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Miwa Gemini @ Hotel Cafe, 4/13/08

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Miwa Gemini at the Hotel Cafe | Photo by Lindsay William-Ross/LAist

When the opportunity to check out New York-based singer-songwriter Miwa Gemini live at the Hotel Cafe came up recently I jumped at the chance based on one line in the PR materials: "Think Nina Simone meets Sparklehorse meets Cat Power, and you're getting close." Intrigued, I showed up Sunday evening to the Hotel Cafe, nabbed a seat in the room's soothing darkness, and was utterly blown away.

Hailing originally from Japan, Gemini came to the US first as a high school senior via a study abroad program that took her to Columbus, Ohio. Craving the excitement of New York, Gemini moved eastward after high school, and studied graphic design at NYU then embarked on a career in photography. Music has always been a part of her life, and she soon began to write and record (

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Gemini's stop at the Hotel Cafe was part of a tour in support of her current release, This Is How I Found You, which came out in March following an earlier Canadian release. Her sound is hard to pinpoint; her influences are clearly in the American songwriting traditions of folk, blues, country, and rockabilly, which oddly enough seems to put her in the catch-all contemporary category of "indie."

Miwa Gemini: "Pieces"