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Upper West Side Couple Makes Music Together

By Leslie Albrecht | July 8, 2011 5:47pm | Updated on July 8, 2011 11:53pm
Rachel Rossos performs with her husband as the musical duo Aurical.
Rachel Rossos performs with her husband as the musical duo Aurical.
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David Finkelstein Photography http://photography.eclipse-designs.com

UPPER WEST SIDE — They say being in love makes you want to sing out loud. One young Upper West Side couple has taken that idea to the extreme.

Rachel Rossos, 27 and Michael Gallant, 30, got married two years ago and now perform together as a husband-and-wife musical duo.

Rossos sings and plays acoustic guitar, while Gallant plays acoustic piano and sings. The two both play the melodica, a wind instrument with a keyboard.

Known as Aurical, they describe themselves as "a soulful indie rock band your grandmother would love: honest, polite, well-groomed, and capable of telling a damn good story."

The musical mates say their influences include Motown, Seattle grunge, folk, jazz, and 19th-century French art songs. Aurical's music emphasizes "raw, honest" storytelling, Gallant said. "By raw I don't mean loud and jagged," Gallant said. "I mean something that's honest and true, and hopefully that the audience can relate to."

Aurical recently released its first album, "Something To Say," and will perform on July 9 at 8 p.m. at the Underground Lounge at 955 West End Ave.

The couple met at Columbia University, where Gallant majored in anthropology and Rossos majored in music. The two started out as friends. The first time they performed music together wasn't very romantic, recalls Gallant.

Rossos was singing at Hunter College, and Gallant agreed to play keyboards for her. But instead of feeling their love blossom, Gallant spent the whole time dealing with an "awful" soung guy, he said.

Today, the couple says performing on stage as a team deepens their relationship.

"It's both terrifying and thrilling because it's another level of letting him in," said Rossos. "Mike knows all of my strengths and weaknesses as both a person and a musician."

Rossos said having her husband next to her on stage has made her a better performer. 

"It's made my music more intimate," Rossos said. "I'm revealing more because I feel safer on stage. I've got my husband right next to me and he’ll catch me if I fall. There's safety in that, so it opens me up to take risks as a performer. If I screw up, he'll still love me."

Likewise, Gallant — who started playing piano at age 5 — said his wife helped him overcome some shyness around singing.

The two perform together about once a month. When they're not playing music, Rossos has a day job at the New York Philharmonic and Gallant runs his own small business doing contract writing and sound design. They live on West 96th Street and Central Park West.

"Something to Say" is the first of many albums the two plan to make together.

"There are moments when I step back and say I'm truly lucky to be married to a woman I can make fulfilling music with," Gallant said. "Music has always been a part of my life and it's great that it's something I can share with my life partner. And share on a visceral level. She just gets it."