Take a classical, East European folk, and musical theater influenced singer/songwriter with a flair for puns and limericks, pair her with a folk and rock influenced singer/songwriter who was educated by Mad Magazine, and you have the duo of Whitman & Pantell.
Karen Whitman and Rick Pantell are a warm and captivating duo who perform mostly original songs about our lives and times. Their live performances are all acoustic, featuring vocals, guitar, fiddle, banjo, harmonica, and Bulgarian tambura, and use a touch of electric in their recordings. Their music is both humorous and thought provoking, whether telling stories or touching on social issues, leaving you uplifted and wanting more as the variety and diversity of their songs make each successive song a unique surprise. Karen’s voice combines the best of Nora Jones and Grace Slick with the subtleties she mastered from growing up singing along with Joni Mitchell, Laura Nyro and Ella Fitzgerald. Rick’s guitaring is as ambitious as it is lush, ranging from finger-picking to driving rhythms, often in odd meters. Such a big sound rarely comes out of two people.
Karen and Rick, a married couple who were musicians independently of each other before they met, have written songs both individually and collaboratively. Their creative and wildly imaginative songs characterized by their intriguing melodies and engaging lyrics, are enthusiastically received and appeal to a wide audience. They have performed at numerous coffeehouses and festivals in the NYC tri-state area. Festivals include The NJ Folk Festival in New Brunswick and Worldfest in Stamford, CT (with their then band, Paprikash), as well as at Clearwater Great Hudson River Revivals. They have also been broadcast live on WAMC (NPR) radio on "Dancing on the Air" with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason, as well as in concert with Pete Seeger and others. The duo and their CD, "Chicken Fat Pudding and Other Delights" were spotlighted on WKZE FM on Todd Mack's "Off the Beat-N-Track" Radio Show, on Terry Doyle’s “Imprint Radio Show” on WIOX, and on City World Radio with Mia Berman. They were also featured on WRTC Radio in an April 2012 tribute to Levon Helm celebrating the music of Woodstock, along with The Band, Orleans, Bob Dylan, Todd Rundgren, John Sebastian and others.
Before teaming up, Karen was the lead singer of her Manhattan based band, the Balkanizers, performing at such New York venues as Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, as well as such out of area venues as The Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Meanwhile, Rick was playing the coffeehouse circuit from Boston to Boise, for college kids and cowboys alike....Clearly, they were a perfect match waiting to happen! Rick moved to Woodstock, NY where they met years later through their mutual love of the visual arts. After showing each other (quite literally) their etchings, they discovered they could also make beautiful music together, and they've been harmonizing ever since.