Take two cups of Edith Piaf, one half cup Eartha Kitt, a sprinkle of Betty Boop plus a serious portion of that je ne sais quoi that enthralls audiences, and you have what I see as one of New York's most exciting new cabaret singers: Mira Stroika.
The young California born chanteuse, who likes to accompany herself on her own serious sized accordion, has been wowing crowds packing those new clubs and bars that line the tonifying streets of Brooklyn, and Manhattan's Lower East Side.
Stroika's dazzling repertoire runs everywhere from Russian love songs and Leonard Cohen, to Klezmer Yiddish, New Age Jazz, and one of the best renditions of Piaf's "Rien, Je Ne Regrette Rien" that I've heard since I was 12 and my francophile mother took me to a concert by "The Sparrow" herself.
On top of that, Stroika - whose parents are Soviet-Jewish immigrants - treats her audiences to a lavish array of sophisticated songs that she herself has written and composed. One of my favorites: "Wake Up Norman Rockwell", an ode to the great Americana painter pleading with him to return and lead us all back onto the right path: "We need you Norman, we've a real problem: we're stuck in the same place...so you best get on the case."
And then there's the seductive "Kiss Me: "If you want to kiss me, you can kiss me, but I might not kiss you back..."
Mira Stroika will be singing with her accordion and her own 4-piece band, The Ultimatums, this Saturday, February 27th starting at 9 PM to about 10:15 at the decidedly weird but incredibly fun and friendly Mehanata, Bulgarian Bar (they even have good food) at 113 Ludlow Street off East Houston. $10, no drink minimum. (F train to Delancey), www.mehanata.com
A TASTE OF WHAT YOU'LL HEAR: