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Unwoman (aka Erica Mulkey) is a San Francisco-based cellist-singer-songwriter and the recipient of the 2015 Steampunk Chronicle Reader's Choice Awards for Best Solo Musician and Best Album (Circling). Layered with skillful cello, rich vocals, and electronically arranged beats, her music is a futuristic homage to her classical training. Unwoman's solo performances have been featured at major steampunk, goth, and sci-fi-related events all over the United States. Extremely versatile, able to perform with no amplification, just cello and voice ("acacella"), on acoustic or electric cello, with or without live looping, or with full backing tracks, she also plays the piano, cello banjo, and theremin. She has gained notoriety for her collaborations as well, including Amanda Palmer, Abney Park, Stripmall Architecture, Voltaire, Rasputina, Jill Tracy, Vernian Process, Caustic, Anthony Jones, Jody Ellen, Nathaniel Johnstone Band, Black Tape for a Blue Girl, and Attrition.
Unwoman's most recent release, Circling, is her sixth original album, and was her ninth successful kickstarter campaign. Literary classical pop, with lyrics both ironic and sincere, it's received high praise. From Entropic Worlds: "This quality of rich visual and emotional world building can be found in most of the songs on this record, to greater or lesser degrees, and explains why it stands up so well to many, many listenings. It's one of the things Unwoman does best, but its far from the only thing she does well."
Unwoman performs solo and as a guest in other bands throughout the US. Unwoman's solo sets have been featured at Dragon*Con (Atlanta 2013, 2014) Steamcon I - IV (Seattle), Wicked Faire and Steampunk World's Fair (New Jersey), Clockwork Alchemy/Fanime (San Jose, CA), Teslacon (Madison, WI), Her Royal Majesty's Steam Symposium (Long Beach, CA 2012-2015), WorldCon (Reno, NV 2011), A-Kon (Dallas, TX 2013), Steampunk Cruise (New Orleans & Caribbean), Victoria Steam Exposition (Victoria, BC), and many other major events. See the calendar for upcoming events.
"And just like that, Mulkey has kept me enraptured through fifteen tracks of what should be deceptively simple:
one instrument and one voice, used to amazing effect. Having witnessed her play in a myriad of settings, with
electronic backing tracks, the looping pedal, and accompanied only by her cello and voice, I think I can safely say
that there is little Mulkey cannot do. The possibilities are, to borrow from the album title, infinite."
"Undoubtedly, the night's most successful performer was Unwoman.
Known for busking in BART stations and side-manning with the band Stripmall Architecture, she took the stage in
Victorian garb: lacy blouse, black-widow skirt, tiny top hat affixed to the side of her head. She sang Etta James'
"At Last" in a lustrous vibrato."
"Like Kate Bush or Nico, Unwoman bravely steps beyond the word of pop, or anything remotely close to rock,
into an uncategorizable, adventurous vision that is nevertheless steeped in history. With its mix and match of
classical instrumentation and modern-day electronics, Unwoman does not occupy a specific place or time."
"Unwoman is Erica Mulkey, a singer/songwriter that swims in the chilly darkness of Siouxsie Sioux if she had
replaced post-punk guitars and danceable synthesizers for cello and piano. /.../ This is not sunshine radio, but a
journey into the shadows. It's one that I am certainly willing to make over and over again."
"You're really talented and I'm happy I can help. Please continue to slay."
"Stark, politicised electro shot through with crunching
noise and acoustic colours."
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