Bitter Mystics

San Francisco, CA United States

Bitter Mystics CD Promo Photo
Bio: The Bitter Mystics (formerly D'Tension) grew from a partnership between Lisa Safran and Chris Faust to produce a single song. That seed has sprouted almost 30 original tunes that this talented ensemble shares at venues in San Francisco and throughout the Bay Area.

Lisa Safran - singer/songwriter, actress, improvisor.
Lisa, a self-taught pianist has composed music for bands, musicals, and poets. After surviving the Tsunami in 2004, she realized there were two things that she had to do. One was to live and work overseas and the other was to devote more time to music. Safran moved to Thailand for two years, where she taught herself guitar and the music took on a whole new focus. Returning to San Francisco, Safran joined guitarist Chris Faust and began playing venues around the Bay Area. Lisa and Chris formed the band D'Tension and then with the addition of Misha Safran, Reid Tjaden, and guest violinist Liz Matthews, Bitter Mystics was formed and the CD Dreams that Matter produced. This CD highlights Safran’s newest collection of original songs written for guitar and also features two songs written by Misha Safran. Working with her sister in the band, has been a dream come true and a dream that most certainly matters.

Chris Faust - musician, teacher and instructional technologies expert.
Chris delights in the creative opportunities of the Bay Area and participates in a steady stream of performance projects: composing, writing, acting, dancing, singing and playing guitar. Early guitar influences were the Allman Brothers and Led Zeppelin, and later Jethro Tull and Steely Dan. While comfortable playing jazz and classical, his focus is on using guitar to support and enhance vocals. Behind the scenes, he has collaborated with other musicians and organized musical events. In 1999, he co-authored a full length musical and in 2003 his first CD was released.

Misha Safran - singer, writer, teacher, private tutor, mom! Misha Safran is currently a high school Spanish teacher in the East Bay. She has an MA in French Literature and is also a private tutor for French and Spanish. Music is a passion for Misha. She has been singing since elementary school with roles in high school musical theatre performances such as the Fantastics, Grease and West Side Story. In college she sang in the Gospel choir and for a city choir in Poitiers, France. She writes music and poetry in three languages; English, Spanish and French. When Misha is not singing she is raising her three wonderfully charming boys, hanging out with friends or grading a ton of papers! Misha joined Bitter Mystics in March of 2009, harmonizing to Lisa Safran's songs. It is an exciting experience for her to be singing again and spending time with her sister.

Reid Tjaden - percussionist, massage therapist, world traveler. His tactile rhythmic approach led him to first study Indian tabla, then bongo, conga and Persian tonbak. Experiences in playing these instruments in jazz, funk, blues, pop, R&B, world and other musical modes with various musicians in San Francisco have given Reid a flexible style that fits into many musical situations. His influences and inspirations have come from listening to a variety of percussion artists, such as Alla Rakha, Armando Peraza, Cal Tjader, Airto Moriera, Ray Cooper, Poncho Sanchez and many others. After years of only playing hand drums, Reid is currently picking up sticks to study the drum kit.

Liz Matthews – guest violinist, appears on Bitter Mystics CD Dreams That Matter. Singer, actor, teacher. Liz started playing violin at an early age and is classically trained. One of her highlights growing up was going to Vienna, Austria and playing in the World’s Music Festival and her orchestra taking Third Place. Since then Liz has played in Celtic, gypsy, rock, and Early American Folk bands all over the Bay Area and in a variety of venues, events and clubs—most recently she has been inspired by jazz and improvisation. For over 10 years, Liz has sang and performed with the Cabaret Duo—The Living Dolls Duo all over the Bay Area and California. Most recently, Liz played one of the lead roles in the play---Knocked UP. Seven years ago Liz began teaching private violin lessons to one student and since then her studio has flourished due to her teaching style with kids and adults pre-k to mature adults.
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