Described as the ‘feasible love-children of They Might Be Giants and Kimya Dawson’ real-life sisters Vivian and Midge Ramone are the art band ShiSho from greater Kent, Ohio. At 16 and 12 years old, ShiSho has been writing and recording for 9 years. The girls perform intelligent and quirky folk-punk on accordion, guitar and occasionally the ukulele.
“We deliver an acoustic punk rock performance in a ‘darling’ way that completely catches people off guard,” says older sister, Vivian. “It’s not planned. It’s who we are. We love playing for crowds that aren’t familiar with ShiSho because we’re a disconnect from first impressions. When you see two young girls in polka-dot dresses take the stage with an accordion and guitar, you don’t expect to hear a hand-clapping folk tune about a doll ripping your throat open and gnawing at your living skull! But you’re delighted when we do.”
ShiSho draws inspiration from acts like Tullycraft, The Dead Milkmen, Ben Folds, Shel Silverstein, The Vandals, Ween, MC Lars, artists known for clever lyrics and whimsical themes. Always comical, sometimes political (In their recent “My Dear Republicans – The Fiscal Cliff Song,” ShiSho rhymes the names of all Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives in a plea for bipartisan compromise) Vivian and Midge do not cater to the typical tween audience. “Though we’re kids, we’re not a band FOR kids,” explains Midge. “We’re not nasty or disrespectful. It’s just that most kids aren’t interested in the things we sing about. We almost got kicked off the stage at a big Girl Scout convention during a war protest song (a cover of Harvey and Felix’s “America Will Punch You”). It’s ok that den mothers don’t like us because punk and indie moms do.”
The band performs mostly original songs live. A crowd favorite is “Rocks and Penalties” a musical narrative about poison rainbows, puking unicorns and a Smiths reunion. Vivian and Midge are seasoned performers, having played countless shows in garages, restaurants, universities, bars, basements, festivals, radio & television studios, podcasts, libraries, record stores, sporting events, protest rallies, comic book conventions (once in a comic book), parties, fund raisers, museums, galleries, business incubators, fairs, respected and not so respected music venues. They’ve opened and have done preshow events for They Might Be Giants, Joe Jack Talcum of The Dead Milkmen, the Smoking Popes, Harry and the Potters, Skating Polly, Hank & Cupcakes, Spoken Nerd, and many more. Their music and performances have been described as, “wonky,” “just barmy genius!,” “goofballs… crazy… awesome… fun… mega-silly…,” “the absolute dog’s bollocks,” and “I swear, it almost made me cry, how hard I was laughing.”
“The name ‘ShiSho’ comes from a phase I invented as a safe alternative to a disrespectful one I was fooled into saying to my grandma once. We learned recently that it’s a Japanese word to describe an inappropriate giggle,” explains Vivian. “I think that fits us well.”
Vivian and Midge are supporters of their local music scene. On weekends they aren’t performing, you’ll find them in local venues attending live shows. They are often invited on stage to perform along with their favorite hometown bands. In 2011 ShiSho was awarded 5th best local Akron band by the Akron Beacon Journal newspaper.
In 2012 they made their Dr. Demento Show debut with a Rebecca Black parody, “Friday (the 13th),” a collaboration with Devo Spice, written and produced by Devo Spice.
2013 finds ShiSho recording a follow-up to their 2009 project “Rainbow Jumpin’ Demos” in preparation of their NYC debut on world renown free-form radio station WFMU on June 3rd. They’re currently working to secure shows in New York City the weekend of May 31st – June 2nd (email any opportunities to the band).
In addition to music ShiSho actively supports causes for social justice. In September 2011, they organized the RYE (Respect Your Elders) Rally, a 23 act fundraiser, to support 250 senior citizens evicted from their Kent, Ohio retirement community by a real estate developer. Vivian and Midge are also official Occupy Musicians and have been actively involved with Occupy Akron and Kent. Vivian volunteers to support local political causes.
In Europe ShiSho’s music is distributed by Filthy Little Angels Records in Nelson, England. In the U.S. the girls created their own imprint, Magnetic Bunny Arts, a label started for fellow youngwave musicians in 2007.