Leyla McCalla

Leyla McCalla

Grace & Tony

Tue, February 4, 2014

Doors: 8:00 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

The Pinhook

Durham, NC

$10.00

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Leyla McCalla
Leyla McCalla
Leyla McCalla finds inspiration from a variety of sources, whether it is her Haitian heritage, living in New Orleans or dancing at Cajun Mardi Gras. Leyla, a multi-instrumentalist, is a cellist and singer whose distinctive sound is impossible to replicate.


Leyla's music reflects her eclectic and diverse life experiences, projecting a respect for eloquent simplicity that is rarely achieved. Born in New York City to Haitian emigrant parents, Leyla was raised in suburban New Jersey. As a teenager, she relocated to Accra, Ghana for two years. Upon her return, she attended Smith College for a year before transferring to New York University where she studied cello performance and chamber music. Armed with Bach's Cello Suites, Leyla moved to New Orleans to play cello on the streets of the French Quarter.


It is the move to New Orleans that signaled a journey of musical and cultural discovery for Leyla. "New Orleans always felt like home to me," she recalls. "The more I learned about the history of Louisiana, its ties to Haiti and French speaking culture, the more sense of belonging I felt and continue to feel." Most recently, Leyla has fallen in love with the late Louisiana Creole fiddlers Canray Fontenot and Bébé Carrière and has explored their fiddling styles on the cello.


Leyla's move to New Orleans also signaled a new stage in her career. It was while playing on the street that she caught the attention of Tim Duffy, the founder and director of the Music Maker Relief Foundation. He invited Leyla to join the Music Maker Relief Foundation family and introduced her to the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a renowned African-American string band. After appearing on the band's GRAMMY-nominated album Leaving Eden and touring extensively with the group, she now focuses on her solo career.
Grace & Tony
Grace & Tony
She played bluegrass. He played punk… When Grace Schultz and Tony White met, they fell in love and the music just followed after.

"I had seen Grace play years ago and, not only was I impressed, I developed a serious secret crush," Tony reminisced. "When I found out that she was learning mandolin and banjo, I took a shot and asked her to jam with me. The rest is history."

Exposed to music early on in their lives by family (Grace's liked the Southern styles from gospel all the way to rock, while Tony learned from his brother, John Paul White of The Civil Wars fame), Grace & Tony experimented with an unlikely blend of genres by mixing punk, folk, bluegrass, and Texas swing, to create something new. What resulted was a blend of music for those searching for what's beyond the norm: "Punkgrass" was born.

Show is FREE with purchase of a Smithereens ticket
Venue Information:
The Pinhook
117 W. Main St.
Durham, NC, 27701
http://thepinhook.com/