Disappear Fear is a songwriter, a band, a visual artist named Sonia Rutstein. Sonia hails from Baltimore, Maryland in the USA. Sonia has received many awards, including the Coin of Honor from the US Army for her humanitarian efforts, and the GLAAD award for Best Album. Sonia has shared the stage with many of her heroes, including Bruce Springsteen (Light of Day, Jan 2014) and Pete Seeger (Clearwater). When asked about her sound, Sonia reports: “I would say I think my voice is somewhere between Patti Smith and Perry Como; and my guitar style has a Gypsy Kings/Richie Havens flavor. The songs are mine but you can hear some Beatles and Springsteen. It’s really all about the energy–like a bird jumping off a window ledge. It’s in that split second of trust and light and talent and God.”
The original band, formed in 1987, consisted of sisters Sonia Rutstein a.k.a. SONiA and Cindy Frank a.k.a. CiNDY, and expanded the following year to include guitarist Howard Markman. Their lyrics often addressed love, life, Baltimore, LGBT rights, and progressive political issues. The pair released six albums as a duo. (According to the band’s official website bio, more than a half million copies of Disappear Fear records have been sold through 2009.) In 1994, after self-releasing their music via their own Disappear Records label, the band was signed to Rounder/Philo Records. Two years later, Cindy stopped performing regularly with the band in order to focus on her growing family. Cindy’s teen son Dylan Visvikis has shared his talents on vocals and piano. From about 1996 through 2004, Sonia started a solo career that took her across the nation and around the globe. She released four LPs under her own name and established herself in the world of LGBT, Lilith Fair, and alt-folk artists. Rutstein has participated either alone or with the band in events including the March on Washington for Lesbian, Gay and Bi Equal Rights and Liberation and the Concert for Peace at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, DC with Peter, Paul and Mary (March 2003). Her performing destinations have taken her as far away as Jerusalem (where she toured bomb shelters), Fiji, and Australia’s Sydney Opera House. The newest Disappear Fear recording is 2013’s Broken Film, an album steeped in folk, pop and Americana sounds. Playing on the album are Sonia (songwriter, lead vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica, piano), Elaine Romanelli (background vocals and organ), Don Conoscenti (electric guitar), Don Kerce (Bass), Dylan Visvikis (background vocals,piano), Helen Hausmann (violins, spoons), Jeff Gilkinson (cello), Laura Cerulli (percussion vocals), and Mike Poole (piano). Recorded in Nashville at the Brown Cow, from this CD was borne a successful 18-city tour with the full disappear fear band.
Rutstein’s 2006 Middle East tour led to the founding of Guitars for Peace, a non-profit foundation that delivers instruments to children in impoverished or war-torn nations.