Allison Russell and Layla McCalla perform on our concert stage! McCalla brings a New Orleans and Haitian influence while JUNO award winner Russell picks up on Folk and Americana roots.
About Leyla McCalla
Leyla McCalla finds inspiration from her past and present. Whether it is her Haitian heritage or her adopted home of New Orleans, she (a bilingual multi-instrumentalist and alumna of Grammy award-winning African-American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops) has risen to produce a distinctive sound that reflects the union of her roots and experience. McCalla’s music is earthy, elegant, soulful and witty. It vibrates with three centuries of history and feels strikingly fresh, distinctive and contemporary, sonically blending New Orleans influences and Haitian rhythms with lyrics sung in English, French and Haitian Creole. McCalla’s widely acclaimed collaborative project, Songs of Our Native Daughters, was released via Smithsonian Folkways in 2019. The album pulled influence from past sources to create a reinvented slave narrative, confronting sanitized views about America’s history of slavery, racism and misogyny from a powerful, modern Black female perspective. McCalla is currently working on her newest project, Breaking the Thermometer to Hide the Fever, a piece of multidisciplinary music, dance and theatre work commissioned by Duke Performances. It follows her journey as she uncovers the history of Radio Haiti, Haiti’s first privately owned Creole-speaking radio station.
About Allison Russell
Allison Russell is a singer, songwriter, poet and activist who bore witness to herself in descent. Her new album, Outside Child, is her first solo offering, while she is also a pivotal voice in two bands: Birds of Chicago and Our Native Daughters. In each, she tells her story to reframe and reclaim her identity and its singular authority.
Though iron-hard in their concerns, the songs themselves are exultant: exercising haunted dreams like clean bedsheets snapped and hung out into broad daylight, with the romantic poet’s lust for living and audacity of endurance. Russell has been nominated for three Grammy Awards and won the 2022 Juno Award for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year
Dates & Times
8pm – Leyla McCalla
9:30pm – Allison Russell
235 Queens Quay W.
Toronto, ON, M5J 2G8