News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current

News online for Encinitas, Calif.

North Coast Current


Zen Boy & Karma Girl make the best of life on Earth

Zen Boy & Karma Girl, as depicted by artist Jun Falkenstein at the duo’s Myspace page.
Zen Boy & Karma Girl, as depicted by artist Jun Falkenstein at the duo’s Myspace page.

Musical duo Zen Boy & Karma Girl are not your ordinary acoustic male-female close harmony folk singers.

To say that they are out of the ordinary is an understatement.  The story is that they are superheroes from another planet who crash-landed here on Earth and became folk singers.  They have since adapted, as Zen Boy & Karma Girl now hail from the Pasadena area, and Zen Boy even lived in Cardiff for five years after the fateful crash. But do not let their creative personas throw you off.  Behind the superhero masks and the spandex, there is musical talent that the music industry has not seen the likes of yet.

To accurately describe their music would be to compare them to Simon & Garfunkle, the Everly Brothers, or more accurately, Ian & Sylvia. The songs are purely the two of them singing in close harmony with a guitar playing.

They released their album, “Who They Are and How They Came To Be”, without a record deal.  The album is only 10 songs deep, but they make good usage of all of them.  “Two Monkeys” is a standout track, and “There Won’t Be” sounds like something you would sing while drinking, except they sound much better singing it than the local bar patrons.

The duo performed July 28 at E Street Cafe in Encinitas. The following is a question-and-answer with the duo, which gives some insight into their universe and their humor that sets them apart from any folk band on the planet, or maybe in the whole universe.

What are your real names?

Beth and Larry?

Where are you from?

A planet devoid of SUVs, reality TV, earnest politicians and other such vexations. Once you earthlings find out where it is, you’ll go there and … well, you know how earthlings are …

How would you classify your music?

Guitars and voices and things.

How did you meet?

With a handshake and perhaps a pleasantry or two.

Which musicians influenced you?

We like Donovan and the Pretenders and the Bee Gees and the Police and Mississippi John Hurt and many others. And cartoon songs, preferably about superheroes.

How did you come up with your identities?

We liked the letters Z and K, and we were almost “Zipper Boy & Koala Girl.” Instead, we opted for our “awful, patchouli-smelling names,” as one reviewer called them.

What sets you guys apart from other similar acts?

Not sure there are too many male-female-duo-harmony-acoustic acts out there right now. If any male-female-duo-harmony-acoustic acts are reading this, we’ll meet you in the parking lot for a gentle, heartfelt throwdown!

Is this your career or is this more of a thing on the side?

A thing on the side. Not unlike parsley, only so much more satisfying.

How well does your music sell?

Right now, our music is still a sales trainee, but given some time, we expect it to sell very well, perhaps becoming manager one day.

Who are similar artists that you compare yourselves to?

The White Stripes, if Jack was a crummy guitar player and Meg could sing.

What brought you to the E Street Cafe in Encinitas?

Our friend, the inimitable Giorgio, is a regular at the E Street Cafe and put in a good word for us. And we love Encinitas.

Have you played there before?

Nope — we’re E Street virgins.

What has been your favorite venue to play so far?

“The Ed Sullivan Show” was where we first knew we were going to be big, but the Shea Stadium show is also a fond memory, because no one had played to a crowd that size before. Wait a minute, I’m having that Beatles dream again!

The duo return to San Diego in September and November. They are schedule to perform at Hot Java Cafe, 11738 Carmel Mountain Rd., on Sept. 28 and Nov. 16. For more information, go to their Web site at