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Episode 53 with Briana Di Mara

Creating Haven

March 20th, 2019

Listen to the story and the music of violinist, Briana Di Mara as we celebrate her Global Music Award winning album, Haven. Journey into the sounds of traditional folkloric music from all over the world through the eyes of this inventive artist as we talk about reluctant musical offspring, Briana's path through Suzuki and hard times, finding her tribe and more!

Opening and closing tracks by composer, Dan Cantrell

​All other music in this episode is compliments of Briana Di Mara from her album, Haven.

Musical Credits:

Briana Di Mara (violin), Ali Paris (qanun), Tobias Robertson (darbuka, cajon, riqq, frame drum), Sean Tergis (riqq, davul), Kalliope Landgraf (vocals), Gari Hegedus (mandocello), Aharon Wheels Bolsta (tabla, saraz handpans, frame drum), Surya Prakasha (drum set), Dan Cantrell (accordion), Diana Strong (accordion), Gabriel Navia (guitar), Schuyler Karr (bass), Miles Jay (bass), Evan Fraser (kalimba, ngoni, calabash), composed and arranged by Briana di Mara (except La Partida Tango based on a trad melody)

Click here to find Briana's music for listening and purchase!


Eclectic Bay Area violinist Briana Di Mara brings her love of the instrument and its soulful expression to every performance. She was trained in western classical music as a child and has since gone on to study and perform a wide variety of traditional styles including Celtic, Balkan, Turkish and Arabic. She harmoniously weaves these influences into own unique sound and musical compositions. She is known for her evocative improvisations and skillful ability to play a broad range of genres from many different cultures.

She has performed and recorded with numerous artists, some of whom include Stellamara, the Ali Paris Project, Beats Antique, Darioush Sami, Dan Cantrell, Moh Alileche, Sweet Moments of Confusion, Lounès Kheloui, La Ruya, and many more! She has also collaborated with well known dancers such as Zoe Jakes, Rachel Brice, Miriam Peretz and Jill Parker. These projects have led her to perform in a wide variety of venues, theaters and festivals around the globe, inspiring audiences with her expansive interpretation of world music and exciting interaction with dancers.

Her debut album, "Haven", has earned rave reviews and reflects the dynamic collaborations that she has built around her original compositions. For more info or to purchase her music, please visit

Other Episodes You May Like:

E19 The Creative Formula Live Experiment with flutist, Rebecca Kleinmann

E36 The Music Beyond the Mash Up with composer, Steven Chesne

E4 Be Afraid But Do It Anyway with vocalist and coach to rock royalty, Raz Kennedy

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Holly Shaw, CHT  is a performance coach, creativity researcher and stand up comedian.  Growing up in Indianapolis, IN she convinced her parents she needed to go to Chicago to get her own agent when she was 14 years old and has spent a lifetime in film, T.V. and on professional stages all over the world as an actor, dancer, and director.

Now she shares her passion for the problems that artists face as a Creativity Coach and a Certified Hypnotherapist and has helped hundreds of artists, from Emmy award winning and Grammy nominated artists to world class choreographers overcome their anxiety, stage fright, impostor syndrome, and creative blocks so that they can create original work and totally kill it onstage again and again without feeling like they're selling out or losing their sanity.

In 2016, Shaw wrote and released her book, The Creative Formula: Compose, Choreograph, and Capture Your Masterpiece  which has become an Amazon bestseller.  In 2018 she launched the Performers & Creators Lab podcast which was named one of 2019's most outstanding podcasts by Databird Research. She teaches regularly at the SAG/AFTRA offices in L.A. and SF and runs creative laboratory workshops like the Comedy Lab Open Mic once a month at Monaghan's on the Hill in Oakland. Follow her on Instagram to stay up to date: @hollyshawspritely


Dan Cantrell is an Emmy award winning composer and multi-instrumentalist known for his innovative film scoring approach, and his virtuosic abilities on the accordion, piano and musical saw. “Hauntingly beautiful…quirky and energetic” says the San Francisco Bay Guardian.  His extensive scoring catalogue spans a wide range of emotion and style.


Dan’s compositions for film and television have earned him numerous awards including an Emmy Award for KQED’s Home-Front,a Golden Gate award for the soundtrack to the documentary Divided Loyalties, and an Annie nomination for his work on three seasons of Cartoon Network’s the Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack.

His Orchestral music was recently featured by the Oakland Symphony, and his chamber music was performed at San Francisco’s Yerba Buena Center for the arts, and in Washington DC’s Kennedy Center.  Dan also recently composed a suite of choral music performed by the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir as part of their yearly concert series. Visit

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