A founding member of sister duo disappear fear, SONiA (born Sonia Rutstein) has continued to astonish audiences with her hardcore feminist lyrics as a solo performer since 1998. While the warm vocal harmonies of the duo have been missed, SONiA has compensated with her hard-edged lyrical approach. While she continues to perform in folk music coffeehouses and festivals, SONiA has increasingly reached out to a gay and lesbian audience, performing at human rights and GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender) festivals throughout the world, including the Gay Games in Amsterdam. One dollar from the sale of each ticket to her shows has been donated to the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. Inspired by Phil Ochs, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan, SONiA wrote all the songs performed by disappear fear. The duo, which made its debut in 1987, became one of the most promising acts in contemporary folk and acoustic music. Their 1996 album, Seed in the Sahara, was produced by Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band keyboardist Roy Bittan.
Although SONiA has performed as a soloist since her sister, Cindy Frank, announced her retirement from the duo to devote attention to raising her daughter, the sisters have periodically joined on-stage for reunion shows. In 1998, after Cindy left the band to pursue life as a full-time mom, SONiA released her debut solo album, Almost Chocolate, for Rounder Records. She toured Europe and her 1999 release, Me, Too, won her Female Artist of the Year at the Gay & Lesbian American Music Awards (GLAMA). Following another release, Live at the Down Home, she decided it was time to bring back the harmonious sound of disappear fear by adding Laura Cerulli on background vocals and drums. In 2005, they released DF05 and followed it up with a lush world-folk-pop album titled La Tormenta Santa that consists of 13 songs sung in Spanish, Hebrew, Arabic, and English, accompanied by Latin and Middle Eastern rhythms. The 2006 film Autumn's Harvest featured a soundtrack written by SONiA. A new album, Tango, appeared in 2007, and the compilation album Splash followed in 2009. A year later, SONiA released the studio effort Blood, Bones & Baltimore. ~ Craig Harris