"Her voice is disarmingly natural...her magnificently transparent music holds tidings of family, memory, solitude and the inexorability of time..." The New York Times
Leyla McCalla finds inspiration from her past and present, whether it is her Haitian heritage, living in New Orleans, dancing at Cajun Mardi Gras, or growing up on the streets in Brooklyn, she — a bi-lingual multi-instrumentalist, cellist and singer — has risen to produce a distinctive sound that reflects the union of her roots and experience.

Born in New York City to Haitian emigrant parents, Leyla was immersed in a meld of cultures from an early age. As a teenager, she relocated to Accra, Ghana for two years before returning to the States to study cello performance and chamber music at NYU. Armed with Bach’s Cello Suites, Leyla left New York to play cello on the streets of the French Quarter in New Orleans. Singing in French, Haitian Creole, and English, and playing cello, tenor banjo and guitar, her move allowed her to connect more viscerally to historical Haitian Creole resilience and musical expression. She rose to fame during her two years as cellist of the Grammy award-winning African-American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops, alongside bandmates Rhiannon Giddens and Dom Flemons, before leaving the group in 2013 left to pursue her solo career.

Special Guest

Decamp and Mardot

LIBBY DECAMP Born from fervent ties to both "The Old , Weird America" and perhaps the "New, Weird America" and the collective voices that have sung their truths through the ages, DeCamp’s writing carries an unflinching intention to reflect the times and sing the humanity within them. Speared by her debut EP titled “Cross Sections,” following a number of years cutting teeth in various folk groups right out of high school) DeCamp has rounded her home state and toured cross-country with no time to waste, taking her show on the road extensively, both solo and with the two-brother rhythm section, Adam and Brandon Schreiber. Grammy award-winning producer Oz Fritz (Tom Waits, John Hammond) praises “DeCamp's ability as an artist to absorb and express a wide range of diverse influences, to convincingly invoke the struggles of the human condition..." and notes that "The authentic, weathered flavor of the music for each song provides the atmosphere and movement to draw the listener in to the intimacy of the stories.” Her work , finding resonances from the dives and dancehalls of Nashville and New Orleans, to protest and mutual aid shows, to notable spots like Tulsa's Woody Guthrie Center and The Detroit Institute of Arts, has been spotlighted by TedX, scored multiple placements on MTV hit shows, and continues to peak interest with spacial, provocative recordings and an entrancing live energy. VIA MARDOT Via Mardot, a new band project fronted by Holland singer-songwriter Olivia Mainville, embraces all that and more, ensuring that the band stands out from the pack It also gives Mainville a chance to stretch out beyond what she’s done with her longstanding, well-known indie-folk and gypsy swing band, Olivia & The Aquatic Troupe. “Via Mardot is more inspired by French ye-ye pop (early ’60s pop music from Southern Europe) and spaghetti Western. We’ve also incorporated new musical instruments that we never even thought of playing with in the Aquatic Troupe. I’m also being much more selective and careful of what I subject Via Mardot to,” Mainville said. On the band’s new self-titled EP, those “new musical instruments” include a toy piano and marxophone, among other things." - Local Spins

The only thing as good as the show? The drink you have after

GRAB A BITE, BEFORE OR AFTER

A few short steps from the Listening Room is One Twenty Three—our neighborly New American Tavern, serving hearty dishes with modern flare.