About the Artists
You and your students will meet New York City–based artists who represent three different musical genres and cultural traditions; many have reinvented these deeply rooted traditions to make them their own. Together, you will learn songs and dances that you will perform along with the artists during the digital concert experience at the end of your semester.
Fall 2021 Artists
Born and raised in Peoria, Illinois, Brianna Thomas made her singing debut at age six with her father’s band, performing a duet rendition of the jazz classic, “What a Wonderful World.” Since graduating from college in 2011, Brianna has performed with many jazz greats including Clark Terry, Wycliffe Gordon, Houston Person, Mulgrew Miller, Wynton Marsalis, The Legendary Count Basie Orchestra, Michael Feinstein, and her longtime hero, Dianne Reeves. Brianna also continues to perform worldwide at venues such as the Apollo Theater, Ginny’s Supper Club, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha, Minton’s Playhouse, and Smoke Jazz & Supper Club, and at the prestigious Montreux, Umbria, Bern, and Sochi jazz festivals. Brianna was a 2014 musical ambassador for American Music Abroad as a guest vocalist with The Amigos Band, singing folk, bluegrass, gospel, and jazz. Everybody Knows is Brianna’s 2020 CD, which boasts a pleasing potpourri of reimagined standards and original compositions, played with a vibrant, Mississippi River–blend of blues, jazz, and R&B.
Browse Unit: Jazz with Brianna
Tanyaradzwa, Zimbabwean Mbira Music
Tanyaradzwa Tawengwa Nzou Mambano is a Zimbabwean gwenyambira (mbira player), scholar, composer, and singer whose creative practice centers African healing and self-liberation. Tanyaradzwa’s music is grounded in the ancestral Chivanhu canon taught to her by the generations of svikiro (spirit mediums) and n’anga (healers) in her bloodline. Her internationally performed opera The Dawn of the Rooster tells stories of her family during Zimbabwe's Chimurenga (Struggle for Liberation) from 1965 to 1980. Tanyaradzwa is a Hodder Fellow at Princeton University, and has held artistic residencies at National Sawdust and Castle of Our Skins.
Browse Unit: Zimbabwean Mbira Music with Tanyaradzwa
Haitian songstress Emeline Michel is internationally acclaimed for fusing pop, jazz, blues, and traditional Haitian rhythms into deeply moving, joyful music delivered through charismatic live shows. A master entertainer, Emeline has shared her message with audiences for more than 20 years, including appearances at the United Nations, Montreal’s International Jazz Festival, and MTV’s Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief. Hailed by The New York Times as a “diplomat of music” and “the dancing ambassador with a voice serene and warm like the breeze,” she is now based in New York City, where she was awarded a New York City Council Proclamation for outstanding activism in the community.
Browse Unit: Haitian with Emeline