Rocking a repertoire that encompasses French cabaret, klezmer, tango and Tin Pan Alley, Padam Padam (named after an Édith Piaf song) should work nicely for a classy, continental evening out. Vocalist Lisa Platt has a winking sort of delivery that bridges the gap between the eras of the songs' origins and the sensibilities of contemporary listeners. The interplay between Kathy Fors' accordion and Barbara Bernstein's viola, with the strong support of Jaime Leopold's double bass, conveys the pleasure of shared music-making. And, to these ears, it's actually Leopold's own composition, "Window on Prince Street," that is the highlight of the ensemble's self-released, self-titled album. Hopefully, the group will continue to synthesize its influences and come up with more original material. —JEFF ROSENBERG, WILLAMETTE WEEK.
Padam Padam? Some say it's a slang term for Paris, some say it's what Edith Piaf sang when she couldn't remember the lyrics. But based in Portland, Oregon, Padam Padam is a lively assortment of instruments and vocals, playing music inflected with styles from around the world. Padam Padam transports you to cabarets and streets, to the far corners of the world as they play music from Latin America, the European cabaret scene and contemporary North America. Our repertoire includes tunes by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, Eddie Cantor, Xavier Cugart, Tom Waits, Jacques Brel and even Ms. Piaf herself. Plus some outstanding Padam Padam originals.
Singer, Lisa Berkson Platt, is a recovering arts administrator by day and a cheeky cantatriz by night. Trained early on in opera, Lisa quickly gravitated to singing in the smoky underworld of cabarets and nightclubs where she feels at home to this day. A musical sponge, Lisa performs the music of many different cultures including Mexico, Spain, France, Germany, Portugal, Portland and Appalachia. Always over extended and often creating havoc with her family, Lisa swears that come what may, she will never give up “The Band”.
Barbara Bernstein, viola, Venezuelan cuatro, guitar, vocals and political conscience, is a musician, composer and audio artist. In 1971 she left the East Coast in search of her muse, which she happily found in Portland, Oregon, and there she has made her home ever since. Trained as a classical violinist, she took up old timey fiddling, beginning her excursion into other worlds of music. By the early 1980s she had put down the violin and picked up the viola as her musical horizons broadened into klezmer, jazz and world music. When she isn’t playing music she produces public radio documentaries, an occasional video and hosts a weekly environmental show on KBOO-FM.
Jaime Leopold, string bass, guitar, piano, vocals, was born in New York, but came out to Portland at the tender age of four. He studied piano as a child hoping to become a jazz pianist, but was steered to the string bass by a desperate high school band instructor. It seemed to stick. Moving to San Francisco at seventeen to go to college, he fell in with a group of Haight-Ashbury musicians and eventually joined, toured and made several records as part of Dan Hicks and the Hot Licks. He returned to Portland in 1978 and has been playing bass, piano and guitar, and composing ever since. Mr. Leopold, a model citizen, now enjoys performing with Padam Padam and composes a growing portion of the band’s repertoire. He is also trying to train his dog Lucy to play harmonica. So far, no luck.
Kathy Fors, accordion, melodica, piano and alto horn, has been an accordion enthusiast since she was very young. She studied classical piano as a lass, but found the piano difficult to transport. She picked up (literally) the accordion in the 1990s, playing mostly folk music from Scandinavia and a few polkas. Now Kathy enjoys playing folk music from around the world—France, Mexico, Germany and the Balkans. Kathy deejays at KBOO-FM Community Radio in Portland, where she plays music from all around the world. She also plays with the 6-piece Balkan band Kafana Klub. Today she is lucky enough to join in with this sweet yet maudlin cabaret quartet -- her heart beats Padam Padam every time she takes the stage.
Clark Salisbury's musical journey has brought him through folk music, jazz, rock, pop, electronica and experimental music to his current location - world music. When he's not playing with Padam Padam, he keeps busy with Oregon's Grammy-nominated Middle Eastern/World music band, Brothers of the Baladi. Clark has added the oud (Arabic lute) and saz (Turkish stringed instrument) to his repertoire, which includes electric and acoustic guitar, bass and electronics. In addition to the Brothers, he plays with other musical configurations too numerous to mention. Clark is also a recording engineer, with many award-winning productions under his belt. His technical articles have appeared in Electronic Musician and Keyboard magazine, among others.