Two Voices, One Heart
This is the first tribute album to singer Eva Cassidy who is beloved all over the world for her fresh and pure arrangements of jazz and pop standards. Tribute albums are one of the most intimate and moving forms of artistic expression. They must be handled with utmost care and consideration, not just for the music but for the artist's absolute intent. Amikaeyla and Trelawny's live recording delivers a heartfelt tribute to Eva Cassidy. A vocal duet album, Amikaeyla and Trelawny Rose bring out their interpretation of the essence of Eva Cassidy's music with their new vocal arrangements sung in harmony.
Eva Cassidy's untimely death from melanoma in 1996 at age 33 is one that the music community will mourn for years to come. Her stunning treatment of "Over the Rainbow", "What a Wonderful World" and Sting's "Fields of Gold" gained momentum when she was signed postmortem to Blix records in the UK. Over 10 years after her death she continues to release new albums to her growing fan base. Her most recent release was an album of remastered songs "Somewhere".
Amikaeyla Proudfoot Gaston had been equated with Eva Cassidy before this recent project, in an NPR piece. At first glance, that would be a sensible comparison as both having found their musical roots in relatively the same areas of Washington D.C. But it goes much deeper than proximity. They shared an innate ability to interpret and convey their musical objectives with such infinite grace and authenticity. Amikaeyla's debut album "Mosaic" received national attention. It won an amazing twelve music awards, including Best Jazz Vocalist, Best Urban Contemporary Vocalist, Best World Music Vocalist, and Best Debut Artist. Furthermore, she was named Washington D.C.'s best Female Composer in 2006 and again in 2008 for excellence in original composition.
On the West Coast, another exquisite talent was unfolding. Trelawny Rose grew up in the diverse and thriving Bay Area music scene. As a soloist for the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir (OIGC) she delivered heart and power in performances at venues such as Shoreline Ampatheater, The Paramount Theater, The Sydney Opera House and on tour to Israel.
A chance meeting just days after Amikaeyla moved to the west coast, brought Trelawny and Amikaeyla together for the first time. Their surprisingly similar interests eventually found them immersed in a conversation about their most cherished influences, including the inspiration they draw from the music of Eva Cassidy. Their kindred friendship and love for Eva Cassidy comes through in this duet album with a combination of rich harmonies and artistically crafted solo work. The intention of the tribute is focused on introducing the music of Eva Cassidy to future generations and to raise awareness for women's health issues, in particular, cancer. Amikaeyla and Trelawny together chose the material, wrote new vocal arrangements, carefully collected the very best musicians, found the perfect venue and recorded "To Eva with Love" with two voices and one heart.
Proclaimed one of the "purest contemporary voices in the jazz, world and folk industry since Eva Cassidy" by National Public Radio, powerhouse performer and master percussionist Amikaeyla Proudfoot Gaston embraces the best of many types of music. With her soulful style, sultry ballads, and enchanting, passionate sincerity, she is a dynamic performer and is in the midst of an amazing musical journey.
While the dazzling vocalist from the Washington, D.C. area draws on a dizzying array of influences, from Bel Canto, Funk and Bossa Nova to traditional Irish music, sacred chanting and soul, her sensibility is pure jazz. "I view myself as a roots jazz artist, because jazz feels so all encompassing," says the newly transplanted Oakland-based singer. Captivating audiences since the age of 4 She began her musical training with classic piano, and went on to study flute, viola, congas, and djembe. Since then, she has been performing and recording with numerous noted Grammy Award winning artists, including Wyclef, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Take 6, Howard Levy, Eugene Friesen, Glen Velez, Baba Olatunji, Mickey Hart, Pete Seeger, Gil Scott Heron, Ron Holloway, Jonatha Brooke, Kenny Garrett, Chris Williamson, Ferron, Ubaka Hill, and the National Symphony. She has a strong academic interest in sacred chanting which has led her around the world culminating in her performance at the Inaugural Festival of Sacred Chanting and Singing in India for the commemoration of the Golden Buddha at the request and invitation of His Holiness The Dalai Lama.
Her 2004 release Mosaic received national acclaim, winning a staggering 12 Washington Area Music Awards, including Best Jazz Vocalist, Best Urban Contemporary Vocalist, Best World Music Vocalist, and Best Debut Artist. Her newest album "Midnight Sun," captures Amikaeyla's vast improvisational resources, and her penchant for artfully weaving together a myriad of international elements. Featuring grammy award-winning artists Howard Levy, the harmonica master best known for his work with Bela Fleck, Eugene Friesen of the Paul Winter Consort, and the brilliant world percussionist Glen Velez, the album is due out in the fall of 2008.
Surrounded by the thriving Bay Area music scene, Trelawny Rose returned home from middle school each day eager to delve into her parent's eclectic record collection. She pulled her favorite albums and sang along side Aretha Franklin, Pink Floyd, Bonnie Raitt, and Ella Fitzgerald. Recognizing her gift for singing, her mother enrolled her in Jazz Camp West when Trelawny was twelve years old. Jazz Camp West brought her in touch with life-long mentors, esteemed vocalists Terrance Kelly, Faye Carol, Madeline Eastman, Rhiannon, and surrounded her with meaningful ways of self-expression. Trelawny found her voice in the coastal redwoods of Northern California during these formative years.
At age eighteen, Trelawny joined the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir (OIGC). In this spectacular ensemble Trelawny continued to develop as a vocalist. The OIGC repute for its standard of excellence drove her, and soon pulled Trelawny from the ensemble into the spotlight as a soloist. During her tenure with OIGC, highlights included performing with Joan Baez at Oakland's Paramount Theater and opening for Bonnie Raitt at Shoreline Amphitheater where Trelawny's impassioned solos brought the audience to its feet. Many extraordinary experiences followed - singing for Bishop Desmond Tutu at Grace Cathedral, performing for Mikhail Gorbachev during his visit to the San Francisco Bay Area, and travel with the choir to Canada, Australia, and Israel bringing messages of unity through diversity.
In 2003, after completing her BA in Vocal Performance, Trelawny moved to Los Angeles to work with celebrity vocal coach, Roger Love. The job soon held further significance as she found herself immersed in the art of the Roger Love Method (RLM(TM)) Trelawny began to focus her attention on building her own vocal coaching business and the apprenticeship proved invaluable. He taught her his method, how to diagnose and correct improper technique and then, with his encouragement, she began to develop her own thriving practice that included young actresses and vocalists. For the next five years, she focused on the business, gaining experience, confidence and strength in vocal instruction.
In 2009, she enrolled in a master class on vocal improvisation taught by the incomparable Rhiannon. The year long course aptly titled "All the Way In," based on work by Bobby McFerrin and Rhiannon, incorporates techniques such as "Circle Singing" to give the student freedom of expression as well as connection to themselves and others. She shares these techniques with her own students, giving them resources to build skills of harmony, rhythm, improvisation and collaboration. She continues to teach both at the Jazzschool in Berkeley and privately with a client list that includes many young rising stars.
Recently signed to Patois Records, Trelawny's first release is an extraordinary vocal duet project with the Washington DC powerhouse, Amikaeyla. In a beautiful tribute to the late singer Eva Cassidy, the album titled "To Eva With Love," was recorded live to 24 tracks at Kuumbwa Jazz Center in Santa Cruz, CA. Scheduled for a Fall 2010 release, "To Eva With Love" features stellar performances by GRAMMY nominated trombonist, Wayne Wallace, GRAMMY nominated percussionist John Santos, bassist David Belove, guitarist Vince Mellone, pianist Simon Rochester and David Flores on the drums.
Trelawny has since returned to the San Francisco Bay Area and is working on music for her upcoming second album. In addition to carefully selected favorites, this release serves as her debut as a songwriter and solo artist and features outstanding arrangements by Patois Records producer Wayne Wallace. In her sophomore release, Trelawny will bring to life those early impressions of her parent's vinyl collection including tunes by Joni Mitchel, Pink Floyd, Kurt Elling and others into a collection of her original tunes. This upcoming release will experiment by treating well-loved pop standards with a jazz sensibility to create an exciting solo debut.