved to guitar, and Jon Feinberg (drums) and Joe Quigley (bass) came on board as the rhythm section.

Church of Betty was part of the first wave of progressive acts through the original Knitting Factory on Houston Street. The band blanketed the downtown club scene, playing regularly at rock clubs such as CBGB, appearing on public radio, and performing at public arts venues in the U.S. and Canada. Fang released the group’s first two albums, West of the East and Kashi. Ponk Records released the third, In Search of Spiritual Junkfood.

In 1993 the group toured Europe and performed at the Contemporary Indian Music Festival in Vienna, where Rael met British-Indian world music star Najma. The two collaborated on Forbidden Kiss, a daring update of songs by classic Bollywood composers S.D. and R.D. Burman, eventually released to great fanfare on Shanachie Records in 1996. Performing with Najma, Rael met his long-time tabla partner Deep Singh.

Upon Singh’s arrival, Church of Betty reeled off a series of formidable albums from 1998 to 2003: Comedy of Animals, Fruit on the Vine, Tripping With Wanda, and Revenge of the Hippies. The group became regular favorites at Greenwich Village’s legendary Bottom Line, also performing at Town Hall, Symphony Space, Lincoln Center, the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Prospect Park, the National Mall in Washington, DC, the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, and many others, including National Public Radio's All Things Considered and A Prairie Home Companion. Betty’s live lineup included guitarist/percussionist Marlon Cherry and violinists Gregor Kitzis and Rima Fand.

Rael’s creative community extended beyond Church of Betty. He produced 100 multi-band bills for Fang, later curating music for the original Howl! Festivals. He was a member of the wildly inventive rock band The Hand with Kenny Siegal and Brian Geltner, now of the group Johnny Society. The Hand opened a studio called The Kennel in then-deserted Dumbo, Brooklyn. Joined by producers Bryce Goggin and Danny Kadar, The Kennel generated remarkable music for nearly a decade.

In 1997, Rael met and soon married performance artist Penny Arcade. The pair joined artistic forces and became the center of a thriving creative community in the Lower East Side, producing theatre, video, recordings, concerts and live performances of every ilk. Highlights included Arcade’s theatre pieces Bad Reputation and New York Values at PS122, and the couple’s Rebellion Cabaret, performed at Sydney Opera House in 2005.

Church of Betty scattered geographically in 2003. Following his solo efforts The Devil You Know and Cranberry Street, Rael relocated to Los Angeles for a couple years in the late 2000s. During this time he began creating original narrative video, scoring film, and developing his first theatrical piece ARABY, based on the short stories of James Joyce’s Dubliners. The text-and-song cycle opened to rave reviews at Dixon Place in 2009, luring Rael back to his creative community in New York.

Rael won the Outstanding Soundtrack Award at the Outfest Film Festival in Los Angeles in 2005 for Queer Realities and Cultural Amnesia, a documentary produced by the Lower East Side Biography Project. In 2011 he won the New York International Fringe Festival's Excellence in Music Composition Award for ARABY, which also appeared in the festival’s prestigious Encore Series.

Over the years he has worked with such luminaries as progressive composer Elliott Sharp; singers Annabella Lwin of Bow Wow Wow, Curt Smith of Tears for Fears, and Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond; bands Oasis, Johnny Society, White Magic, Rebecca Moore & Prevention of Blindness, Ida, Mecca Bodega, and Life in a Blender; Indian classical masters Amar Nath Mishra, Samir Chatterjee, Steve Gorn, Krishna Batt, and Ramesh Mishra; theatre stars Stew of Passing Strange, John Kelly, and Frank London of the Klezmatics; Beat poets Marty Matz, Ira Cohen, and Charles Henri Ford; punk rock legend Jayne County and pop visionary David Byrne.

He now lives in Brooklyn with Bulgarian singer Vlada Tomova and their son Sasha, composing for his new global orchestral ensemble, developing theatre and film projects, and creating scores for Halfkaste Productions, his film music company with Deep Singh. The Church of Betty extended family reunites in various incarnations to make music for inspired moments in time.



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