RAMONA LISA
ABOUT

Ramona Lisa is a project alias of composer / vocalist Caroline Polachek. Beginning as an electronic music project, songs were quietly debuted in NYC throughout 2013 as fully choreographed and costumed live sets, unannounced, and under different names. The 11-song LP Arcadia was released under the name Ramona Lisa in April 2014. Polachek’s first self-produced solo record, it was made entirely on a laptop with all-software instrumentation composed in MIDI, and all vocals sung directly into the internal laptop microphone.

Arcadia was made during a year of touring with Chairlift, and often while in transit, but the process was book-ended by two formative sessions in Rome at the Medici Villa. After being deeply inspired by the architecture and gardens while there to perform with Chairlift in 2012, Caroline was invited by the villa director to return, and given an empty studio on the grounds*. The idea to combine pastoral folk songs with a rigid synthesizer soundscape came to life there: “The ruins in Rome are tragic, and not just because they’re ancient and crumbling, but because they’re surrounded on all sides by the honking and garbage of everyday life. It makes one feel like just a mirage among countless other mirages, and reduces romance, nature, and history to a fable. I started to wonder: in the year 2020, what is the reincarnation of the shepherdess-girl who sits on a hillside and tells that fable?”

Although the album was created in “virtual space”, the result is a lush and uncannily tangible world of warm textures, reminiscent of analog tape processes rather than a hard drive. Virtual oboes and organs interweave with synthetic insects and quivering sine waves, animated by Polachek's vocal at it's most delirious and intimate. Polachek refers to the sound as “Pastoral Electronic Music”.

Upon completion of the record, Polachek began performing the album as a “moving choir” trio with singers Jen Monroe and Sarah Kinlaw, illustrating the music with hand dancing in the tradition of Chinese and Indian music. Costumes were made in muslin, an ancient fabric now primarily used for making prototypes. Ramona Lisa went on tour as a trio, including a performance at the Medici Villa itself, and in October 2015 completed the project with a final show in NYC. This website serves as an archive for everything made by Ramona Lisa, from start to finish.

*which one year later was discovered to have a 500-year-old human skeleton under the stone floor.

LYRIC BOOKLET (By Nikolay Saveliev)
VIDEO
“Arcadia”
Directed by Caroline Polachek & Ross Menuez
“Dominic”
Directed by Caroline Polachek
"Backwards And Upwards"
Directed / Animated by Caroline Polachek
“I Love Our World”
Directed / Edited by Caroline Polachek
"The Lady's Got Gills"
Directed by Michel Auder & Andrew Neel
"The Making of Arcadia"
Directed by Chloe Altcheck, Produced by MssngPeces
Photos
Work Desk. Villa Medici, Rome
2013
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
2013
View While Recording. Villa Medici, Rome
2013
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
2013
Tour poster
2014
Amanda Vincelli
Terrible Records
Amanda Vincelli
Terrible Records
2014
Storyboard Drawings for "Dominic" Video
2014
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
2014
Rehearsals with dance coach Juri Onuki
2014
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
2014
Record Release Show Flyer
2014
Tim Barber
Terrible Records
Tim Barber
Terrible Records
2014
Ramona Lisa
2013
Tim Barber
Arcadia
Tim Barber
Arcadia
2013
Ramona Lisa
2013
Tim Barber
Arcadia
Tim Barber
Arcadia
2013
Ramona Lisa
2013
Tim Barber
Arcadia
Tim Barber
Arcadia
2013
Ramona Lisa
2013
Tim Barber
Arcadia
Tim Barber
Arcadia
2013
Ramona Lisa
2013
Tim Barber
Arcadia
Tim Barber
Arcadia
2013
Ramona Lisa
2013
Tim Barber
Arcadia
Tim Barber
Arcadia
2013
Ramona Lisa
2014
Amanda Vincelli
The WILD Magazine
Amanda Vincelli
The WILD Magazine
2014
Ramona Lisa
2014
Chad Moore
BEAT Magazine UK
Chad Moore
BEAT Magazine UK
2014
Ramona Lisa
2014
Chad Moore
BEAT Magazine UK
Chad Moore
BEAT Magazine UK
2014
Ramona Lisa
2014
Dustin Aksland
SPEX Magazine Germany
Dustin Aksland
SPEX Magazine Germany
2014
Ramona Lisa
2014
Guy Eppel
Noisey
Guy Eppel
Noisey
2014
Ramona Lisa
2014
Holland Brown
Private Collection
Holland Brown
Private Collection
2014
Makeup test
2014
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
2014
Fitting Stage Costumes by Valentina Kova
2014
Joshua Johnson
Atelier Valentina Kova
Joshua Johnson
Atelier Valentina Kova
2014
Fitting Stage Costumes by Valentina Kova
2014
Joshua Johnson
Atelier Valentina Kova
Joshua Johnson
Atelier Valentina Kova
2014
Fitting Stage Costumes by Valentina Kova
2014
Joshua Johnson
Atelier Valentina Kova
Joshua Johnson
Atelier Valentina Kova
2014
Choreography notes
2013
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
Ramona Lisa
Private Collection
2013
Behind the scenes shooting dance archive
2014
Zev Rector
Private Collection
Zev Rector
Private Collection
2014
Behind the scenes shooting dance archive
2014
Zev Rector
Private Collection
Zev Rector
Private Collection
2014
Behind the scenes shooting dance archive
2014
Zev Rector
Private Collection
Zev Rector
Private Collection
2014
Behind The Scenes with performer Holland Brown
2013
Amanda Vincelli
Private Collection
Amanda Vincelli
Private Collection
2013
Behind The Scenes of Choreography Shoot
2014
Amanda Vincelli
Ramona Lisa
Amanda Vincelli
Ramona Lisa
2014
Backstage with performer Sonja Mauro
2014
Callie Barlow
Private Collection
Callie Barlow
Private Collection
2014
Backstage at United Palace Theatre
2014
Callie Barlow
Private Collection
Callie Barlow
Private Collection
2014
Backstage after record release show
2014
Eric Epstien
Private Collection
Eric Epstien
Private Collection
2014
DANCE
Archive of all Ramona Lisa stage choreography, shot and staged by photographer Amanda Vincelli Oct. 2014 in Brooklyn, NY. Dancers from left to right: Jen Monroe, Caroline Polachek, Sarah Kinlaw. Main choreography by Caroline Polachek, with additional choreography contributed throughout by Jen Monroe, Sarah Kinlaw, and Juri Onuki. Dance coaching throughout by Juri Onuki.
"Arcadia"
"Izzit True What They Tell Me"
"Getaway Ride"
"Avenues"
"Hissing Pipes At Dawn"
"The Orchids (Psychic Tv Cover)"
"Dominic"
"The Lady's Got Gills"
"Walking In The Cemetery"
"Backwards And Upwards"
LIVE ARCHIVE
Ramona Lisa Trio, Final Show
10.13.14
Phil Chang
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Phil Chang
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
10.13.14
Ramona Lisa Trio, Final Show
10.13.14
Phil Chang
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Phil Chang
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
10.13.14
Ramona Lisa Trio, Final Show
10.13.14
Phil Chang
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Phil Chang
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
10.13.14
Ramona Lisa Trio, Final Show
10.13.14
Phil Chang
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Phil Chang
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
10.13.14
Ramona Lisa Trio, Final Show
10.13.14
Phil Chang
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Phil Chang
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
10.13.14
Ramona Lisa Trio and Jay Israelson
9.15.14
Josh Language
Wythe Hotel
Josh Language
Wythe Hotel
9.15.14
Ramona Lisa Trio
8.22.14
Unknown
Los Globos, Los Angeles
Unknown
Los Globos, Los Angeles
8.22.14
Ramona Lisa Trio
7.5.14
Charles Roussel
MoMA PS1, NYC
Charles Roussel
MoMA PS1, NYC
7.5.14
Ramona Lisa Trio
7.5.14
Brooklyn Vegan
MoMA PS1, NYC
Brooklyn Vegan
MoMA PS1, NYC
7.5.14
Ramona Lisa Trio
7.5.14
Brooklyn Vegan
MoMA PS1, NYC
Brooklyn Vegan
MoMA PS1, NYC
7.5.14
Ramona Lisa Trio
6.19.14
Arte
Villa Aperta Festival, Rome
Arte
Villa Aperta Festival, Rome
6.19.14
Ramona Lisa Trio
6.19.14
Arte
Villa Aperta Festival, Rome
Arte
Villa Aperta Festival, Rome
6.19.14
Ramona Lisa Trio
6.18.14
Monsieur Tambour
Le Carmen, Paris
Monsieur Tambour
Le Carmen, Paris
6.18.14
Ramona Lisa Trio
6.17.14
Christina Sancu
Courtyard Theatre, London
Christina Sancu
Courtyard Theatre, London
6.17.14
Ramona Lisa Trio
6.17.14
Christina Sancu
Courtyard Theatre, London
Christina Sancu
Courtyard Theatre, London
6.17.14
Ramona Lisa Trio
6.17.14
Jian Wu
Courtyard Theatre, London
Jian Wu
Courtyard Theatre, London
6.17.14
Ramona Lisa Trio, Arcadia Release
4.28.14
Ethan Wells
Babys All Right, NYC
Ethan Wells
Babys All Right, NYC
4.28.14
Ramona Lisa Trio, Arcadia Release
4.28.14
Leslie Hamilton
Babys All Right, NYC
Leslie Hamilton
Babys All Right, NYC
4.28.14
Ramona Lisa
4.13.14
Swords-Smith
Swords-Smith, NYC
Swords-Smith
Swords-Smith, NYC
4.13.14
Ramona Lisa
4.11.14
Vogue.com
Private Performance, Palm Springs
Vogue.com
Private Performance, Palm Springs
4.11.14
Theora Vorbis
12.18.13
Unknown
Babys All Right, NYC
Unknown
Babys All Right, NYC
12.18.13
Agatha Dimm
10.19.13
Unknown
Shea Stadium, Brooklyn
Unknown
Shea Stadium, Brooklyn
10.19.13
Agatha Dimm
10.19.13
Unknown
Shea Stadium, Brooklyn
Unknown
Shea Stadium, Brooklyn
10.19.13
Kimsin Kreft
6.13.13
Clocktower Gallery
Clocktower, NYC
Clocktower Gallery
Clocktower, NYC
6.13.13
Kimsin Kreft
6.13.13
Clocktower Gallery
Clocktower, NYC
Clocktower Gallery
Clocktower, NYC
6.13.13
Kimsin Kreft
5.4.13
Eric Epstein
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
Eric Epstein
Le Poisson Rouge, NYC
5.4.13
CONTACT
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