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Leyla McCalla
Thursday, October 21, 2021, 07:30pm - 09:00pm
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This bilingual multi-instrumentalist, cellist and singer has been deeply influenced by traditional Creole, Cajun and Haitian music, as well as by American jazz and folk. Her music is earthy, elegant, soulful and witty — it vibrates with three centuries of history, yet feels strikingly fresh, distinctive and contemporary.

Born in New York City to Haitian emigrant parents, Leyla McCalla was immersed in a meld of cultures from an early age. As a teenager, she relocated to 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.

She rose to fame as cellist of the Grammy-Award-winning African-American string band the Carolina Chocolate Drops before leaving the group in 2013 to pursue her solo career.

Tickets are $20, $15 for seniors, $5 for ages 25 and under, with a "pay-what-you-can" option. All seats are general admission. Tickets will be available for purchase on the Connecting Chords Music Festival website and at the door.


COVID Policy: Masks and physical distancing will be required for all in-person events. Please check our website for any updates to these policies.


This engagement is supported by the Arts Midwest GIG Fund, a program of Arts Midwest that is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, with additional contributions from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs.


Produced by the Michigan Festival of Sacred Music - a nonprofit arts organization in Kalamazoo, Michigan - the Connecting Chords Music Festival events center around the common convictions and threads that draw our community together: the importance of cultural traditions, human dignity, and the increased understanding of various faith traditions.

Learn more about the Festival and the organization behind it at

Location: KNAC/First Baptist Church

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