Renata Zeiguer grew up in the Riverdale section of the Bronx in New York, where she began playing piano and violin when she was six years old. The daughter of Argentinean and Philippine immigrants, she would listen to her grandmother play ragtime and tango music during family visits to Buenos Aires, and was as inspired by classical music and American jazz standards as she was by Brazilian tropicália and the Beatles.

Although Zeiguer wrote the twelve songs on Picnic in the Dark, before deciding to move away from the city, the realizations that led to her search for a new environment resonate throughout. The record picks up the thread that informed her debut release Old Ghost, revolving around themes of home, isolation, and trauma, but approaches it from a place of greater maturity and optimism. She juxtaposes playful, surrealist imagery with moments of stark vulnerability, reckoning with dysfunctional familial patterns while finding imaginative ways of working through them. Made in collaboration with co-producer Sam Owens (of Sam Evian), Picnic in the Dark builds a sonic world that weaves together vintage drum machines, bossa nova rhythms, and cinematic arrangements, evoking an intimate, unburdened space that becomes a source of inner strength.

In Picnic in the Dark, Zeiguer has lovingly crafted a volume of fairy tales, torchlight glowing through its golden leaves. The image conjured by that very title reveals its essence and purpose: to allow the artist, like a child lost in the pages of a story, to safely venture into the shadowy, painful corners of her psyche with a lightness of spirit and fantastical whimsy.

Renata Zeiguer