Diana Strong

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).