Zorya is an acoustic trio comprised of the Vonder Haar sisters, Violet and Tara and Phylshawn Johnson that formed in the Spring of 2012. The girls form a beautiful landscape of sound with the variety of acoustic instruments they play effortlessly. At any given time you will hear acoustic, electric, bass and baritone guitar, mandolin, fiddle, ukelele, and keyboards. All three girls have distinct songwriting styles that compliment each other when played together. Between Tara’s witty, catchy ukelele tunes, Violet’s introspective lyrics and floating melodies and Phylshawn’s unique rhythmic and complex chord changes, there’s something for everyone.
Tara and Violet were raised in a household that nurtured creativity and were exposed to great singer songwriters and folk musicians at an early age. Musicians such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Pete Seeger, and Gillian Welch could be heard playing through the house at any given time. As the girls grew, as did their musical influences, but those early years of hearing some of the greatest songwriters of the 20th Century, laid the foundation for the songs they write and the music they make today.
“This music has a rustic heartbeat, a sophisticated head and nimble hands, as the trio plucks and pines using numerous machines made of strings and wood — guitar, fiddle, mandolin and ukulele. Those trying to identify Zorya’s cohort would find its closest analogue in the elegant roots music of The Wailin’ Jennys. Yet, trace elements of Sara Watkins’ mountain cool and Andrew Bird’s quirky meanderings also can be detected.” -Aarik Danielsen, Columbia Daily Tribune
Zorya released their first self titled album, Zorya, on February 15, 2013. Shortly after, they were listed on AfterEllen.com as “The Next Big Thing”. Since the release, they have shared the stage with touring bands, Good Graeff, and Bo And The Locomotive as well as Columbia, MO bands, The Hipnecks, The Onions, Noah Earle, and Steph Foley.
“The true strength of Zorya the band and “Zorya” the album — these are musicians who feel at home together.” -Aarikk Danielsen, Columbia Daily Tribune
The name Zorya is inspired by Goddesses of Slavic Mythology. The Zorya are ancient Slavic sky and light goddesses, honored particularly in Russia. Sometimes only two in number, they are usually portrayed as three. They were three Slavic dawn goddesses. There was Utrennyaya, the Morning Star; Vechernyaya, the Evening Star; and the Midnight Star. All have the same job: to guard and watch over the doomsday hound that threatens to eat the constellation Ursa Minor, the ‘little bear.’ If the chain breaks loose and the constellation is devoured, the universe is said to end. Thus the Zoryas are guardian goddesses.