We are... Musicians and educators that all have lots of experience with children, alongside our musical careers. We decided to pool our talents and our puppets and created Octopretzel - an interactive, engaging, and super-fun experience for kids (and their parents too)!
We are five Bay Area musicians who all have extensive experience working with children. Four of us have kids of our own, and all of us are educators in an array of environments including schools, afterschool programs, private lessons, and group music classes. What we teach ranges from instrument instruction to childrens' theater, from puppet making to pre-natal bellydance, from drum classes to Jewish education, and more! We have been together since 2007, and have played extensively around the Bay Area. Our intention with Octopretzel is to create music that is truly enjoyable for families...not just kids.
Our music, comprised of original songs as well as tried and true traditional favorites, is whimsical and fun, and has an underlying sensitivity for nature, feelings and story. Best described as folk music, it crosses generations and genres, weaving together styles such as bluegrass, rock and roll, lullabies and even nursery rhymes. Our shows integrate elements of many cultures such as African drumming, klezmer fiddling, middle-eastern percussion and singing styles, and songs with words in Spanish, Hebrew and even Quechua. We perform regularly for Jewish organizations, events, and holidays, and have also done shows comprised entirely of Christmas carols. Our priority is to make our music accessible to all of our listeners.
Members of the band:
Melita Silberstein: founder of Octopretzel, on lead vocals and guitar. Melita was a preschool teacher for many years and now works as a music specialist with young children in many schools, as well as leads public classes for children and family sing-alongs in several venues around the Bay Area. She also performs as a singer/songwriter and has performed and/or recorded with many musical talents, among them the Balkan a capella ensemble Ya Elah, traveling childrens' music and puppet troupe Kid Kaleidoscope, and the accomplished vocalist Shimshai and the Natural Mystic Ensemble. She has recorded and co-produced several cds for both children and adults. Her 7yr old daughter, Leilah, features in some of Octopretzel's songs, and is the source of much of her inspiration. For more information about Melita, check out www.melitamusic.com.
Sarita Pockell: on lead vocals and guitar. Sarita is a mother of two, and is a music and drama teacher as well as a performing singer/songwriter. She recently started her own childrens' music theater company, the Vaudevillians Stage Troupe. She also performs with her husband in a childrens' ensemble called Bubblejuice, and was formerly a lead singer in the world fusion band Hamsa Lila. Learn more about Sarita at www.saritasong.com.
Jen Miriam Kantor: is a registered Music Together teacher and has a masters degree in Clinical psychology with an emphasis in pre and perinatal psychology. She is a pre-school teacher and specialist in early childhood education. You can see her perform around town with Raizel the Camel at birthday parties, community events and tot shabbats at Jewish organizations! She is the Founder and Co-Director of The Puppet Players, a Jewish ritual puppet theatre troupe in Berkeley and has toured throughout California and Oregon performing puppetry with Kid Kaleidoscope. You can check out more about Jen at www.jenmiriam.com. Jen also works as a doula, supporting laboring mothers in the birthing process. Find out more at www.birthdoulajen.weebly.com.
Dave Rosenfeld: on mandolin, fiddle, and vocals. Dave is a kid at heart and loves to improvise, dance, and play. He performs with the popular klezmer band, Kugelplex, teaches guitar and fiddle to kids and adults, and works from time to time as a conductor with the Oakland Symphony Orchestra. Dave holds a degree in Studio Art from UC Davis, and a Masters Degree in Music Composition from Mills College.
David Doostan: on supporting vocals. David brings his voice and his great energy to Octopretzel and holds the great honor of coming up with our band name! His "other" main profession is saving lives as an ER doctor in inner-city Richmond and Oakland.