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Melinda West

About this Artist

Melinda West is the accordionist frontwoman of rambunctious indie folk band Sugar Rum Tantrum. As Sugar Rum, she is also a pianist, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and brings her gutsy attitude to every project she leads. In 2019, she was featured in front of a 60-piece orchestra at the Hollywood Bowl as an accordionist with violin and flute. Her original song with Sugar Rum, “Cheap Elegance Tango,” was a Latin X Finalist in NPR’s 2018 Tiny Desk Contest. 

Her duo high-energy folk project, Zingarella, with Janice Mautner Markham, currently enjoys a 2018-2020 performance residency at the Skirball Cultural Center. Melinda works on the playful side of her musical chops at Disney California Adventure and Disney Epcot Center with Jewish-fusion band, Mostly Kosher. While studying at UCLA, she co-founded the award-winning We the Folk, which began as a flash-mob street band. At the same time, she worked as composer and musical director for “A Tale of Two Lilies” at UCLA’s Royce Hall. Musical collaborations that she started have been featured on the Broad Stage, Regent Theater, Freud Playhouse, and countless colorful, rambunctious music festivals. In 2020, she will join the cast of Cowboy Elektra for a Getty Villa performance. 

Melinda is committed to outreach, and some of her performances include Midnight Mission in Skid Row, UCLA Gluck outreach, and Cafe Europa for Holocaust survivors. As part of the female-fronted band movement in Los Angeles, she performs and volunteers for organizations such as Play Like a Girl, Girls Rock camp, and WFSU Fest. On the eccentric side of performing, Melinda has worked with cirque fire-breathing performance-art troupe Lucent Dossier and also did a guest-performance art piece for Marianne Williamson.