Original compositions inspired by folk traditions from many corners of the world.
Drawing from classical technique, improvisation and traditional folk styles, cellist Myra Joy and accordionist Diana Strong weave together complex rhythms and captivating harmonies to create a rich tapestry of sounds, ranging from delicate and subtle to playful and bold.
Sweet Moments of Confusion performs original instrumental compositions inspired by folk traditions from many corners of the world, particularly Northern and Eastern Europe. Drawing from classical technique, improvisation and traditional styles, cellist Myra Joy and accordionist Diana Strong weave together complex rhythms and captivating harmonies to create a rich tapestry of sounds, ranging from delicate and subtle to playful and bold. They produced their debut self-titled album, released in summer 2012, and perform across the West Coast.
The project is the result of nearly 8 years of collaboration, which began with new arrangements of traditional Celtic, Scandinavian, and Balkan tunes, and developed into a finely crafted repertoire of original work. Deeply informed by an Old World aesthetic yet infused with a distinctly modern voice, the music moves seamlessly between tradition and innovation.
About our name
Our name came from this quote from an appreciative listener: “Sometimes, there are these sweet moments of confusion when I can’t tell which instrument is playing what.” The phrase describes not only the way the sounds of our instruments blend together, but also something about the artistic process in which we find ourselves. Often, it is the moments when things are uncertain, when we find ourselves pleasantly disoriented, that lead us to fruitful surprises.
Diane Strong – accordion
Music has always been an essential part of my life. I began studying piano at age 7 (Susan Waterfall was my primary teacher), and throughout my young adulthood I avidly practiced classical repertoire and informally composed. At the same time, I grew up surrounded with traditional folk music from all over the world (especially Balkan music), because of my family’s connection to a vibrant music community and our yearly music camps. In 2006 I discovered the accordion, and haven’t put it down since.
People ask me what kind of music I play. I find it hard to answer that succinctly because I enjoy so many styles, including Balkan, Brazilian, Scandinavian, French musette, swing, and a growing repertoire of originals inspired by all of the above. I suppose you would call it ‘international instrumental folk music’. I’ve had the privilege to know and learn from Dan Cantrell, who has been a great inspiration to me. I studied at Balkan Camp (2008) with Chris Bajmakovic (Macedonian-American accordion virtuoso), and have been very grateful for the guidance and friendship of mandolin super-star Mike Marshall, my former housemate, violinist/fiddler Jeremy Kittel, and numerous other musicians and friends who’ve encouraged and supported me. I owe much of my musical development to Babes in the Woods, an instrumental ensemble that carved our own unique voice out of traditional folk roots. Special thanks to Myra Joy, Kristan Willits, Briana Di Mara, and Sean Tergis.
My newest project is Sweet Moments of Confusion, with cellist Myra Joy and many other talented collaborators. I also recently joined up with the Red Hot Chachkas (klezmer fusion), and perform with ensembles throughout the Bay Area, including many collaborative projects involving dance, theater and music. I taught at Zambaleta community world music and dance school, and continue to teach group and private lessons. You can find me performing solo at Cafe Divine in SF every second Thursday (7-9pm), and at Saul’s Deli in Berkeley most Saturdays (6-8pm).
Myra Joy – cello
began playing cello at six years old and holds a degree from San Francisco Conservatory of Music. In 2007, she released an album of original compositions. She is a founding member of Elameno Quintet and Sweet Moments of Confusion.
Myra has had the pleasure of collaborating with many musicians and ensembles including: Kitka, The Black Brothers, Hans York, Melanie O’Reilly, Druid Sister’s Tree Party, the pickPocket Ensemble, and Hamed Nikpay.
She has participated in masterclasses and festivals with cellists such as Stephen Geber, Richard Aaron, Nathaniel Rosen, and Peter Reijto, and studied privately with Debbie Tandoc, Peter Gelfand, Page Smith, Andor Toth, and Jean-Michel Fonteneau.
Myra Joy enjoys living and teaching on the north coast of California.