Tessa Lena is a strongly opinionated musician living in New York. She is a classically trained pianist and singer, born and raised in Moscow. Her bio reads like a movie script.
As a teenager, Tessa had the honor of performing her own composition (entitled ‘In Defense of the Environment) at the Moscow Conservatory, and wanted to be a geneticist.
As her interests expanded to Tibetan music and language, she headed to Lhasa with a backpack to do enthomusicology research.
After being attacked by a sex trafficker in Tibet and successfully fighting him off, Tessa settled in Chicago.
In Chicago, during the Bush administration, Tessa was wrongfully arrested on allegations of ‘espionage’, and spent a month in jail (the peanut butter sandwich that the FBI folks fed to her was yummy; the rest of it, not so much. The agents wanted to know what she was doing in Tibet, and she wished they had some imagination… oh wait, they did).
Once the charges were completely cleared, she started a band working with her hero Ian McDonald of King Crimson and Foreigner, and drummer Alan Lake, who has played and recorded with Madonna, Brian Ferry, Julian Lennon, Ministry, Brian Wilson and Sam Moore from Sam And Dave.
After a few years in Chicago, Tessa moved to New York and started a new band, Tessa Makes Love, along with occasional collaborations by Ian McDonald.
In 2013, her music video “Spente Le Stelle” received over a million very useful views on YouTube although the jury is still out on how many people realized that the video was a satire making fun of sexual objectification. Alas, the world keeps spinning, and it is still imperfect!
In 2016, Tessa started Coalition for Artistic Dignity and organized a conference in Brooklyn dedicated to artistic dignity, social power and corporate responsibility.
In early 2017, she released an album titled ‘Tessa Fights Robots,’ you can listen and buy it here.
Since the English language only has so many words, this blog is also called ‘Tessa Fights Robots.’
Both the album and the blog are about being human in the world of technology, big data, and machine-like people.
(1) Body painting and photo by Derrick Little
(2) Tessa Makes Love at Webster Hall, New York. Photo by Dani Ynad