Indra Rios-Moore, named after the Hindu warrior deity of the sky and the rain, was born to a Puerto Rican social worker mother and an African-American-Syrian jazz bassist father, Donald Moore (New York Contemporary Five, Archie Shepp, Elvin Jones, Sonny Rollins, Jackie McLean, etc.), on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. In an effort to keep her daughter away from the dangers of the housing projects they lived in, Indra's mother encouraged her to stay indoors. She learned to play in an imaginary world and sang along to her mother's extensive record collection of jazz, soul, and rock music.
Singing was always a private experience for Indra. So much so that she did not realize others could hear her until she was 6 years old. At the age of 13, her mother convinced her to take a cab ride to the Mannes College of Music to audition for the director of the preparatory division, Joan Bergman. Too embarrassed to show her stage fright, Indra auditioned and was awarded a scholarship for vocal and music studies.
Under the tutelage of Lois Winter, Indra developed her soprano voice and slowly learned to let go of her fear of performance. The same year that she started studies at Mannes, she attended a music summer camp based in Northern Vermont called Village Harmony. Over the course of her teen years she lived two parallel musical lives, one full of classical arias and vocalization practice and the other full of traditional American folks tunes, old Balkan folk songs and running around the woods of Vermont. At 26, while waitressing at a Brooklyn wine bar, she met Benjamin Traerup, a Danish jazz saxophonist. Three weeks later they were living together and one year later they were married and living in Denmark. At her husband's urging, Indra started playing in a trio with him and his friend, bassist, Thomas Sejthen. What started out as an occasional wedding gig turned into a formidable vocal jazz group that continues to tour throughout Denmark and Scandinavia. Their debut album, the self-titled "Indra", was nominated for a Danish Music Award in 2010 for Best Jazz Vocal Album. The same year, their performance was given as a gift to the Crown Prince and Princess of Denmark. Their follow up album, "In Between" won the Danish Music Award for Best Jazz Vocal Album in 2012.
In Between is our second album, a mix of original songs & old classics. For the first time, we've included a booklet of stories about my maternal grandmother, who was and continues (long after her death) to be a major source of inspiration and support, along with some recipes of dishes that she used to make.