Coming to Next Stage: Samirah Evans and Evelyn Harris Pay Tribute to Legends Etta James and Nina Simone

PUTNEY, VERMONT - Next Stage Arts Project is delighted to present Samirah Evans and Evelyn Harris on Saturday, February 13 at 7:30 p.m., as they pay a special tribute to iconic Jazz and blues legends Nina Simone Etta James


PRESS RELEASE * Photos courtesy of Next Stage Arts

The special event is designed to feature acclaimed selections from both celebrated artists in addition to compositions that personally resonate with both performers. Vocalists Evans and Harris will be accompanied by local celebrity pianist Miro Sprague, bassist Dave Picchi and drummer Jon Fisher.

Said Evelyn Harris; “For mashing politics with music, Nina Simone has no equal and I heard her passion in every note. Etta James was a full-on bad-ass and I also felt her passion in every note. Those passionate songstresses influence me to this very day.”

Samirah Evans; “Songs of Nina and Etta have been staples in my repertoire throughout my career and have served me well. However, the bond between Evelyn and I that unfolds on stage when sharing selections like Nina's 'For Women' and Etta's 'Somethings Got a Hold on Me' has been extremely moving and exhilarating for me and I believe the audiences alike.".

As the director of VOICES of New Africa House at UMASS, Evelyn Harris has taken the baton of the late Dr. Horace Boyer and begun a new chapter in that choir's storied history. Harris has dedicated her voice to giving depth and meaning to an extensive array of musical styles, creating stirring interpretations of traditional and contemporary African-American material, freedom songs from around the world, jazz, pop, rock 'n' roll, gospel and blues.

She recorded and co-produced 10 albums during her 18-year tenure with the internationally acclaimed Black women's a cappella ensemble, Sweet Honey In The Rock and received a Grammy nomination in 1988 for her composition, “State of Emergency.”

Harris relocated to the Pioneer Valley in 2002 and she currently directs "The Ku'umba Women's Chorus" at the Northampton Community Music Center and uses singing as cognitive therapy with dementia and Alzheimer's patients in several nursing homes in the area. During the summer, she is a vocal instructor at the Jane Hanson Vocal Music Academy and the Institute for the Musical Arts Rock 'n' Roll Girls Camp.

Samirah Evans was a fixture on the New Orleans music scene for more than 15 years before relocating to Brattleboro, Vermont in the wake of hurricane Katrina. She formed Samirah Evans & Her Handsome Devils in 2007 and has performed at clubs, concert halls and music festivals throughout the Northeast.

In 2011, Evans released Hot Club: Live at the Vermont Jazz Center (Misha Records), her third CD and first recorded outside of Louisiana. She has shared stages with legendary artists James Brown, B.B. King, Irma Thomas, Sheila Jordan, Terence Blanchard, and Donald Harrison, Jr., among others in her career, and has toured Europe, Asia and South America as a headliner. Evans is also a vocal instructor at Williams College and Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts

Winner of the 2014 ArtPlace America Grant, Next Stage Arts Project has re-opened with a newly-renovated, accessible, state of the art facility. Next Stage is a non-profit organization dedicated to revitalizing Putney’s cultural and economic village center through the programming, development and operation of Next Stage. Since its founding in early 2011, NSAP has hosted hundreds of events including classical, folk, and popular music concerts, films, theater and a spoken word series.

Tickets for the Samirah Evans and Evelyn Harris performance are $20 and can be purchased online at nextstagearts.org. Next Stage is located at 15 Kimball Hill, Putney, VT. For more information about Samirah Evans contact Silktone Productions, 802-365-1234 or silktone@samirahevans.com.