NYC-based since 2011, ANAWAN has carved out an idiosyncratic stylistic niche; a mixture of five-part layered, difficult harmonies, delivered in a straightforward tone, over a casual nylon guitar and soft-nightmare electronics. The result is new-folk, art-pop, escaping any particular idiom; just beautiful and compelling music.
The ensemble currently includes Michael Chinworth, Eliza McKelway, Alice Tolan-Mee, Ethan Woods, and Trevor Wilson. They all met at Bennington College, and currently live in Brooklyn (mostly in Red Hook).
The ensemble released their first album Soft Wings in March of 2012. (One could say) their work is aesthetically aligned with forward-thinking groups like the Dirty Projectors, Mountain Man, and Joanna Newsom. In Soft Wings, the ensemble began to explore the ways that five-part harmonies and nylon guitar could mix.
In October 2013, the group joined New Amsterdam Records to release their second full length, All Material, as a vinyl. All Material expands upon the territory first explored in Soft Wings; but here, we have a more experienced ensemble that is comfortable with one another and with this strange vocabulary; compositional choices that may seem odd on paper come out as rich and soulful expressions. The ensemble has also expanded their production palette, creating recordings that are deep explosions of the original themes; sometimes scary, sometimes peaceful, but always real.
Although Anawan has toured throughout the northeast and as far as Chicago, their primary audience is in NYC, where they have performed in venues such as The Clocktower Gallery, Glasslands, WNYC’s Green Space, Shea Stadium, and Joe’s Pub. As of this writing, Anawan can be seen at shows in NYC and the Northeast, and are beginning to record their third album, Patrician Forensics.