November 15, 1968 ,|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, songwriter, producer|
|Instruments||Vocals, guitar, wurlitzer|
|Associated acts||Elysian Fields
La Mar Enfortuna
Jennifer Charles was born in Washington, D.C. While Charles was growing up, her mother was a torch singer in Washington D.C. clubs and her father had a radio show that played jazz. At the age of 14 she began her professional theatre career, appearing in plays and experimental theater productions at places like The Studio and The Source theaters.
In 1987, she moved to New York to continue her theatre and academic studies, receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts from NYU's Tisch school in just three years. Upon graduating she appeared in various off-broadway theater, had a stint singing in a dive piano bar and curated a performance/poetry series at the original Knitting Factory. She has also curated at Tonic, DJed in Paris, and at John Zorn's The Stone.
Elysian Fields was founded in 1995 and have released five full length records (six counting one produced by Steve Albini that was suppressed). They have also contributed to many compilation CDs, including the first song on John Zorn's Serge Gainsbourg tribute album. This song, their rendition of "Les Amours Perdues", also appeared in Lea Pool's film Emporte Moi.
Besides Elysian Fields, Charles has other projects. She and Bloedow recorded La Mar Enfortuna for Zorn's Tzadik label, featuring renditions of Sephardic and Ladino songs. She has studied classical Indian singing with teacher Gulamji.
In late 2007, she and Bloedow put out a second Tzadik full-length, under the band name La Mar Enfortuna, called "Conviviencia". Charles sings in five languages on the record, including Ladino, Spanish, Aramaic, Arabic, and Greek.
Charles also makes up a quarter of the band Lovage, along with Dan the Automator, Mike Patton and Kid Koala. The band recorded its debut album titled Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By in 2001. Charles co-wrote and sang most of the material on the album. She has also worked with bands like Firewater, turning in performances on "The Circus" and "Mr. Cardiac" from 1996's Get Off the Cross, We Need the Wood for the Fire, as well as Xian Hawkin's "Sybarite", the Foetus record, Love, as well as working with Matt Johnson of The The, and on several of John Zorn's records.
Charles recorded in French with the French composer Jean-Louis Murat for the album A bird on a poire in 2004, which was nominated for a Victoires de la Musique award best pop album.
She had a guest spot on ex-Nine Inch Nails drummer Chris Vrenna's solo project Tweaker. She sang and co-composed the track "Crude Sunlight", which appeared on the 2004 album 2 a.m. Wakeup Call. Charles co-composed music with Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heill (Run Lola Run) for the film Tangled. Elysian Fields' version of Bob Dylan's "Tangled up in Blue" can be heard in the film's credits.
She produced the latest Oren Bloedow solo record She Goes With me to a Blossom World, which came out in 2008.
Recently Charles was back on stage in the Off Broadway production "Lightning at Our Feet", inspired by poet Emily Dickinson, under the direction of Obie winner Bob McGrath, with film maker Bill Morrison and composer Michael Gordon, which was part of the Next Wave festival at Brooklyn Academy of Music in December 2008, where she sang and acted, channeling the iconic 19th century poet.
In 2011 and 2012, Charles has been touring her latest Elysian Fields effort, "Last Night on Earth".
- 2016: Elysian Fields - Ghosts of No (Vicious Circle, Ojet, France)
- 2014: Elysian Fields – For House Cats and Sea Fans (Vicious Circle, France; Diluvian/Ojet, US)
- 2012: Wax Tailor – Heart Stop (vocalist)
- 2011: Elysian Fields – Last Night on Earth, Ojet
- 2009: Elysian Fields – The Afterlife, Diluvian/Vicious Circle (writer, vocalist, rebab)
- 2008: The Heavy Circles, Dynamite Child' (bgvs)
- 2008: Oren Bloedow- She Goes With Me to a Blossom World, Diluvian (producer, bgvs, keyboards)
- 2007: La Mar Enfortuna, Convivencia, Tzadik (voc, writer)
- 2007: Foetus – Vein, Birdman (voc)
- 2006: Ben Perowsky's Moodswing Orchestra – El Destructo (writer, vocalist)
- 2006: Elysian Fields – Bum Raps And Love Taps, Diluvian/Naive (writer, vocalist, keyboards)
- 2005: Foetus Love – Birdman Records (vocalist)
- 2004: Jean Louis Murat – A Bird on a Poire, Labels (vocalist)
- 2004, 2003: Elysian Fields – Dreams That Breathe Your Name, Diluvian (writer, vocalist, farfisa)
- 2004 Tweaker – 2 AM Wake-Up Call, IMUSIC (writer, vocalist)
- 2003 Ben Perowsky – Camp Songs, Tzadik (vocalist)
- 2003 Sasha Argov – Great Jewish Music, Tzadik (vocalist)
- 2003 Foetus – A Tribute to the Sisters of Mercy, EFA (vocalist, writer)
- 2002 Frank London – Scientist at Work, Tzadik (vocalist)
- 2002 John Zorn – Film Works XII – Three Documentaries, Tzadik (vocalist)
- 2002 Sybarite – Scene of the Crime, 4AD (writer, vocalist)
- 2002 John Zorn – IAO Music in Sacred Light, Tzadik (vocalist)
- 2001 illy B Eats – Drop the Needle, Amulet (vocalist)
- 2001 Zoar – Clouds Without Water (vocalist)
- 2001 Lovage – Music to Make Love to Your Old Lady By, 75 Ark (writer, vocalist)
- 2001 Firewater Psychopharmachology, Jetset (vocalist)
- 2001 Oren Bloedow and Jennifer Charles – La Mar Enfortuna, Tzadik (vocalist, bells, wurli, writer)
- 2000 Elysian Fields – Queen of the Meadow, Jetset. (writer, vocalist, mini moog, guitar, wurli)
- 1999 Liminal (unreleased) (writer, vocalist)
- 1999 What's the Word Volume 1 – Various Artists, Deezal (writer, vocalist, piano)
- 1999 DJ Logic – Project Logic, Ropeadope (writer, vocalist)
- 1999 Jean Louis Murat – Mustango, Labels (vocalist)
- 1998 Great Jewish Music: Marc Bolan – Various Artists, Tzadik. (vocalist)
- 1998 Elysian Fields – The Albini record (unreleased) Radioactive (writer, vocalist)
- 1998 Oren Bloedow – The Luckiest Boy in the World, Knitting Factory Works (bgv)
- 1997 Elysian Fields Meets DJ Cam – Radioactive (writer, vocalist)
- 1997 Great Jewish Music: Serge Gainsbourg Various Artists, Tzadik (vocalist)
- 1997 Life in a Blender Two Legs Bad, Fang (phoned in whispers)
- 1997 Live Secret Samadhi, Radioactive (bgv)
- 1996 Jennifer and Kenny Siegel Sessions (unreleased) (vocalist)
- 1996 Firewater Get Off The Cross ... We Need The Wood for the Fire, Jetset (vocalist)
- 1996 Elysian Fields – Bleed Your Cedar, Radioactive (writer, vocalist, rhythm king, percussion)
- 1996 Elysian Fields – Elysian Fields EP, Radioactive. (writer, vocalist)
- 1992 Oren Bloedow – Knitting Factory Works (bgv)