Leyla McCalla. Vari-Colored Songs.
Music Maker Recordings, 2014.
Leyla McCalla might seem familiar to readers of Ear to the Ground, as she’s been with the renowned Carolina Chocolate Drops for a while previous to releasing her debut solo album, Vari-Colored Songs, just this month. McCalla’s musical story is wide-ranging and multi-faceted, including living abroad, daughter of immigrant parents, and self-discovery in New Orleans among other chapters. As a part of Carolina Chocolate Drops, McCalla helped to bring some gorgeous pieces of overlooked and nearly forgotten music to the front of the stage after too long an absence, and gave voice to the disfranchised of history.
Vari-Colored Songs is a quilt work of original and traditional songs, and Langston Hughes poetry set to music. McCalla’s playing of the cello is not always the typical style, instead at times playing without a bow and plucking the strings. The stories on this album speak for themselves and the skill of McCalla as a player, writer, and interpreter of music and the written word. Mesi Bondye to Ms. McCalla for this poignant piece of artwork.
Tracks: Heart of Gold, When I Can See the Valley, Mesi Bondye, Girl, Kamèn Sa W Fè?, Too Blue, Manman Mwen, Song for a Dark Girl, Love Again Blues, Rose Marie, Latibonit, Search, Lonely House, Changing Tide