Magazine article New Internationalist

Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes

Magazine article New Internationalist

Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes

Article excerpt

Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes

Singer and instrumentalist Leyla McCalla - she favours the cello, though banjos and guitars are runners-up - used to sit on milk crates playing Bach in the streets of New Orleans. Then she was being pointed towards Music Maker, a programme supporting the musical folk traditions of the American South. Bach hasn't much to do with the American South but McCalla, born in New York of Haitian parents, is a musician steeped in multivalent ideas. Relocating - physically and musically - to New Orleans sees her immersed in a tradition that encompasses the city's zydeco sounds as well as music from black Creole, Cajun and Haitian backgrounds.

Funded via a Kickstarter appeal, Vari- Colored Songs links these traditions: McCalla's velvety voice has a generous inflection and her music is clearly articulated. …

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