Barbara Bernstein, viola, Venezuelan cuatro, guitar, vocals and political conscience, is a musician, composer and audio artist. In 1971 she left the East Coast in search of her muse, which she happily found in Portland, Oregon, and there she has made her home ever since. Trained as a classical violinist, she took up old timey fiddling, beginning her excursion into other worlds of music. By the early 1980s she had put down the violin and picked up the viola as her musical horizons broadened into klezmer, jazz and world music.
Currently a composer and musician with the group “Padam Padam.” Based in Portland, Oregon, Padam Padam is a lively assortment of instruments and vocals, playing music inflected with styles from around the world. Padam Padam transports you to cabarets and streets, to the far corners of the world as they play music from Latin America, the European cabaret scene and contemporary North America. Their repertoire includes tunes by Kurt Weill and Bertolt Brecht, Eddie Cantor, Xavier Cugart, Tom Waits, Jacques Brel and even Ms. Piaf herself. Plus some outstanding Padam Padam originals. Although the group has performed together for only about three years, it has gained a national reputation.
“Padam, Padam”, which roughly translated means “the sound of the clock in the little French salon”, is the title of a sad, haunting song written and performed by a famous French cabaret singer who performed from the 1930s to 1960s, Edith Piaf.
“It’s one of our main songs,” Bernstein explained. “It’s fitting for us, because we perform songs of passion, in a European cabaret style. We mix in tangos, Mexican and klezmer music with our original songs.”
When she isn’t playing music she produces public radio documentaries, an occasional video and hosts a weekly environmental show on KBOO-FM.
Barbara Bernstein is a nationally acclaimed radio producer. Recipient of many awards, she is one of this country's finest independent producers, creating several independent Radio Documentaries with The Media Project; Gaining Ground: The Food Revolution; Heavy Weather; Sculpted by Fire; Urban Green; Salmonlands.
Barbara is also known locally as a talk show radio host on KBOO Radion, where she hosts the talk show Locus Focus.