When first encountering Eliza, one might feel they’ve fallen into a wild, deep and curious soup. Her fierce empathy and authentic pleasure for living are evident at first sight. Eliza’s diverse training, experience and profound contact with the creative, healing and performing arts are the active base for a spicy and savory stew.
Eliza Bundledee is an imaginative, mixed-media expressionist. As a musician, painter, writer, dancer, yogini, martial artist, mother and grandmother, her countenance is richly vibrant. What fuels her enthusiasm is her instinct to explore, create and express herself.
Eliza grew up playing piano and cello. At a very early age, she began writing poetry and journaling as an outlet for her feelings, while also discovering both the guitar and her captivating ability to improvise with her singing voice. She spent a decade performing with mandolinist, Bob Bruen, famous for his work with David Grisman and distinguished Italian mandolinist, Rudy Cipolla.
Eliza has had exceptional educational opportunities. She studied under Belgian painter, Line Bloom Draper, Classical Indian dancer and author, Jalaja Bonheim, and Afro-Haitian dancer, Michelle Martin. While completing her Teacher Training at the Iyengar Yoga Institute in San Francisco, she received an apprenticeship with renowned instructor and author, Judith Hanson Lasater. She also studied guitar with Canadian musician, Harold Hinkle, known for his work with the late Michael Hedges.
Eliza’s formal studies were very dynamic, ranging from painting, music, dance and yoga. While in college, she spent a semester on board a ship, and sailed around the world as an art and dance student, visiting eleven countries. She returned to Europe soon after and performed for her living along the way. Eliza never limits herself to the typical venue, and has been known to put on impromptu performances at bus stops, stairwells and elevators. She spent a year hitchhiking and performing across the United States and lived barefoot in the jungles of Kauai, for three months!
Eliza first became recognized for her heartfelt “Musical Medicine” program, in the Bay Area. “Musical Medicine’” took spark when her daughter, Evelynn, was a toddler. She needed to support herself, but had grown tired of playing music on the ‘not weather controlled’ streets. Evelynn was a part of an inter-generational program at a retirement community where young children and seniors interacted to enrich each other’s lives. Eliza put on a volunteer concert for the residents one day, and was asked to return weekly. She sent out a few flyers, and received enthusiastic response. Soon, she was traveling to retirement homes, rehab centers and hospice care facilities throughout the Bay Area. Her music and lyrics took on an array of different forms, adapting within and through various and extreme human circumstances. She even received accolades from legendary singer Linda Ronstadt, who wrote her a beautiful letter after hearing of her work.
Eliza had the rare opportunity to shoot The Grateful Dead’s vault, in 2000. This mythical vault is filled with over 30 years of the band members’ musical endeavors. The Vault had not previously been seen by anyone not associated with Grateful Dead Productions. Although not a professional photographer, Eliza was chosen by GDP to photograph the vault, and she learned the basics of indoor photography in a mere weekend.
The photographs were published in The Deadhead’s Taping Addendum by award-winning author, Michael Getz. Eliza designed, edited and self-published the book. It was the fourth book in a series entitled, The Deadhead’s Taping Compendiums, Volumes 1-3, published by Henry Holt, in New York. The books covered the band’s musical history and the extensive underground tape-trading phenomena associated with their large alternative following known as Deadheads. Eliza was also a contributing writer to each of the four volumes.
In 2011 Eliza began to advocate for women who have been recipients of sexual assault and domestic violence, a subject close to her heart. She then created a YouTube channel and built a platform for her creative and soul-full expressions. Along with sharing music videos, and creative expressions in general, she was inspired to start a live performance art project entitled, “Transform Trauma into Well-Being”. It is a deeply authentic series offering comfort, inspiration and wisdom to those recovering from abuse, and anyone seeking to heal their life. Though videography is an entirely new medium for Eliza, it is just one more example of a life that is open, raw, and playful.
At present, Eliza is on fire. Along with recording, painting, writing and film-making, her moving and inspiring performances continue to express her appetite and innate emotion for life. Eliza makes her home in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge, Washington.