Laura Ortman is one of those rare artists who comprehends the limitations of her artistic output. That is not to say she is mediocre, quite the opposite. In fact, she is an extraordinarily talented and prolific musician who has scored films, acted in some of them and gigged with notable Brooklyn bands The Dust Dive, Stars Like Fleas, and Family Dynamic. In 2008 she put together an all-indigenous orchestra (The Coast Orchestra) that played a live score to Edward Curtis’ silent film, In the Land of The Head Hunters. She collaborated with film maker Martha Colburn composing live music set to Colburn’s films. She has played in the most prestigious venues in New York City – the Museum of Modern Art, PS 1, The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian – and, has even played the Pompidou in Paris. For all her many talents and collaborations she understands her dark and moody compositions probably won’t win her mainstream fans nor a major label recording contract. And this is the limitation to her artistic output? But little matter, she is most interested in broadening her own horizons. She just released Someday We’ll Be Together a collection of sparsely arranged tunes that were never released during her days with The Dust Dive.
I called her up in her Brooklyn flat to ask her about the latest release, her Southwestern mini-tour, why she continues to make music when there seems to be no financial gain and her forthcoming music video featuring the Navajo/Puerto Rican ballet dancer, Jock Soto.
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