Djunah (pronounced JUNE-uh) resurrects singer/guitarist/bassist Donna Diane’s raw, aggression-soaked performance style into a crushing noise-rock power duo that needs to be seen as much as heard. You can catch them at Northside Tavern on Friday, December 20th with Lashes and Euonia! The former Beat Drun Juel frontwoman throws her entire body into every performance, simultaneously singing, playing guitar, and pulverizing on a massive-sounding Moog bass organ with her leg – a feat that many describe as “mind-blowing.”
She’s joined by drummer Nick Smalkowski, a veteran heavy hitter from Midwest acts like Arctic Sleep and Fake Limbs. Their debut album, "Ex Voto," was recorded in March 2019 by Kurt Ballou (of Converge) at God City Studio.
Live, their performance is electrifying. Perched on her left leg throughout a 30-minute set, Diane parses hundreds of button and key strokes with her right foot, all while sustaining her powerful guitar work and terrifying howl.
By design, everything they do in their live show is live—no loops, no samples, no backing tracks. The duo’s goal is simple but lofty: execute a full trio sound in time with just eight limbs. This makes the band as much about their passion for their gear as about their colossal sound.
Both are self-described gear worshippers. Smalkowski is a drum maker who handmade the stave kit he uses. Diane assembled her bass organ from a Moog bass synth, MIDI organ pedals, and an effects board with a custom switcher that allows her to toggle separate bass and guitar effects simultaneously.
Djunah's debut album, Ex Voto, released on November 1st, has been hailed as “an angular noise rock escalator run on power and beauty … a record that should be heard by all music lovers, no matter what scene you are a part of” (CVLT Nation, 8/20/19). The first single on the album, “Animal Kingdom,” debuted on The FADER’s “20 Best Rock Songs Right Now” (8/29/19).
A full-force barrage of emotional expressions of deep pain, intense sexuality, and personal and political power, Ex Voto sees Diane’s voice frequently shifting from throat-wrenched whispers to explosive ranting, the melodic line often warping under the weight of her words. On “Animal Kingdom,” a nod to the 1932 film of the same name, she channels Myrna Loy’s performance as a man-eating socialite into guttural screaming: “Eat out my hand. Rise at my command. She can’t hunt you like I do.”
You do NOT want to miss this show. Northside Tavern on Friday, December 20th!