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What do the Silent Comedy, Transfer, Republic of Letters, and David Maldonado have in common, besides being nominated for San Diego Music Awards? They have all played or recorded with classically trained multi-instrumentalist Marta Zaludova of Mission Hills. In fact, since she moved to San Diego three years ago, Marta B, as she is known on the stage, has played and/or recorded, by her count, with at least 18 San Diego bands that are still performing. “I play for Transfer, David Maldonado, Astra Kelly... And I’ve recorded with a lot of different people, too — Gail Skidmore, Mia Valentine, Carlos Paez... And I teach violin, viola, and piano at my studio and at a music school called Villa Musica in Sorrento Valley. It’s a balancing act, definitely.”

Marta B. Zaludova came to the United States from the Czech Republic 15 years ago to learn English. Planning to stay for one year, she began music studies at the University of Georgia and stayed with it until she received her doctorate in music arts. “Back in Europe, it’s really cutthroat...it’s hard to make a living as a freelance musician or as a teacher, and here the opportunities are kind of endless.... I can do a lot more here than I can [in Europe].”

Before moving to San Diego, Zaludova’s musical abilities had already caught the ears of San Diego artists. “In the last two years is when I really started to play with bands. The first band I started playing with was David Maldonado. He found me on MySpace before I moved here. He wanted a violist, and he wanted someone who was classically trained. He asked me if I would play, and I was, like, ‘No, I can’t do it. I’ve never improvised before. I’ve never done anything like that. I don’t know the style of playing,’ and he was just persistent. Our first rehearsal was a gig — ha ha ha! They just kinda threw me into it. We played at the La Costa Resort. I showed up and, Oh, this is not really a rehearsal — we’re playing for the public. It was the best way for me to learn, actually, just push me in and swim....

“Now, that style of playing — improvising — is my favorite.”

Since her live “rehearsal” with Maldonado, word of her presence on the S.D. scene has spread. “[When] I started playing with Trent Hancock, he had a band called Ghost Bird, and I started playing with Trent at the Waterfront, and it just kind of snowballed from there. I would be seen by other musicians or talked about and be asked [to play] that way. I don’t promote myself, it’s just all word-of-mouth.”

Of the bands Zaludova’s collaborated with, Transfer won Best Rock Album with Future Selves at the 20th annual San Diego Music Awards, and the Silent Comedy took home Best Pop Album with Common Faults.

To see Marta B in action, check out Transfer Thursday night at Fluxx on Fourth Avenue downtown.

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