My Brightest Diamond/Dayna Kurtz
My Brightest Diamond/Dayna Kurtz
My Brightest Diamond is spearheaded by Shara Worden, granddaughter of an Epiphone-playing traveling evangelist, fathered by a National Accordion Champion, and mothered by a classical organist. Having a family of musical wanderers who migrated across the US every few years, the landscape and the musical influences were constantly changing. Spanish tangos, Sunday morning gospel, classical and jazz were the accompaniment to her home life. Her first song was recorded at age three and by age eight she was studying piano with her uncle, Donald Ryan, and performing in community musical productions.

Shara graduated from The University of North Texas with a BA in Vocal Performance. After university, she self-released a solo album entitled Word, then moving to Brooklyn, NY recorded two albums (The Orange Album, Quiet B Sides) with her band Awry, a collaboration with guitarist Shane Yarborough. From 2001-2003 Shara studied composition with Australian composer/performer Padma Newsome (The Clogs, The National). During this time she composed music for a musical theater production Women With Voices Ringing (produced by Jaki Brown-Karmen), an off-broadway production of Adam Rapp’s play Trueblinka directed by Simon Hammerstein, as well as Hammerstein’s production of Jean Paul Sartre Morts sans Sepulture.

In late 2003 Shara assembled her dream cast of characters to create the sound of My Brightest Diamond which included Earl Harvin (drums), Chris Bruce (bass), Zac Rae (keyboards) and string players Rob Moose, Olivier Manchon, Marla Hansen and Maria Jeffers – the string quartet which later formed the group Osso. In August of 2006 My Brightest Diamond released their first record, Bring Me The Workhorse, on Asthmatic Kitty Records followed by a collection of remixes entitled Tear It Down.

Diamond released their sophomore album in 2008 entitled, A Thousand Shark’s Teeth, originally meant to be a more classical, string quartet affair, the work slowly evolved and refined itself over a period of six years. Influenced by artists such as Tricky, French composer Maurice Ravel and Tom Waits, in addition to the star exploration themes of Anslem Kiefer’s paintings, the imaginary landscapes of photographer Robert ParkeHarrison, films by Jean-Pierre Jeunet, and Alice in Wonderland, A Thousand Shark’s Teeth is a musical snowglobe. The songs, whose themes broach intimacy, kisses by moonlight, laundry, and lost friendship, marry vast instrumentation – marimbas, harps, clarinets, French horns, rabid guitars, vibraphones to name a few – to create an unequaled amalgamation of style and color.

The year 2009 has labeled itself in the Diamond calendar as the Year of Collaboration. My Brightest Diamond released three digital EPs of remixes of A Thousand Shark’s Teeth by Alfred Brown, Son Lux and Roberto Carlos Lange (the fourth installment by DM Stith will be released in 2010 digitally, in conjunction with the release of 1,500 limited edition, signed cds). Other upcoming Diamond projects include a 7 inch with Dayna Kurtz, and an album of poetry, song and photographs with artists Clare and The Reasons, Rob Moose and Murat Eyuboglu.

Continuing with 2009’s collaboration theme, as a solo artist, Shara found herself in the role of The Queen with The Decemberists for their album The Hazards of Love, performing with Bryce and Aaron Dessner in The Long Count, singing with St. Vincent on David Letterman, recording a duet with David Byrne for Here Lies Love and singing the songs of new music composer Sarah Kirkland-Snider in a collection called Penelope.

Dayna Kurtz is an American singer/songwriter who began performing her original compositions in public as a teenager, and subsequently spent the better part of a decade touring solo across the back roads of America, selling CD's out of her trunk. Along the way, she opened shows for the likes of Richie Havens (who became a fan and lent guest vocals to her debut studio album, Postcards from Downtown).

The last few years has found Dayna in the New York City music scene. In the past two years she has been invited to open up for Rufus Wainwright, Antony & the Johnsons, and Keren Ann. Additionally, Dayna has won over fellow "Living Room" habitué Norah Jones, who sings a duet with Dayna on "I Got It Bad…" (From Beautiful Yesterday). Outside of her new hometown, Richard Thompson invited Dayna to open up for a coast-to-coast nationwide tour.

The fan response and critical attention generated by Kurtz's grass roots touring efforts inevitably drew interest from the mainstream music industry. Despite her indie status, Dayna has found an enthusiastic audience, winning high-profile guest spots on such radio shows as World Cafe, Mountain Stage and NPR's Morning Edition.

But nowhere has the interest in Dayna's music been more pronounced than in Holland, where Dayna's debut studio album soared into the top 20 of the album charts on the strength of the hit single "Love Gets in the Way". In the summer of 2003, Dayna went from performing in front of 50 people at the Living Room in New York City's lower east side, to headlining the fabled Paradiso theatre in Amsterdam in front of 1000 people in what would be her first of many sold out shows in the Netherlands in the months to follow. Dayna has since then discovered a larger audience in Europe, and this spring alone will find her in Greece, Spain, Germany, Belgium and the UK.