Cécile McLorin Salvant at UCLA
Cécile McLorin Salvant is a composer, singer and visual artist. The late Jessye Norman described Salvant as “a unique voice supported by an intelligence and full-fledged musicality, which light up every note she sings.” Salvant is an eclectic curator, unearthing the connections between vaudeville, blues, global folk traditions, theater, jazz, and baroque music. Salvant won the Thelonious Monk competition in 2010. She has received Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album for three consecutive albums and has received the MacArthur fellowship and the Doris Duke Artist Award.
Ghost Song, Salvant’s Nonesuch debut, explores the (many) ways people can be haunted — by lingering memories, roads not taken, ghosts real and imagined. Its disquietingly evocative songs follow living souls as they confront torments of absence — some characters lament loved ones gone too soon, others are troubled by the remnants of vanished romance, others are paralyzed by the sense of time galloping past. Nothing Salvant has done can quite prepare listeners for the visceral intensity and genre-obliterating atmospheres of Ghost Song. The work draws on the tools that she has used in the past, but in new and harrowing ways. It is the rare departure that is also an arrival.