Karen Mal (born 1967 in Bristol, Connecticut) is an American singer-songwriter based in Austin, Texas. She is best known for her strikingly open, childlike voice and her poetic and somewhat didactic songwriting. She is also known in the industry as a first-call session singer with a gift for harmony. Trained in theater and voice at Long Island University, Karen worked in regional theatre in Wisconsin for several years as an actor and musical director/composer before settling in Austin, Texas to play music full-time and focus on songwriting. She has been recognized professionally for her songwriting, including Portland Songwriters Association (2002) and has been a finalist in the prestigious Kerrville New Folk competition in Kerrville, Texas (2001 and 2002). She primarily performs solo and accompanies herself in a variety of traditional acoustic guitar and mandolin styles. Her recordings have featured her own songwriting, as well as material from the traditional Irish folk canon. She also often appears on stage with other artists as a session player on mandolin, bass, guitar, and/or backing vocals.
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