Ari Samuel grew up during the 70s and 80s in Oregon After studying the classical violin, Ari went to The Evergreen State College in Olympia, WA where he was surrounded by the burgeoning Grunge and Riot Grrrl scenes, but not quite of it. At Evergreen, he had a creative explosion and wrote dozens of songs, played in bands, experimented with electronic music, and recorded an album. He knew what he would become: a left-of-center pop star. He believed that if he believed it would happen, it would be so. 

After graduating college in 1993 with CDs of his album in hand, he toured Scandinavia and Germany with a traditional Irish outfit. He settled in San Francisco and continued writing songs. But as his 20s wore on, his dreams did not come to pass and his creativity dried up. It became painfully clear: Ari would not become the left-of-center pop star he dreamed of years before. He stopped writing songs and nearly quit music. 

Fortunately, Ari fell in love with the Greek violin and dove deeply into studying Balkan, Greek, and Turkish folk music, which opened up his expression on the violin. He spent 25 years performing this music in the U.S. Japan, Mexico, and Canada. Music, dance, community – far away from the pop music landscape – saved him. 

During Covid, he rediscovered the imagination of his youth by fully producing the songs he wrote over three decades ago. The resulting project is “In The Cartoon”, a rock opera about inner life, is slated to be released in 2024.