The Singing Journey of Meschiya Lake


As a young woman, singer Meschiya Lake joined the Know Nothing Family Zirkus Zideshow and End of the World Circus – a troupe blending traditional circus arts with modern sideshow varieties where Meschiya honed her performance skills with such thrilling acts as glass and insect eating and fire dancing (dangerously twirling around on stage with flame-doused nunchucks). It was while touring with this troupe that she fell in love with and felt immediately embraced by the culturally rich and one of a kind city of New Orleans, her home base for the last decade and counting.

In the spring of 2007, Meschiya began singing with the traditional jazz outfit The Loose Marbles on Royal Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Bringing the joy and vitality of New Orleans spirit, they toured the United States and Europe, playing on streets, in clubs, and leaving a trail of write-ups in publications along the way.

Dan Baum of the New Yorker writes:

“Meschiya Lake rocks back on her heels, lifts her chest, and opens her throat like an air raid siren to croon in a thrilling pre-microphone style that…can make you feel by turns as though you were shivering around a campfire in a railroad (yard) or drinking in a Budapest nightclub in 1938.”

She formed The Little Big Horns Jazz Band in the spring of 2009 and, saving pennies from the street, produced the first Little Big Horns album Lucky Devil to national acclaim (NPR named it one of the top four breakthrough albums of the year). In 2011 she was named Best Female Performer by the Big Easy Awards, and along with her band, was honored with the Best Traditional Jazz band award.

Meschiya is one of the more popular local musicians in an increasingly visible group of bands that has emerged from an underground scene self-identified as travelers – young musicians and performers who hitchhike and hop trains across the country, paying their way with circus shows or street busking. She spends about six months of the year performing on the road, and enjoys a strong fan base internationally and at home.

Meschiya Lake will be leading a workshop at Voice Works during the week of June 27 to July 3 – sharing her unique “punk-jazz” style and soulful artistry with workshop participants, and performing in a McCurdy Pavilion show with Seattle’s own Casey MacGill and the Blue 4 Trio on Saturday, July 2. To register for Meschiya’s workshop, or any of the artist workshops at Voice Works, visit our Voice Works site or call 800.733.3608.