Kalamu ya Salaam's information blog

Can we embrace people as they are, or must they be like us in order for us to accept them? For me, many, many years ago when I began to get deep and deeper into jazz, the music opened me.

Now, following my life-long literary mentor, Langston Hughes, I am an ardent advocate of his touchstone: “my motto as I live and learn / is dig and be dug in return”. Which leads to my appreciation of Lianne La Havas.

She’s from England; her mother is Jamaican, her father Greek. A long, long way from Louisiana, nevertheless I dig her sound. The way she composes and the fact that she is both a vocalist and an instrumentalist, whether on her own songs or interpreting the music of others, as she does on her idiosyncratic rendition of “Weird Fishes”.

She made a big splash when she debuted professionally back in 2011. After years of whirl-wind touring complete with interviews and such, she took a five year break before reappearing.

Although she is a pop artist, there is an intense intimacy to much of what she sings. Both accessible and deep. She has figured out how best to showcase herself commercially and simultaneously how to maintain herself as a human being.

Here is a festival performance of her music. Enjoy.











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