The flower: The avalanche lily is a mountain flower native to the Pacific Northwest. It blooms in alpine meadows shortly after the snow melts in late spring.
The band: Like caramel, sea salt, and dark chocolate, the music of Avalanche Lily satisfies a broad palate of tastes ranging from savory to sweet. The trio has two lead singers, with Cyndy Chan on bass and Ramune Nagisetty on guitar swapping back and forth between lead and harmony vocals. The band's drummer, Jen Harrison, adds magic with her unique beats and glockenspiel. This group is unique in their appeal to a wide demographic: they stand their own in a pop punk lineup, appreciated for their covers of Hüsker Dü, Pavement, and Sebadoh; yet the spare instrumentation and harmonies are easily enjoyed within upscale hotel lobbies and posher venues where most have never heard of the band’s influences.
Who they are: The band members represent an overlapping Venn diagram of Portland’s fluid music culture. Cyndy raises chickens and works in a factory that produces locally made light fixtures. Avalanche Lily is one of three bands she plays in. Jen is a professional French horn player in the Oregon Symphony and many other symphonic groups around the Pacific Northwest. Jen's mother was an opera singer, her family owned a musical instrument store, and her sister is a percussionist. All the while, Jen has always dreamed of being a drummer. Ramune (pronounced Ruh-moo-nee) is an engineer in high tech, was born in Moscow, Russia and has lived in India, Sweden, and all over the United States before choosing Portland as her home.
How they met: Cyndy and Ramune first became acquainted with each other when their other bands played a gig together on the evening of the summer solstice in 2012. A few years later Ramune attended a series of Sunday brunches that Cyndy organized for Portland’s women musicians. As a result of these gatherings, Cyndy suggested to Ramune that they try playing together, and her first suggestion was to learn “I’ll Be Your Mirror” by the Velvet Underground and Nico. This was one of Ramune’s favorite songs in high school and she already knew it well. The first practices were an instant success, playing as an acoustic duo on Cyndy’s back deck, and accompanied by Cyndy’s chickens singing along in tune and on the beat. We still have a phone recording for those who don’t believe that chickens can sing. The band played their first gig at the Portland Saturday market in July of 2015. In March of 2017 the band released their EP, Dream Horizon. Jen and Ramune have known each other for over 30 years, but only started playing music together in 2017 after Jen divulged that she had always envisioned herself as a drummer. She soon joined the band as the new drummer, percussionist, and glockenspiel player. The band played their inaugural gig with this lineup at at the Firkin Tavern in Dec 2017.
Where they have played: Avalanche Lily has played at a wide variety of venues including the prestigious Skamania Lodge, the Aloft Hotel, Skyline Tavern, Slim’s, the Firkin Tavern, the Mystery Gallery, Turn! Turn! Turn!, the Blue Room at Cartlandia, the Portland Saturday Market, and the Vancouver Farmer’s Market.