Leyla McCalla is a New York-born Haitian-American living in New Orleans, who sings in French, Haitian Creole and English, and plays cello, tenor banjo and guitar. Deeply influenced by traditional Creole, Cajun and Haitian music, as well as by American jazz and folk, her music is at once earthy, elegant, soulful and witty — it vibrates with three centuries of history, yet also feels strikingly fresh, distinctive and contemporary.
Leyla’s debut album, Vari-Colored Songs: A Tribute to Langston Hughes, was named 2013’s Album of the Year by theLondon Sunday Times and Songlines magazine, and received additional raves from a number of other publications, including the New York Times, Boston Globe and Offbeat, for its haunting mixture of music and message.
Now, having toured extensively in the U.S., Europe and Israel in support of Vari-Colored Songs, Leyla is focusing on her next album. Titled A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey, the album will be released in the spring of 2016 by Jazz Village/Harmonia Mundi. A Day For The Hunter, A Day For The Prey will continue to explore the themes of social justice and pan-African consciousness that marked Vari-Colored Songs, and will once again feature songs sung in English, French and Haitian Creole. The album will also include guest appearances by legendary guitarist Marc Ribot, Rhiannon Giddens of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Louis Michot of the Lost Bayou Ramblers, and New Orleans singer-songwriter/guitarist Sarah Quintana.
“An exhilarating thing, hearing a musical virtuoso explore her voice’s unanticipated potential in all of the ways that Leyla McCalla does” – NPR Music
“Rich with big thoughts” – USA Today
“An invigorating blend of Haitian folk songs and American old-time music” – Downbeat