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DeVotchKa Biography

Home > Music > D > DeVotchKa > Biography

Birth Place: Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Years Active: 1997–present
Genres: Gypsy Punk, Indie Rock

DeVotchKa is a four-piece multi-instrumental and vocal ensemble that fuses Romani, Greek, Slavic, Bolero, Mariachi music with American punk and folk roots. They take their name from the Russian word “devotchka,” meaning “girl.” Based in Denver, Colorado, the quartet is made up of Nick Urata, who sings and plays theremin, guitar, bouzouki, piano, and trumpet, Tom Hagerman, who plays violin, accordion, and piano, Jeanie Schroder, who sings and plays sousaphone and double bass and Shawn King, who plays percussion and trumpet.

Originally a backing band for burlesque shows, in their early years DeVotchKa also toured with fetish model Dita von Teese. In 2000 they released their debut album, “SuperMelodrama,” on Cicero Recordings. Their album “Una Volta” followed in 2003 on Cicero.

In 2004 they released the album “How It Ends” featuring the titled track which peaked at #101 on the U.K. Singles chart. "How It Ends" introduced the band to a wider audience after being featured in advertisements, film, television and video games.

The band was picked by first time film directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris to score “Little Miss Sunshine,” a 2006 film that would go on to garner four Academy Award nominations. DeVotchKa, along with composer Mychael Danna, composed and performed the majority of the music for the film's soundtrack and were nominated for a 2006 Grammy Award for Best Compilation Soundtrack.

Arcade Fire singer Win Butler suggested to DeVotchKa that they cover the Siouxsie and the Banshees song "The Last Beat of My Heart." The musicians found the idea interesting and they recorded that song for the 2006 “Curse Your Little Heart” EP which features five cover versions of other bands' songs.

Released in March 2008 on ANTI- Records, “A Mad & Faithful Telling” reached #9 on the Billboard Heatseekers Albums chart and #29 on the Top Independent Albums chart.

DeVotchKa's album, “100 Lovers,” was released in March 2011. It debuted at #74 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, as well as #9 on the Top Independent Albums and #12 on the Top Alternative Albums charts.