Baird: A beaked Whale (Berardius bairdii) of cold, usually deep waters of the northern hemisphere. Called also giant bottlenose whale, northern four-toothed whale
Beluga: A different (more recognizable) Whale
Like many of the best bands, Baird & Beluga began in a bar – San Francisco’s legendary Hotel Utah Saloon, to be exact. Future bandmates Juliana Lustenader and Michael Downing met at the Utah’s infamous weekly open mic and the two folky singer/songwriters soon started to back each other up and collaborate on original material. Their respective vocal, instrumental and songwriting talents dovetailed perfectly and Baird & Beluga was born.
Schooled in opera and musical theatre, and with a style reminiscent of Laura Marling, Neko Case and Joni Mitchell, Juliana’s expressive soprano melds with Carolina-raised Michael’s ingrained southern rock sensibility and Americana vocal and guitar stylings. Together, they bring a uniquely rich and haunting sound to their original songs and their folk, pop, country and alt. music covers. The duo’s love of story-telling, fueled by Juliana’s background in theatre and Michael’s southern heritage, is evident in all their songwriting.
Recently, Baird & Beluga went into San Francisco’s landmark Hyde Street Studios and recorded two singles, both co-written by Juliana and Michael: Where Are You Now? and The Pull. Hyde Street Studios has recorded hits by the Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, CSNY, Santana, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Joan Baez, Chris Isaak, and many other greats. The recording of further original Baird & Beluga sides is currently in the works.
You can catch Baird & Beluga around the San Francisco Bay Area at popular folk-rock and indie music venues including Neck of the Woods, Cornerstone, Hotel Utah, Bazaar Café, PianoFight and The Lost Church, as well as at public and private house concerts. When not performing as Baird & Beluga, Michael fronts the San Francisco indie band, Redwood Skyline, while Juliana sings and acts regularly in professional Bay Area theatre productions.