The View From Bernal Hill is an ongoing musical exchange between pianist/singer Camille Mai, guitarist/producer Nahuel Bronzini, bassist Schuyler Karr, and other musicians. Constantly evolving, yet firmly moored somewhere between jazz, chamber music, and contemporary pop/rock, the ensemble’s songs are driven by a strong belief in attentive listening and mindful response both in life and in... more
The View From Bernal Hill is an ongoing musical exchange between pianist/singer Camille Mai, guitarist/producer Nahuel Bronzini, bassist Schuyler Karr, and other musicians. Constantly evolving, yet firmly moored somewhere between jazz, chamber music, and contemporary pop/rock, the ensemble’s songs are driven by a strong belief in attentive listening and mindful response both in life and in music, as well as a love of rhythmic and harmonic experimentation. Their short-term goal is to create a body of work that marries the presence and fluidity of chamber music with traditional songwriting, combining stories, improvisation, and composed parts to reach emotional places that are often inaccessible to words.
The View finds its personal and musical roots on three different continents. Born in the Bay Area but raised in Paris, Camille grew up on a blend of Vietnamese folk, French yé-yé pop and American jazz standards. A classically trained pianist and self-taught songwriter, she now finds inspiration in the harmonies of Debussy and Chopin, the songwriting of Esperanza Spalding, Gretchen Parlato, and Fiona Apple, and the rhythms of Balkan and middle-eastern music. Her lyrics jump between anxiety and euphoria, inspired by struggles with mental illness and a lifelong passion for altered states of consciousness.
Schuyler’s path was different—originally steeped in Seattle’s thriving hip hop and jazz scenes, he was accepted to the SF Conservatory of Music on a major scholarship in spite of less than a year of classical training. He is currently involved with a diversity of Bay Area projects as a performer and composer, having served as principal bass in the SF Youth Orchestra and performed/recorded with the Balkan-inspired La Pêche, Meklit Hadero, and The Real Vocal String Quartet. He is equally at home with classical tradition and spontaneous improvisation, be it at Davies Symphony Hall or the Revolution Cafe.
As for Nahuel: growing up in Buenos Aires, he remembers hearing Queen and Marvin Gaye melt into Mozart and Brahms on his mother’s stereo, punctuated by vocalizations from his father’s opera classes. His guitar beginnings as a self-taught teenager blossomed into a passion after he joined the Buenos Aires Conservatory at age 15. He first studied jazz at the Escuela de Música Contemporánea in Buenos Aires, developing a taste for 80′s fusion as well as Argentine folk before moving to the Bay in 2010 to study classical guitar at SF Conservatory. Nahuel currently works as a freelance arranger, composer, and producer in San Francisco, recording and participating in a number of local jazz, classical, and pop projects.
Brought together by enthusiasm, circumstance and eerily similar improvisation styles, the ensemble has been performing in San Francisco since 2011. Often originating in a quote, anecdote, or rant from someone in their community, their songs are loose and leave room for spontaneity, be it through improvisation, freestyled lyrics or contributions from local musicians and MCs. At the same time, the group strives to create a musical language strongly founded on the concepts of form and balance, thereby expressing their backgrounds in classical music. Their residency will help them broaden their repertoire, collaborate with other artists, and grow as musicians, presenting a new song each time they perform in San Francisco and ultimately releasing their first full-length album at the Red Poppy.less