The art of harmonizing is no easy feat. Sisters can do it. Brothers too. But the ones who are simply friends with a symbiotic union that flow together? Well that’s just supernatural right there. And now we can add the soulful, harmonic, and bluesy Hestina to a best of harmonizers list.
Kimberly Vice and Michele Ausman are the sirens that make up Hestina. Packed with powerful voices and a lone ukulele, Hestina kicks up a storm when they play live, sparking in all directions. The name “Hestina” refers to a species of black butterlies found in South East Asia that are referred to as “the siren of butterflies”. As a matter of fact, Sirens was the bands former moniker. They posted this on the social media ether, which really does give insight into their dynamic:
Did y’all know why our name is Hestina? Or even what it means? It is a genus of black winged butterfly, native from Asia.. often referred to as Siren in the Himalayas. Both of us have always been fascinated by the metamorphosis and simply inspiring life cycle of the butterfly. We are born, we consume, we grow and are then forced into brand new flesh. Constantly learning how to navigate this rocky fucking life and learn from it. There is a lot to embrace here and a lot to give up. Moving forward is key though….
The duo originally came together in New Orleans and made the move to the music-soaked and rapidly-gentrifying city of Philadelphia. Vice and Ausman sing in unison, harmonizing with the charm of Simon and Garfunkel and the ease of a gospel act. I sometimes prefer friends who harmonize to a sibling interaction and familial familiarity.
The ladies of Hestina released Blossom Talk in 2016. The track list includes Just from the titles on their 2016 album Blossom Talk, a record of pain and purpose. Their voices are soothing. They sing of having loved and been wrong or wronged. On “DIG” they swoon:
I come running back with my legs around my tail…Dig the garden, the garden grows.
I especially like the track “You Found it Out” with its no bullshit words seemingly aimed directly at an individual who cannot handle the truth:
I don’t expect to find any beauty behind your face. You don’t like what is inside your belly so you spit it out into the fire
The duo has the feel of old souls trapped in millennial bodies. Taking on a goth dress-sense straight from 1986, they are both hauntingly ethereal beings who nonetheless don’t seem to be afraid to get a little rowdy at small festivals and venues in New Orleans and Philly.
Catch them in one of these tiny places while you still can.