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Leyla McCalla

Saturday, June 19

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Leyla McCalla finds inspiration from her past and present, from her Haitian heritage, living in New Orleans, to growing up on the streets in Brooklyn, this bilingual multi-instrumentalist and singer creates a distinctive sound that reflects the union of her roots and experience. She rose to fame during her two years as cellist of the Grammy-winning African-American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, alongside bandmates Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons, before leaving the group in 2013 to pursue her solo career. She collaborated with Giddens, Amythyst Kiah and Allison Russell on Songs of Our Native Daughters, a stunning reinvention of slave narratives. Deeply researched, beautifully performed, McCalla’s “magnificently transparent music holds tidings of family, memory, solitude…her voice is disarmingly natural, and her settings are elegantly succinct” (The New York Times).



Virginia Arts Festival’s commitment to diverse programing is funded in part by


Dominion Energy and The Virginian Pilot Arts of Color Fund of the Virginia Arts Festival endowment