I’ve got the sad and old weary blues
I don’t know where to go
I don’t know where to turn
Nobody cares about you when you sink so low
Leyla McCalla (US) is probably familiar to the Finnish audience from the group Carolina Chocolate Drops, who performed at the Helsinki Festival in 2013 (“one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen”, wrote an enthusiastic Mari Koppinen in Helsingin Sanomat).
Now she proceeds steadily on her own path as a solo artist, whose intimate interpretations appeal to friends of all sorts of roots music. She draws influences from blues and creole music as well as oldtime jazz, and also investigates her own Haitian roots .With her dark voice she sings herself straight to your heart in English, French and Haitian creole, and has composed lyrics for example by American poet and activist Langston Hughes.
Leyla McCalla is not afraid to speak up on difficult themes like racism or what it means to be American - to sing in creole and bring out her Haitian roots is also a statement on that subject. “When you have a political leader - - - saying ‘Let’s build a wall’, well, let’s start in Alaska, because if you go back in history of whose is whose, none of it is ours”, she says in an interview in fRoots magazine.
McCalla plays guitar and banjo, but she also has a profound education as a cellist, playing everything from Bach to hip hop and free improvisation. Her two solo records (Vari-Colored Songs, 2013; A Day for the Hunter, A Day for the Prey, 2016) has gained praising words in the international music press and she is currently working on her third album.
Leyla McCalla (Yhdysvallat) + trio 12.11. at 8 pm Korjaamo, Helsinki. Doors at 7 pm.