Famous October blends Swiss and Iowan

Oct 18, 2016

Folk duo Famous October is half Iowan, half Swiss, and all talent.

In this episode of IPR Studio One's "Java Blend," hear host Ben Kieffer chat with the couple on how they first met, how they became musical partners, and hear tunes off their newly released record, "One Day Baby.

Check out the free downloadable podcast below.

Though both artists are from different hemispheres, it was their individual fervent pursuit of their music that inevitably brought Sarah Bowman and Rene Coal Burrell together. Burrell grew up in a peaceful small Swiss town at the foot of the Alps while Bowman grew up in a high crime and economically depressed neighborhood in racially tense Davenport, Iowa. By age 19, Burrell had achieved national recognition in his native Switzerland as a BMG alt-country artist, having been nominated for a Swiss PRIX WALO award and opening for Neil Young, ZZ Top and Amy Winehouse. Enamored with Americana music, Burrell stumbled upon a show in Luzern featuring the twin sister duo, The Bowmans, who had been touring internationally for four years.

On the other side of the world, Bowman had been raised on her Bronx born mother's collection of 60s protest songs and her Detroit native father's classical music. She studied cello, piano and vocal performance as well as music education, graduating with Honors from Duquesne University and Notre Dame of Maryland University. She sang as a soprano with the Baltimore Symphony Choir and worked with Yuri Temirkonov and Bobby McFerrin. Bowman and her twin sister, Claire, began singing together at coffee shops since they were 14, and eventually grew up together touring through the U.S. and Europe. Individually, Bowman and Burrell had released 4 or 5 acclaimed albums and had developed thousands of fans internationally before joining together as a duo. Their individual success set the stage for the duo’s success to come.