Though Leyla McCalla will release her debut solo album 'Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute To Langston Hughes' February 4, she's no newcomer to music or the music business, having spent the better part of two years with the Carolina Chocolate Drops, having learned from the folk stars. (Though she isn't a member of the Carolina Chocolate Drops at this point, the members still consider her a member of the Drops family.)
Leyla says, "I learned so much from all of them; each is a visionary. I
learned how to take care of myself—my body, mind, and spirit—on the
road. I learned so much about music.
Giddens and Hubby Jenkins both appear on 'Vari-Colored Songs.' Rhiannon
Giddens lends her world-class voice on "Manman Mwen," "Search," and
"Rose Marie." "There was a snow storm during our last night in the
studio in Virginia. We just finished when the snow started. Rhiannon had
had her baby ten days before and she in the studio with us singing.
Fellow musician Laurelyn Dossett was babysitting for us." Leyla
continues, "I'm so inspired by Rhiannon [Giddens]. She stays open to
creating things—taps into her own creativity--and she keeps it fresh."
Hubby Jenkins plays guitar on "Rose Marie" and plays the bones on
"Latibonit." Leyla testifies, "Dom and Hubby are always practicing,
always working on their instruments."
Though he doesn't appear on the album, Dom Flemons played an important
role in its development nonetheless. He lent Leyla a box set of Haitian
folk music that yielded some of the album's traditional material.
(Flemons has also gone the solo career route of late.)
Leyla McCalla Northeast 2014 Tour Dates:
January 10 – New York, NY – City Winery
February 4 – Durham, NC – The Pinhook
February 5 – Washington, D.C. – The Hamilton
February 7 – Bayport, NY – Grey Horse Tavern
February 8 – Philadelphia, PA – Tin Angel
February 9 – Lewiston, ME - Bates College
February 11 – Brooklyn, NY – BRIC House
February 13 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3
February 14 – Cambridge, MA – Club Passim
February 15 – New Haven, CT – Café Nine
February 17 – Providence, RI – Fete Lounge
February 19 – Northampton, MA – Iron Horse
February 20 – Brownfield, MA – Stone Mountain Arts Center