Louisiana Artists Spotlight: Leyla McCalla
Because we’re so excited to be in New Orleans this year, we wanted to give a special shoutout to our Louisiana-based Official Showcase artists and the work they’re doing to strengthen the arts community in their state!
Each week leading up to the conference, we’ll be partnering with WWOZ New Orleans 90.7 FM to highlight one of our Louisiana Official Showcase artists. We’re kicking off this series with our first artist, Leyla McCalla.
Leyla McCalla is a New York-born Haitian-American living in New Orleans, who sings in French, Haitian Creole and English, and plays cello, tenor banjo and guitar. Deeply influenced by traditional Creole, Cajun and Haitian music, as well as by American jazz and folk, her music is at once earthy, elegant, soulful and witty — it vibrates with three centuries of history, yet also feels strikingly fresh, distinctive and contemporary.
Leyla’s debut album, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, was named 2013’s Album of the Year by the London Sunday Times and Songlines magazine, and received additional raves from a number of other publications, including the New York Times, Boston Globe and Offbeat, for its haunting mixture of music and message.
Check out this video of Leyla McCalla performing with Helen Gillet at WWOZ’s studio back in 2017: