Leyla McCalla announces new album. Shares two lead singles

Leyla McCalla announces new album. Shares two lead singles

LEYLA MCCALLA JOYFULLY EMBRACES BRAZILIAN TROPICALISIMO, AFROBEAT AND ETHIOPIAN FOLK ON NEW ALBUM SUN WITHOUT THE HEAT

COMING OUT 12 APRIL VIA ANTI-

SHARES BRIGHT AND PLAYFUL VIDEO FOR ‘SCALED TO SURVIVE’ AND NEW SONG ‘TREE’

“An ambitious, accomplished piece of work”
4/5 The Observer

“An exquisite distillation of hope and perseverance, mystery and humanity”
4/5 Mojo

“A powerful history of Haitian journalism in musical form”
8/10 Uncut

“Starkly beautiful, the melodies graceful and the message compelling”
4/5 Songlines

Watch the video for ‘Scaled To Survive’ here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lho7YH4jLCw

Listen to ‘Tree’ here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXeLGmKMKD0

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Born in New York City to Haitian emigrants and activists, Leyla McCalla possesses a stunning mastery of the cello, tenor banjo and guitar and, as a multilingual singer and songwriter, has risen to produce a distinctive sound that reflects the union of her roots and experience. Today she is announcing the new album Sun Without the Heat, a record that is playful and full of joy while holding the pain and tension of transformation.

Coming out 12 April via ANTI-, she is also sharing two tracks from the album today that show its range, in terms of sound and storytelling.

Sun Without the Heat¬†follows Leyla’s 2022 breakout record¬†Breaking the Thermometer, an album that traced the story of the journalists at Radio Haiti who risked their lives to report news in Haitian Kreyol, identifying the critical importance of a free and independent press to promote self and societal liberation.¬†Breaking the Thermometer¬†received rave reviews and interviews including¬†The Guardian, the album was also named among the best of the year by¬†The Guardian,¬†Mojo,¬†NPR Music¬†and¬†Variety, and the track ‘Dodinin’ made¬†Barack Obama‚Äôs short list of favourites. As a result McCalla was awarded the 2022¬†People‚Äôs Voice Award¬†by¬†Folk Alliance International, an award given to artists who unabashedly embrace social change in their creative work.

‘Scaled to Survive’ is about being born and the connection we have to our parents, particularly our mothers. Leyla was inspired by¬†Alexis Pauline Gumbs‚Äô powerful book¬†Undrowned¬†where Gumbs looks to the transformative lessons of marine mammals as recipes for survival – ones that reach across species. “Thank you for laughing me into your portal”, McCalla quotes Gumbs as she sings to parents and to those who parent us beyond blood. The song comes alongside a performance video, featuring McCalla‚Äôs own children and their friends.

In the second new single, ‘Tree’, McCalla shares a fictionalised fable about a woman overlooking the Mediterranean Sea who turns herself into a tree because she doubts that she can ever be loved. The musical conversation between¬†Shawn Myers‚Äôs drums and¬†Nahum Zdybel‚Äôs psychedelic fuzz guitar comes to the forefront, heating up to a sped up tropicalisma-inspired samba. ‘Tree’ reminds us that the you and the me of this album are never singular, but are always shaped and healed by a collective, the spirit of the cypher.In addition to Gumbs, McCalla draws lyrical inspiration from the writings of Black feminist Afrofuturist thinkers¬†Octavia Butler¬†and¬†adrienne maree brown. Like these authors, McCalla looks to songwriting to increase faith and hope, encourage community thinking, and catalyse personal transformation. “Songwriting is a modality to tell the stories that need to be told”, she explains. “Sometimes these are painful stories to tell”.

The album‚Äôs title is also a literary reference which pulls from¬†Frederick Douglass‚Äôs 1857 speech to a largely white crowd of abolitionists six years before the Emancipation Proclamation. His words echo in the song: “You want the crops without the plow / You want the rain without the thunder / You want the ocean without the roar of its waters”. Douglass‚Äôs point ‚ÄĒ which McCalla weaves into the song’s central message ‚ÄĒis that liberation and equity are not possible without committing to transformative action.”We all want the warmth of the sun but not everybody wants to feel the heat”, McCalla explains. “You have to have both”.

Next month, in the US, McCalla will host a three-day residency at the famed Lincoln Center and she has been confirmed for performances at this spring’s Big Ears and New Orleans Jazz & Heritage festivals. Upcoming dates can be found here.

Photo Credit: Chris Scheurich

High-res images can be found here

Pre-order Sun Without the Heat here:
https://leylamccalla.ffm.to/swth

Sun Without the Heat tracklist:

1. Open the Road
2. Scaled to Survive
3. Take Me Away
4. So I’ll Go
5. Tree
6. Sun Without the Heat
7. Tower
8. Love We Had
9. Give Yourself a Break
10. I Want to Believe

Praise for Breaking The Thermometer:

“An ambitious, accomplished piece of work”
4/5 The Observer

“An exquisite distillation of hope and perseverance, mystery and humanity”
4/5 Mojo

“A powerful history of Haitian journalism in musical form”
8/10 Uncut

“Starkly beautiful, the melodies graceful and the message compelling”
4/5 Songlines

“A haunting, heartfelt immersion in Haitian history, fully invested and alive with poignancy and power”
4/5 Record Collector

“Starkly beautiful, the melodies graceful and the message compelling”
4/5 Songlines

‘4/5’ The FT

“Beautifully textured voice as powerful in English as it is in Krey√≤l”
8/10 God Is In The TV

“Full of revolutionary spirit”
The FADER

“There’s a rich sense of poetry that Leyla McCalla’s delivery pushes to a different sphere”
Clash

“A balmy, beautiful and necessary form of protest”
Beats Per Minute

“A vivid portrait and soundtrack of the stories and memories of Haiti”
Stance

“It is an extremely intelligent album, but it is also a warm, hopeful, angry, questioning one”
Folk Radio