Violet Bell weaves roots, soul, psychedelic, and classical music into a lush, wild soundscape. On stage and in the studio, the North Carolina duo of Lizzy Ross (guitar, banjo, vocals) and Omar Ruiz-Lopez (violin, viola, cello, guitar, mandolin, vocals) share a magnetic chemistry. The two have played more than 300 shows from Montreal to Miami in just over two years, honing the fiery intimacy of their live show and a building a steadily growing fanbase.
The duo cut their debut LP Honey in My Heart with engineer Jason Richmond (Avett Brothers, Steep Canyon Rangers, Nneena Freelon, Dom Flemons, Bombadil). The songs were recorded live, without isolation, click tracks, or scratch vocals. The sound is dynamic and many-colored, spanning diverse emotional landscapes and defying genre classification. Full of personality, Honey in My Heart feels consistent with the duo’s true selves as opposed to hidden behind studio wizardry.
In 2016 singer-songwriter Ross recruited Ruiz-Lopez as a multi-instrumentalist for a live album recording show… two weeks before the show. Ruiz-Lopez slayed the performance and brought out a new dimension of beauty in the music. And so, Violet Bell was born. The duo released their debut EP Dream the Wheel in 2017 and have been touring ever since.
Ruiz-Lopez began performing professionally in 2008 with acts such as Jonathan Byrd, Steph Stewart and the Boyfriends, Sinful Savage Tigers, and Chocolate Suede. Ruiz-Lopez has composed and performed several original pieces for the Durham Symphony Orchestra. Thanks to his experience in orchestrating and arranging, Violet Bell collaborates with chamber and orchestral ensembles.
Lizzy Ross has released three full-length albums of original music under her own name, been a two-time Kerrville New Folk finalist, and won Floydfest’s On the Rise contest, a Carolina Music Award, and an Emerging Artist Grant from the Durham Arts Council.
Since forming in March 2016, Violet Bell has been presented at venues and festivals such as Americanafest, WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour, The Center for the Study of the American South, Rooster Walk Festival, Shakori Hills Grassroots Festival, Ocrafolk Festival, the Charleston Bluegrass Festival, the Festival for the Eno, the Beaufort Music Festival, the Burlington Carousel Festival, the Haw River Ballroom, Folk Alliance International, and many more.
Violet Bell has worked with KidzNotes, the Wake Forest Community Youth Orchestra, The Jacksonville Children’s Chorus, the University of Mary Washington’s James Farmer Multicultural Fair, the Savannah Folk Music Society, and others to engage communities of all ages in educational and inspiring workshops.
WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT VIOLET BELL…
“Ross channels the spirit of Eva Cassidy, and Ruiz-Lopez's violin performance is chocolate; one of the richest-sounding I have ever heard. A very beautiful canvas of earthy, acoustic music, with some of the best arrangements I have heard on this show… Absolutely gorgeous.”
- Michael Johnathon, Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour
“Folk, country and bluegrass with elements of classical, jazz, blues, and psychedelic flair. The first thing that struck me was the talent that is spilling over the sides… All the elements come together perfectly to form something that burns brightly.”
"I cannot recall the last time I heard music so beautifully crafted and presented. From Irish jigs and reels to gypsy soul-trance syncopations, every note felt like a gift of love to us from them. Do yourself a favor - go see them live!”
- Presenter John Downing
“Violet Bell have toured extensively throughout the country, earning fans with their fiery live performances, thanks in large part to the chemistry between Ross and Ruiz-Lopez.”
“Atmospheric, captivating vocals… Durham duo Violet Bell puts an avant-garde twist on traditional roots music.”
“Based out of Durham, the pair have played more than 300 shows in just over two years, resulting in a strong onstage chemistry that’s evident in person and in videos of these live performances…”
- Mountain Xpress
“This duo is much bigger than a duo”
- Jonathan Byrd