‘Her magnificently transparent music holds tidings of family, memory, solitude and the inexorability of time’ The New York Times
‘With Her Hymn to Haiti, Leyla McCalla Is on Her Way to Becoming a Star’ Vogue
A Haitian-American who sings in French, Haitian Creole and English, Leyla McCalla 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.
The Capitalist Blues is the title of McCalla’s forthcoming third album. Particularly inspired by the divided socio-political climate in the United States, this collection of songs contemplates the psychological and emotional effects of living in a capitalist society, where money is king and poor people are left to fend for themselves. The cycle plays out like this: the domination of the global oligarchical system blares out of our social media and television newscasts and we find ourselves feeling overwhelmed and undervalued. This manifests as a poor sense of self and isolates us from each other, weakening our basic sense of humanity. Ultimately, this leaves us both fractured and ready to be conquered. This condition is what is referred to as the Capitalist Blues. Despite the pessimism and cynicism the capitalist blues invokes, these songs sacrifice their own melancholy in order to recognise that while we are overwhelmed by the injustice happening around us, we must resist the temptation to be overcome by it.
The Capitalist Blues tackles the musical spectrum from New Orleans traditional jazz to Zydeco to Haitian Rara with a stellar line up of musical guests including Lakou Musik, Corey Ledet, Shannon Powell, Carl LeBlanc, among many others. Produced by Jimmy Horn and recorded at the House of 1000 Hz in New Orleans, Louisiana by Andrew ‘Goat’ Gilchrist, this album is a departure from the folk approach of McCalla’s first two critically acclaimed albums, with the majority being original songs and increasingly steeped in the music of Leyla’s adopted home of New Orleans and her ancestral home of Haiti. The Capitalist Blues is set for a January 2019 release through Jazz Village / PIAS.