Metro Weekly

Editor’s Pick: SONiA Disappear Fear at JxJ

The DCJCC's multidisciplinary arts series JxJ will present SONiA disappear fear in concert this Sunday at 5 p.m.

SONiA disappear fear -- Photo: Steve Tabor
SONiA disappear fear — Photo: Steve Tabor

“When you disappear fear between people, what you have is love,” says the progressive Baltimore-based singer-songwriter Sonia Rutstein, who has made the whole notion of “disappear fear” her life’s motto.

She long ago adapted the expression to serve as the name of her music act and identity, which she stylizes as SONiA disappear fear.

This past February, the veteran lesbian indie-folk artist marked the 34th Annual International Disappear Fear Day, which just so happens to be her birthday, and then reunited with the original five-piece disappear fear backing band — Howard Markman on guitar, Brian Simms on keys, Chris Sellman on bass, and Marc Lawrence on drums.

Along with special guest Tony Correlli, the band performed a one-night-only concert outside Baltimore that included many of the standout songs from her 30-plus year career. Yet the focus was on debuting songs from the next SONiA disappear fear album, which will also be the first recorded set featuring the five-piece since 1996’s Seed in the Sahara.

That set, which will be titled 23 to signify her 23rd release, is very much still on track, although an exact release date hasn’t yet been announced. After spending the spring on her 14th tour across Germany followed by an unfortunate summer bout with COVID, SONiA has recently shifted her focus to the album, including recording sessions in the studio with the band. Earlier this week SONiA released the album’s first single, “Teaching Vincent.”

SONiA disappear fear -- Photo: Steve Tabor
SONiA disappear fear — Photo: Steve Tabor

SONiA has also been working to finish her autobiography, expected to coincide with the release of new music, which will recap her remarkable journey as a trailblazing lesbian artist over the past 35 years, having helped play a part in contributing to the improved cultural climate for LGBTQ-identifying Americans.

At the top of the pandemic in 2020, the GLAAD Award-winning artist collected the many songs exploring LGBTQ themes from her repertoire for the compilation Love Out Loud.

A number of those songs should factor into a concert next weekend in D.C., when she’ll also likely give Washingtonians a sneak peek of her new music.

Intended as a showcase of SONiA’s progressive and affirming music, the concert will be presented by JxJ, the multidisciplinary arts series of the Edlavitch DCJCC encompassing the Washington Jewish Film and Music Festivals.

Sunday, Oct. 23, at 5 p.m. at the Cafritz Hall in the Edlavitch DCJCC, 1529 16th St. NW.

Tickets are $17 to $19. Visit or call 202-777-3210.

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