Rare Birds – Top Five Pioneers of “Rock Violin”….# 3

Novi Novog – Studio and stage virtuoso

Recording Credits: Prince/Michael Jackson/Ronnie Montrose/Frank Zappa/Carly Simon/Bonnie Raitt/ Jennifer Warnes/Spinal Tap/Terrance Trent D’arby/James Taylor…..(too many others to list)

Yes, she plays Viola not Violin. Her work is part of the soundtrack of our lives. The peppy string work on Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” is Novi; as is the down-homey fiddle work on the Doobie Brothers “Blackwater”.  Novi not only advanced the cause of her unorthodox instrument of choice but also enhanced the profile of the female rock instrumentalist at a time when they were scarce to the extreme. In the studio, she is a songwriters dream with her spooky ability to instantaneously interpret material and improvise parts that sound carefully composed. Those interested in hearing more of her playing should seek out the fine instrumental work she did with her band The Freeway Philharmonic.

Novi video footage is tragically scarce.  So, at the risk of self-service, I would like to share a ‘war story’ about a recording of mine she played on.  A very tired (and underpaid) Novi had just completed a very intense and productive two hour session on a rock ballad.  Somehow, I managed to take advantage of her generous nature and cajoled her into improvising some riffs over a song I had been fussing over titled “Sleeping”.  A half  hour later I had the vital element on the gateway track to the album. As Novi packed up, she mildly lamented how much better the track might have been had she not been required to “wing it”. All I know is I walked away with one of the top 5 rock viola/violin performances of all time (IMO). ClickhereforSleeping


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