Samirah Evans & Evelyn Harris Pay Tribute to Iconic Jazz Artists Nina Simone & Etta James at Historic Memorial Hall
WILMINGTON, VT: Renowned vocalists Samirah Evans and Evelyn Harris bring their celebrated tribute to Nina Simone and Etta James to Historic Memorial Hall in Wilmington on Saturday, October 21. Evans and Harris debuted the show last year to a sold-out audience in Putney, Vermont; followed later on in the autumn of 2016 with another standing-room-only performance in Holyoke, Massachusetts. The same band, comprised of Miro Sprague (piano), David Picchi (bass), and Jon Fisher (drums), returns as their accompanists.
The program includes solo performances as well as duets of iconic songs by Simone and James, as well as compositions that personally resonate with the two presenters. Evans says many of the songs that have been staples of her repertoire take on new dimensions when doing them with Harris.
“The bond between Evelyn and I that unfolds on stage when sharing selections like Nina's ‘Four Women,’ and Etta's ‘Something's Got a Hold on Me’ has been extremely moving,” says Evans, adding that it has been nearly a year since the show was last performed. “I can’t wait to get back on stage. This show gets better every time we do it.”
Harris says the part of the show’s power is also derived from the admiration the two artists have for Simone and James extends to their cultural impact, some of which they will share during the concert.
“For mashing politics with music, Nina Simone has no equal. Etta James was a full-on bad-ass. I feel their passion in every note and these songstresses influence me to this very day,” says Harris.
Tickets are $15.00 in advance and $18.00 the evening of the performance. Advance tickets can be purchased on the www.historicmemorialhall.com web site. Show time is 8:00pm. Doors open at 7:30pm. Historic Memorial Hall is located at 14 West Main Street in downtown Wilmington, Vermont.
As the director of VOICES of New Africa House at UMASS, Evelyn Harris has taken the baton of the late Dr. Horace Boyer and begun a new chapter in that choir's storied history. Harris has dedicated her voice to giving depth and meaning to an extensive array of musical styles, creating stirring interpretations of traditional and contemporary African-American material, freedom songs from around the world, jazz, pop, rock 'n' roll, gospel and blues. She recorded and co-produced 10 albums during her 18-year tenure with the internationally acclaimed Black women's a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey In The Rock, and received a Grammy nomination in 1988 for her composition, “State of Emergency.” Harris relocated to the Pioneer Valley in 2002. She currently directs "The Ku'umba Women's Chorus" at the Northampton Community Music Center and uses singing as cognitive therapy with dementia and Alzheimer's patients in several nursing homes in the area. During the summer, she is a vocal instructor at the Jane Hanson Vocal Music Academy and the Institute for the Musical Arts Rock 'n' Roll Girls Camp.
Samirah Evans was a fixture on the New Orleans music scene for more than 15 years before relocating to Brattleboro, Vermont in the wake of hurricane Katrina. She formed Samirah Evans & Her Handsome Devils in 2007 and has performed at clubs, concert halls and music festivals throughout the northeast. In 2011, Evans released Hot Club: Live at the Vermont Jazz Center (Misha Records), her third CD and first recorded outside of Louisiana. She has shared stages with legendary artists James Brown, B.B. King, Irma Thomas, Sheila Jordan, Terence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison, Jr., among others in her career, and has toured Europe, Asia and South America as a headliner. Evans is also a vocal instructor at Williams College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.