Jazz music may be a male-dominated world, but jazz would not be what it is without the unique and powerful voices, and personalities, of many female vocalists. Nina Simone, Billie Holiday, Cassandra Wilson, Dianne Reeves; there are so many outstanding female singers who belong to any Jazz Hall of Fame.
Now a new jazz wave has emerged—a growing movement led by artists who feel empowered and are inspired by the reality of the times. Female vocalists are at the forefront of that movement, and six outstanding women singers of this new generation are featured this year at the Saint Lucia Jazz Festival.
“My intent is to use music to uplift my people and to uplift myself,” says Lalah Hathaway, a three-time Grammy winner who performs two sets on Friday, May 11 at Royalton.Caribbean sounds, songs and rhythms are featured in the festival, especially with Zara McFarlane, the foremost black jazz vocalist on the buoyant UK jazz scene. McFarlane was born in London, but, clearly, “[she] belongs to Jamaica, as the land of her mother and father is written in her soul and vibrates through her music.” She is currently on a tour of European cities that will culminate with her performance in Saint Lucia on May 9.
Haitian Pauline Jean brings Caribbean sounds, feelings and landscapes to her performance. Her music creates an erudite blend of worldly jazz that draws from her Creole roots and integrates modern and traditional inflections. For the festival, she will join Saint Lucia’s finest, Luther Francois, Arnaud Dolmen, Cameron Pierre and others to show that Creole Jazz is thriving in the Caribbean.
Other original and exceptional voices featured at Saint Lucia Jazz 2018 are Carolyn Malachi who, on Friday, May 11, will offer her reggae and hip-hop-infused jazz influences, melding African rhythms with American soul; and Grammy-nominated Jazzmeia Horn, described as a standout singer “because she takes on every song she sings so naturally. Jazzmeia is a performer for whom every word, gesture, and ornament becomes an expression of her total conviction and she completely comes alive in the moment.”