The early days of the chamber-folk group Tiny Rhymes were a bit of a learning process, met with certain levels of excitement and humbleness.
“Our first couple shows were fun, but rough,” admits cellist/vocalist Katie Weissman. “A lot of the string parts were up in air for the first couple shows, so I would be improvising and trying connect with Sharon at the same time.”
“I remember being so grateful for the audience at our first show,” guitarist/vocalist Sharon Mok adds. “A lot of people came up to us after the show and had nice things to say, which definitely drove me to work harder and write more.”
The chamber-folk group, whose size varies depending on the given night or venue, always features the core duo of Weissman and Mok. (“Logistically, touring makes sense with a smaller group”). Both were involved in a slew musical projects over the years even before crossing paths.
Weissman is a working musician who has performed in a variety of string ensembles since the early age of three; Mok, a piano technician at the University at Buffalo, has played in a handful of folk outfits based out of Ontario and Florida, before most recently settling in Buffalo.
And after taking some time to mesh on the open mic circuit, much of it to work on the group’s multipart harmonies, Tiny Rhymes seems to have found a home at Pausa Art House (18 Wadsworth), where the band will celebrate the release “A Kinder History” at 8 p.m. Saturday. Erica Wolfing will provide opening support.
Professional and musical relationships originally brought Weissman and Mok to the space, but its welcoming flexibility (and a solid beer list) has led the group to frequent return performances.
“Jon Nelson is a colleague of mine, and we all really love what he and Lazara (Nelson, his wife) are doing with Pausa,” Mok said. “It provides a much needed venue in Buffalo for the kind of acts that thrive in an intimate space like ours.”
“[They] have created a place where music comes first, and that is really important to us. The audience is always respectful, which is important for our delicate sound to come through,” Weissman added. “We have a blast playing at venues like Mohawk Place and Nietzsche's, but our music can really flourish and be heard with all its nuance Pausa.”
“We learned a lot about recording as a band while making ‘A Kinder History,’ so we want to take those lessons to heart for this second album and make the best music we can make,” Weissman said.
“I get a huge rush out of the excitement of all the new ideas and possibilities,” Mok concludes, “and with musicians like Katie (Weissman) and Kathryn (Koch, violin), trust me, the possibilities are vast.”