Kotorino, Paul Fonfara (Painted Saints)


Paul Fonfara (Painted Saints)

Thu · October 6, 2016

10:00 pm


This event is 21 and over

We perform darkly elegant, trippy, gypsy-flavored ‘parlor rock’ with latin and carnivalesque touches. Violins, guitar, horns, bass, drums and rich vocal harmonies make for a unique mix of old world and new sensibility.

We play clubs, parties and events all over New York, most recently at Joe’s Pub, Barbes, The Way Station, Pianos – even the Annual Musical Saw Festival.

Our members are involved in a variety of bands in the Brooklyn music scene. They represent the many different cultural influences in the band: Jesse Selengut heads the Jump Jazz trio Tin Pan, Stefan Zeniuk runs Gato Loco a 11-piece psycho mambo outfit, Molly White is one half of Peach&Knife a bittersweet vocal duo and also sings in Nevenka, a Balkan women’s choir, Mike Brown plays bass with a variety of avant-jazz ne'er do wells when he’s not playing Carnegie Hall, Ellia Bisker heads the uke- fueled, dark cabaret pop that is Sweet Soubrette.

Somehow the differences holds it all together, the various backgrounds and influences inform and support each other; something we feel that New York City is continually teaching us.
Paul Fonfara (Painted Saints)
Paul Fonfara (Painted Saints)
Painted Saints is centered around the songwriting of Paul Fonfara. With odd cinematic twists, and a transparent sense of sincerity they tackle a Spaghetti Western, Heroin Klezmer, Experimental Sad Bastard Chamber Folk, Psychadelic Shoegaze Dirge Motown, Andrew Bird if he was from Twin Peaks sound.

A transplant to Minneapolis from Denver, where after finishing a degree in music studying Clarinet, Fonfara got his start in DeVotchKa, then moved on to record and tour internationally with 16 Horsepower/Woven Hand and with Jim White on David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label. When Fonfara settled in Minneapolis 9 years ago, his well-honed and exploratory talents were immediately recognized as he became a member of local favorites Spaghetti Western String Co., balancing the precision and delicacy of that band with the raucous playfulness of the Brass Messengers, and silent movie film scores of Dreamland Faces. To fill out Painted Saints, Fonfara recruited many of Minnepolis’ finest players including members of The Poor Nobodys, and Dark Dark Dark.

Throughout all of his time working with other bands and collaborators, Painted Saints has remained Fonfara’s outlet for his own songwriting. A talented painter, his songs become sprawling sonic landscapes of visually imagistic lyrics, often as melancholic and forceful as they are shimmering and lovely. Lyrically, the songs are populated by escapist dreamers, flailing underdogs, and children’s imagined civil wars. Songs find inspirations in Henry Darger paintings, a boxer comtemplating his life between the moment he takes a hit on the chin to hitting the canvas, children watching the world below from the tallest Pine tree in small town Wyoming, and bike rides through blizzards.

Painted Saints 2006’s Company Town and 2007’s The Bricks Might Breathe Again, share much in common with his work with other bands, with more focus on Slavic-style orchestrations, building on a chamber-folk sound. No Match For Greater Minds, from 2011, takes a turn for more aggression, with a seething, sometimes tense wall of sound. In 2015, Paul was writing music for an English documentary about Slava Polunin, made my the same film makers who did the cult favorite Searching For the Wrong Eyed Jesus. While the film was struggling to finish itself, Paul won a MN Artist Initiative grant using the film's musical sketches. We was then able to record his first mostly instrumental orchestral album and create a series of 8 original films: Seven Secrets of Snow. Painted Saints will release their 4th record, Giant in 2017.
Venue Information:
Union Hall - Brooklyn
702 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11215