While talking by phone with folk singer Maya Isacowitz on Thursday, who is here from Israel for a two-month performance tour, she was more than just a little excited about sharing the stage this week with one of her song mentors, Suzanne Vega.
She was the opening act Wednesday in New York for Vega's concert at City Winery.
Next month, she'll be in Munster for one exclusive performance at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 for the Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana in the organization's 250-seat social hall space at 585 Progress Ave. in Munster. The concert is open to everyone and the tickets are just $10 by calling (219) 922-4024 or visit federationonline.org.
This is a talented performance artist, with not only a music style that is introspective and personal, but also someone with a fascinating story. Although she is from Israel, her family roots are from South Africa and her music is in English.
As for how she came to be booked for a show in our Northwest Indiana region, it's all thanks to Michael Steinberg, who is executive director of the Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana.
"A year ago, I was visiting my daughter Carly, who was studying in Israel," Steinberg told me.
"We were in a bookstore and I heard this CD being played, and it captured my attention. The singer and her style were so fresh and different, I asked someone who I was hearing and found out it was Maya. When she's here next month for her concert, we are going to transform our social hall into an intimate coffeehouse."
Isacowitz, 26, just released her first CD and it's called "Safe and Sound." Now, while in New York, she's busy recording her second album before she leaves to return to Israel in September for two months, before a return trip to the U.S. in November.
When we chatted Thursday, she told me she began playing the guitar at age 14 after becoming a young fan of Alanis Morissette. Before long, she was just as drawn to the talents of other young female folk talents of today, like Tracy Chapman, Edie Brickell, Sarah McLachlan, Fiona Apple and Vega, the famed names she's now sharing the stage with.
"I had only been to New York once before, five years ago for a visit, so this is all very exciting," Isacowitz said.
"I'm especially looking forward to coming to Chicago and my time in Munster."
Steinberg and the Jewish Federation of Northwest Indiana have graciously donated three gift bags, containing pairs of tickets for Isacowitz' Aug. 11 concert and also her CD for a fun giveaway.
Now, here's the trivia question to answer correctly to have your name entered in today's drawing for the prize bags:
• Maya Isacowitz mentioned five of today's young female folk singers she considers mentors. Which of these five artists shot to fame in 1988 with her song featuring ear-capturing lyrics such as: "Philosophy, is the talk on a cereal box; Religion, is the smile on a dog?"
You have until midnight tonight to call with the correct answer to this question.
All the readers who call in with the correct answer will be entered in the random drawing. PLEASE INCLUDE your name, town you reside in and a best contact telephone number. Call the CONTEST LINE at (219) 933-4173 with your answers.
Winners will be contacted Tuesday. The contest is not open to Times employees and their immediate families.