From rock bands to chamber music ensembles to experimental music, cellist Rachel Gawell distinguishes herself by pairing a rigorous conservatory skill set with enthusiasm for expanding what is possible on her instrument. A multi-instrumentalist, Rachel studied classical cello with a focus on contemporary repertoire at Peabody Conservatory and Rotterdams Conservatorium. She doubles on electric and acoustic guitars at Waitress the Musical and can be heard on electric bass regularly at 54 below concerts.
Rachel's songwriting project Baba Sonya enjoyed viral success with her song "Human-Made Machines" reaching over 147,000 streams on Spotify. She has toured with rock and classical groups such as River City Extension, The Ballroom Thieves, and The Ricciotti Ensemble. Gawell's playing is featured on Baba Sonya's four EPs, River City Extension's final LP 'Deliverance' and The Ballroom Thieves 2011-2013 releases. A Maryland native, Rachel lives in Astoria. www.rachelgawell.com
Ms. Gawell plays rock/pop/folk, and musical theater music on cello, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, and electric bass. She also performs classical music on cello in orchestra, string quartet, chamber group, or as a soloist. Additionally, she is a singer-songwriter and can be hired to perform solo or with full-band under the name Baba Sonya. Ms. Gawell is excellent at learning music by ear, from audio tracks, from charts, or from sheet music. She can transpose keys on the spot, improvise, and write her own parts. Rachel loves being a session musician on stage and in the studio for artists in the pop, rock, folk/rock, indie music, classical, experimental, and world music genres. She has a carbon fiber cello as well as a professional quality wooden cello made by James McKean. Gawell also has a pedalboard with effects, which can be used on cello as well as guitar.
Ms. Gawell has played in musical theater productions on Broadway in Waitress, off-Broadway in The Man in the Ceiling and The Death of the Moon, and in regional productions. She has played rock/pop in Baba Sonya, River City Extension, The Ballroom Thieves, The Grownup Noise, Barnaby Bright, and more. Her songwriting can be heard on iTunes, Spotify, and all major platforms under the name Baba Sonya.