Imani Uzuri, vocals
Christian Ver Halen, acoustic guitar
Amali Premawardhana, cello
Todd Isler, world percussion
Kaoru Watanabe, Japanese Shinobue flute
Camilla Celin, sarod
Jay Ghandi, bansuri flute
Courtney Bryan, piano
Recently featured in the New York Times, innovative vocalist, composer, and performer Imani Uzuri is an eclectic artist who creates, performs, and collaborates across various genres, including concerts, recordings, experimental theater, performance art, and sound installations. New York Magazine has recently called her work "stunning." Provocative and dynamic, she is often compared to artists like Grace Jones and Nina Simone as one who defies category.
Uzuri has been featured at numerous international venues and festivals from Morocco to Moscow, and she has collaborated with artists as diverse as Herbie Hancock, Wangechi Mutu, King Britt, Vijay Iyer, Sanford Biggers, Sly and Robbie, and John Legend. She was recently featured in a cameo on Talib Kweli and Hi-Tek's (who together form Reflection Eternal) timely 2010 anthem "Ballad of the Black Gold," which they all performed live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon with The Roots.
Uzuri's critically acclaimed solo debut album, Her Holy Water: A Black Girl's Rock Opera (2007), was heralded as "one of the best of the decade" by BoldAsLove.us. Eclectic, emotionally provocative, and dynamic, the album featured lush vocals, strings, and sultry orchestration. The disc inspired rave reviews from both fans and critics – Black Rock Coalition founder Greg Tate declared: "A sound between weeping and wailing, soul crying, rhapsodizing, [and] retuning fire. Put your hand where it hurts and this sound may heal you."
Earlier this year, Uzuri released her latest album, The Gypsy Diaries, an ode to travel and, in some sense, global unity. It was named #2 on Rhapsody's World Top 10 List Summer 2012. The disc sees Uzuri discover the deep ties that bind her rural Carolina roots to Eastern Europe and North Africa, those that bind the purr of sitar strings and the ripple of Japanese folk flute to African-American traditions and the international arts underground. Here the singer's rich songs find fresh settings for unifying human experiences: the loss of loved ones, the joy of discovering, the alienation and shifts of moving, meeting, and departing.
"Ultimately, this album is about finding my place through the traveling," Uzuri explains, "the communion, the loneliness, victories, sadness, losses, euphorias, revelations, transformations, [and] coming to understand that I am always here: home."
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