Starting out as introverts, both Yuri and I wrote in diaries and journals for most of our lives. Scraps of papers and postcards, small calendar books mark my events and journeys. We have letters and photos, ticket stubs. Ephemeral things. Tactile.

Over thirty years, our lives crisscrossed from the early 1970s at Dodd’s to our connection at a 2009 Kinderhook reunion event. During the after-party, I asked him to be a guest on my podcast Film Festival reViews – we had such a great conversation that it turned into a two-parter: Yuri Turchyn Imrpovising GRUPO YURI Episode 066 and Yuri Turchyn Improv Part Deux Episode 067. Music maker and the art of conversation finally merged into a match. I adore his syntax.

We have been together ever since taking the less well-traveled route, taking the opportunities that make our lives an adventure of a lifetime. These stories are one of a kind, one in a million. Here’s a bit of who we are.

Christina Kotlar
My background is in art with a B.A. in graphic design, M.A. in fiber and textile design. I worked in a Mad Men world garnering awards for print publication, radio, and television in NJ Advertising Land. I became quite good at it – worked my way from freelance gigs to full-time art director, the creative director eventually came to be adept at being a tech chick, a transformation from analog precision to digital media professional. That also came to pass during the time I completed an M.A. in Producing for Film and Video out of American University, Washington, DC. It was May 2001 and little did I know what would happen three months later. Disasterous 9/11. It took a while to get into the game. I worked in a nefarious Public Relations agency on K Street and eventually moved back to Jersey as I am a Reel Jersey Girl. Connections with Fort Lee Film Commission took me to a rabbit hole that I fell into writing a feature and episodic television series about first woman film director Alice Guy Blache. It led me to find stories from other women directors in the biz and I became a podcaster in 2006 founder and host of Film Festival reViews when no one knew what a podcast was.

Yuri Turchyn
Yuri’s entire being embodies music – mind, body, and soul. Born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey, Yuri began playing violin at age six. He continued into his high school years winning the Mercer County String Competition, He studied International Relations and Russian Poets and was accepted into the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Glasgow, UK. Instead, he moved back into a Rutgers dorm and became a founding member of Kinderhook Creek (later dropping the “Creek”). playing guitar, fiddle, and songwriting, learning classical voice techniques with his vocal coach, Tom Rexdale, a prominent ragtime piano player and “Professor of Singing” out of the Julliard School, New York City.

As a founding member of Kinderhook, arguably one of the most popular country-rock bands during the 1970s, contributing to the early establishment of the New Jersey music scene, Yuri famously undertook Jean Luc Ponty’s New Country onto an unrivaled measure in their performance circles at the Stone Pony, Capitol Theater, Schaeffer Summer Music Festival. Subsequently, he performed original music with Bombay; traditional Irish folk tunes with Trinity II; and was a substantial contributor to the compositions of Gunther Ford in The World. Over the next decade, Yuri turned to harmonic influences of Steely Dan, Manhattan Transfer with a progressive rock approach for his vocally infused band, Now, Voyager. Critically acclaimed CD, Currents is made up of original compositions drawing poetic inspiration from genres including classical, jazz, folk music, and World music.

His songs are poetic and soul-searching, full of political irony and heartfelt love stories– finding it, living it, breaking up from it. His violin solos could make angels cry.