Ladies in Jazz…an ongoing series conceived by Silktone Productions founder and jazz vocalist Samirah Evans.
Each installment, Samirah invites a fellow female jazz vocalist and/or instrumentalist to join her for an exciting evening of jazz with intrigue!
Smithsonian Chowder House Express at the Arts Block will be serving food during the show! Come and get a great meal that's also a tremendous value!
She purrs, she roars, her voice subtle then huge, nuanced then powerful, her phrasing always exact.”
-Wyn Cooper, Poet and Songwriter
In New Orleans, a city known worldwide for its music, Samirah was one of its most popular jazz & blues vocalists. She first performed at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1990, and became a regular fixture as either a leader or featured vocalist for fourteen consecutive years
She has toured Europe, Asia, and both North and South America as a headliner, and shared stages with a multitude of legendary artists from B.B. King and James Brown, to New Orleans own Queen of Soul, Irma Thomas. Samirah’s live performance repertoire runs the gamut from raunchy blues to jazz smooth as silk. She has often been compared to Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson, and Etta James.
Hurricane Katrina caused Samirah and her husband to seek out new living arrangements outside of New Orleans, so they moved to his native town of Brattleboro, Vermont in the fall of 2006. Her debut performance was at the Vermont Jazz Center with the VJC Big Band. She soon found herself sharing the spotlight with the legendary Shelia Jordan as a principal in a musical theater performance, Beatnik Café, depicting the beatnik generation.
Like many jazz and blues artists, Samirah dedicates time to perpetuating indigenous American music. She was a long time participant in the Blues Schoolhouse program sponsored by the International House of Blues Foundation. She also served as a volunteer show host on the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage radio station, WWOZ, for over ten years.
Samirah is the founder of Sam’s Set & Shed, a musical mentoring series featuring a performance by a teacher and their protégé, followed by a “Jazz Woodshed” jam session.
Offering all aspiring musicians and vocalists an opportunity to hone their skill with professional musicians. These events are held in Brattleboro. Find out more on facebook.
For more about Samirah, please visit samirahevans.com
Evelyn Harris has dedicated her voice to giving depth and meaning to an extensive array of musical styles, creating stirring interpretations of African-American traditional and contemporary material, freedom songs from around the world, jazz, pop, rock 'n' roll, gospel and blues.
Her 18-year tenure with the internationally acclaimed Black women's acapella ensemble Sweet Honey In The Rock guided her studies as an artist, performer, arranger and composer. Her compositions include State Of Emergency (1988 Grammy nomination), and My Lament. With Sweet Honey, she recorded and co-produced ten albums on the Warner Brothers, Redwood, and Flying Fish labels.
Evelyn relocated to the Pioneer Valley in Fall 2002. For over 3 years, she directed the choir at the North Hadley Congregational Church and facilitated writing and singing workshops with teenage mothers through the Springfield, Mass YWCA. With an emphasis on the social, political and economic conditions of Blacks in America, she has taught "Introduction to African-American Music" at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts High School, MacDuffie School, Stoneleigh-Burnham School, Smith College, Mt. Holyoke College and Westfield State College among many others. Evelyn currently directs "The Ku'umba Women's Chorus" at the Northampton Community Music Center and uses singing as cognitive therapy with dementia and Alzheimer's patients in several nursing homes in the area. During the summer, she is a vocal instructor at the Jane Hanson Vocal Music Academy and the Institute for the Musical Arts Rock 'n' Roll Girls Camp.
She has enthusiastically shared the stage with The Safari East Jazz Trio, Hip-Hop performance poet Lenelle Moise, singer-songwriter Pamela Means, pianists Miro Sprague, Jeff D'Antona, Stephen Page, Joel Martin and Jerry Noble as well as saxophonist Charles Neville. Earlier collaborations with a diverse spectrum of artists include Odetta, Holly Near, Glory Van Scott, Alice Walker, Maya Angelou, June Jordan, Sonia Sanchez, Horace Boyer, Art Steele, Jane Sapp, Zap Mama and Take 6.
Evelyn tells a story of the struggle for peace and justice through songs that confess the reveries and fears of a people intimately affected by violence and hatred. She is widely respected for the mastery of her craft and her mentorship of young musical talent. "My life is full with abundant manifestations of good. Singing is my giving back with thanks and praise."
For more information about Evelyn Harris, please visit evelynharris.com.