Hey Mama – Bio

HEY MAMA (noun): a washboard rock & roll experience, drawing comparisons to Odetta, The White Stripes, and the Band.


Little did Carlos Santana know that he would have so much to do with the chance meeting of Avi Salloway and Celia Woodsmith. After breaking into a college dorm, to find the man responsible for wailing electric guitar sounds, Celia’s roommate introduced Avi to one powerhouse of a woman. Their creative chemistry was quickly realized which lead to formation of Avi & Celia. Weaving tours in and out of their exam schedule, they built up a strong grassroots following throughout the Northeast. They released their first CD (Off the Floor, 2007) as seniors at the University of Vermont.

Immediately following graduation and a southern tour, they moved to Boston, MA hitting the ground running right into the music scene. By this time in their career they had already opened for Taj Mahal, Leon Russell and Big Brother and the Holding Co, had toured as far as San Francisco and had released their second critically acclaimed album (Let it Rise, 2008).

January 2009 found them plunging into a new era. In collaboration with the talents of Jared Seabrook and Paul Chase, two accomplished Boston musicians, Avi & Celia tapped into a fiery synergy that eventually exploded; HEY MAMA was born. The band has played more than 200 shows and festivals throughout the Northeast and Canada, and have released a third full length album self titled Hey Mama

The Boston Globe calls them “Sexy roots swagger with populist fire.” This fire has an undeniable presence in their performances, which leave the audience sweating. The band truly believes in freedom, and in every sense of the word embodies their ideals while on the stage. Growing up at a camp directed by Pete Seeger’s brother turned Avi on to folk music and the power of a song. The idea that music can help repair the world is an underlying philosophy of the band. With this force in their voices, washboard and distorted guitars, Hey Mama bears the torch for music of the people: Can you feel it in your bones?

“Sexy roots swagger with populist fire.”
The Boston Globe

“… a rich, powerful sound that carries the frenetic energy of a tent revival.”
Yankee Magazine

“See these folks in concert they’re gonna move you; I know they’re gonna move you.”

“This is one sweet-sounding band. You better believe this is one to watch in 2010.”
–Ryan’s Smashing Life

“Hey Mama create an instantly memorable and intimately authentic take on Delta blues gone electric”
–Dan Weber, Tea Party Boston

“You can tell right away that this music comes from the very fiber of their souls and it is absolutely spellbinding to listen to.”
Rock and Roll Report

The Band:

Avi Salloway– vocals, guitars, harmonica
Celia Woodsmith– vocals, washboard, acoustic guitar
Paul Chase– electric and double bass
Jared Seabrook– drums