Elizabeth Tomboulian cut her teeth on folk and blues, migrating from Arkansas to Houston in the Seventies. She lived above the iconic Sand Mountain Coffee House and performed on guitar in Montrose during its singer-songwriter heydays as Betty Elkins. She discovered avant-garde jazz at Carnaby’s Monday sessions with Keith Karnaky, Bob Henschen, Bill Heironymous and Tony Campisi, who taught jazz improvisation at University of Houston. She was the first to enroll as a vocalist.
Houston’s famed jazz vocal coach Ray Sullenger launched her into the jazz style she has refined through the years. Her first standup gig at the Shell Club with Kip Galbraith catalyzed jazz piano lessons and harmonic studies with Kip, who nicknamed her Betty Bop. Romance with Al Hirt’s bassist Jim Black drew her to New Orleans, where she gigged on Bourbon Street. She happened to walk in while the manager was on the phone receiving news that one of the pianists had died. She started that night. She streamlined her jazz piano style into some funky riffs with the Charles Neville House Band at NOLA Jazz and Heritage Festival.
New Orleans catapulted her to Colorado, where she was a regular opening act at the Blue Note in Boulder. With Richie Cole, his encore was a duet trading fours with her on guitar. Charlie Musselwhite wanted to take her with him on the road, but she didn't want to get in the car with that much gin. Tom Scott took her to the next L.A. Express show in Fort Collins, where she beat him at his favorite dice game.
1980 began seven years in studios in Nashville, recording her 10-piece band, “Whatever It Takes,” arranging and singing backup vocals for sessions, and performances at the Bluebird Café and Exit/Inn. Her daughter Vauda was born in Nashville.
She journeyed back to Arkansas, where she met her second husband, Lee, and dove into the music of Uruguay and Brazil. Their 6-piece Latin jazz group Circo Verde, played festivals and concerts regionally. She was also part of the White Album Project, a group of 12 who performed the Beatles album in concert. She helped found “IntraArts” a non-profit, bringing Art Lande to Little Rock for music with visual arts, nature walks and dance. Before remarrying, Elizabeth met Sheila Jordan in Fayetteville when Lee performed with her in concert, and she was inspired by Sheila’s having worked as an office assistant to do whatever it took to take care of her family, then managing to re-ignite her career when life allowed. Sheila gave her some of her charts, stoking her resolve to continue singing as she navigated life as a single mother.
A few years later, their daughter Ana Maria was born in Little Rock. The family moved to Denton in 1993. During 12 years publishing university catalogs and raising kids, she was in UNT Jazz Singers, Denton Bach Choir, and Circo. Maestro Hugo Fattoruso (Uruguayan music director for Milton Nascimento’s World Music Grammy-winner “Nascimento”) produced her first recording, “North/South Convergence” with Circo, featuring her singing horn unisons with saxophonist/flutist Pete Brewer with Tomboulian compositions and a few Brazilian covers. They went to Montevideo and gigged with Hugo near Punto Del Este. A second CD, “Return to Whenever” released in 2006. After a week with Bobby McFerrin and Rhiannon at the Omega Institute, she and Lee moved to Appleton, Wisconsin, where she forged her path as an energy healer. She taught jazz vocals at Northwoods Jazz Camp. She continued study with Rhiannon in Madison and Hawaii, where she learned from a Hula Kumu that the name she was given by her parents and grandparents – Elizabeth – represents who she is to be in order to manifest her soul's destiny. Hawaii took her deeper into Sound Energy Healing, and launched her “Elizabethan” era. She moved to the NYC area in 2011, eventually serving on the Board of Trustees at the Edgar Cayce NY Center, where she offered many workshops in Quantum Sound Healing, Sacred Sound, and Toning the Chakras.
This website brings transformational music and quantum healing arts together. Her daughters gifted her with a Rights of Passage Ceremony into elderhood for her 60th birthday. This was a sweatlodge ceremony wherein her medicine name, Badger Breathing Light, evolved to her elder medicine name, Starsong. This shifted her perspective on elderhood from fear of degenerating to the classic vision of the wise elder empowered to hold, carry, and impart wisdom in this world. This is pertinent to the music, as the jazz tradition emerged from elders sharing their wisdom with the next generation before jazz was analyzed and brought into higher education and conservatories.
QuantumStarsong is the integration of her musical work with her healing work. Science now tells that everything is energy. She is an expert in vibrational healing, using Quantum Energetics Structured Therapy (best described as Reiki with science) and Quantum Sound, using her voice and overtones as a healing instrument. It’s a bridge between Eastern Medicine, which has acknowledged human energy systems for thousands of years, and Western Medicine, which focuses on anatomy and physiology.
She served many denominations as church music minister through the years, presently Music Director for Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palisades in Englewood, NJ. She gigs in the city and on Long Island as a solo artist, with The Flying Tomboulians (with her husband), and as guest vocalist.